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What does it mean to thrive?

You've probably heard the term 'thrive' or 'thriving' before, but do you actually understand what it means or how to achieve it?

On a daily basis I work with clients with a mission to help them thrive. Granted, some clients are only looking for help with specific things but that doesn't prevent me from drip feeding information into our sessions to raise their awareness to other ways that they might be able to improve aspects of their life, shifting them toward a life of thriving.

So what does it mean?

To thrive is to be your best. To live as close to your potential in health, happiness and success as possible, and to continue to pursue your best self. It doesn't mean that everything falls into place, or that you will win the lottery, or that life will become easy. It means that you will be living a life the best prepares you for the opportunities and challenges that present themselves. It means taking time to work on yourself and the various aspects of your life continually, understanding that we don't have control over everything but that we have all been born with an innate potential that requires consistent effort to realize.

How do you achieve it?

Your ability to thrive relies on your ability to develop an intimate relationship with yourself. It requires curiosity, taking time to reflect on who you are and who you could be, and it requires building a positive and meaningful relationship with each of the 8 pillars of well-being.

When we consider the concept of potential, we are really trying to explore what is possible if everything falls into place the right way so that something can perform at it's optimum. In terms of humans, we all have potential but every person has a different potential making it very hard to understand what it looks like and how to achieve it.

But when we look at the potential of any person or machine, one thing remains constant. The ability for anything to perform to it's potential relies on well-being. If a machine has pieces that are not functioning at their optimum, the machine will not perform to it's potential. People are the same... in fact any living or man-made thing operates under the same principle. So just as a machine's potential is limited by the state and relationship of all it's parts, our human potential is also limited by the state and relationship between all of the significant parts of our lives.

The human parts...

Humans are complex beings, so to better understand what influences our well-being and therefore our ability to thrive, we must look at what impacts every person on a universal scale. That's everyone, everywhere.

Many well-being models and theories have attempted to explain well-being, but in my opinion, none quite explain things as well as the 8-pillar model. This model suggests that their are eight significant aspects of life that impact our state of overall well-being. The thing I like most about this model is it is applicable universally. Another key aspect of the model is understanding that each of the pillars have the ability to move to a positive state, a deficit state, or remain neutral. Each pillar also has the ability to impact the state of other pillars within the model as well.

The 8 pillars, each representing a major aspect of your life are: Physical, Emotional, Social, Intellectual, Environmental, Occupational, Financial and Spiritual.

While I won't go into details about how each has the ability to impact the others, it is important to note that each is as important as the rest. It is also important to note that the vast majority of us go through life living with most of these in a somewhat neutral state, meaning that most of us could improve the state of most, if not all, of these pillars.

I don't often need to convince people that these are all relatively major parts of our lives, but what most people fail to do is take time to invest, nurture and nourish and pursue continual growth in these areas. Most of us get too caught up in routine and the rhythm of life that we develop a sense of complacency - I am who I am. This is true, but it doesn't have to define who you will be tomorrow, or the next day, or who you will be next year.

If we have learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that life can change rapidly, and so can we. If we can all learn to wear masks, social distance, buy online, and work remotely, then we can all take steps, no matter how small, to improve our well-being and move continuously toward a life of thriving.



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