There are two kinds of people in the world. Person A believes that life is happening to them. And person B believes that everything they think, feel, say and do has everything to do with how their life unfolds.
Think about that for a second.
How do you interpret the world around you? If you relate to person A, you might find yourself feeling helpless, frustrated and victimized by what you perceive as unfortunate luck.
But if you relate more to person B, you might feel like your life has hope and vision and you tend to feel inspired and excited by what’s next.
I’ve been working as a therapist for 23 years. It fascinates me to dive deep into human motivation, behavior and perception. So much of how we experience the world is shaped by how we perceive what’s happening and there are simple shifts we can make to reframe our perspective and help create a more enjoyable, positive life for ourselves.
Take for example, reactivity. When something negative or uncomfortable happens, we react. But there’s a big difference between reactivity and response.
I tell my clients, you’re allowed to have a volcano-like reaction inside yourself. It’s normal to feel strong emotions when something upsets us! But, there are specific skills and strategies we can learn to pause, create impulse control and carefully choose how we respond to the situation.
An explosive reaction doesn’t have to create an explosive response.
What helps us slow this down? Self-care.
When our tanks are full our coping increases. Period.
Think about it. When you’re not sleeping well and you’re eating junk or drinking too much and you’re not exercising or taking good care of yourself, you have zero reserve. You hit a stressor and the wheels fall off!
But if your resilience is high and your self-care game is strong, you hit that same stressor and you have the bandwidth to pause and think carefully about how you want to respond to the situation.
There is a formula that helps us thrive in our lives. It’s like a recipe for living well.
After working with thousands of clients over the years I’ve narrowed it down to a few key components. Self-care, the skill of reframing our perception, gratitude practice and mindfulness.
This week I challenge you to explore your perspective. Are you person A or person B? Do you feel like the world is happening to you - or do you feel that everything you think, feel, say and do impacts how things unfold?
When Inspiration Meets Courage
When Inspiration Meets CourageA lot has happened since my last blog! I’ve had a sudden burst of entrepreneurial energy which was inspired by my experience at the Bryant University Women’s Summit in Rhode Island a couple weeks ago where I was lucky enough to be a presenter again this year.
For over 20 years, Bryant University has been hosting an annual Women’s Summit under the visionary direction of Kati Machtley. This year the summit sold out in record time to 1100 lucky attendees who had the privilege of hearing some incredible keynotes, including Reshma Saujani Founder of Girls Who Code. She’s the author of the new book “Brave, not Perfect” which asks readers:
“Do you run yourself ragged trying to not just do it all, but do it all flawlessly? Do you lose sleep ruminating over small mistakes or worrying that something you said or did might have offended someone? Have you ever passed up a big opportunity – a relationship, job or a personal challenge – for fear you wouldn’t nail it right away or look foolish trying? For you, is failure simply not an option?”
Preach!!! Yes! To put it mildly, it really spoke to me! I had to get my hands on a copy and meet Reshma in person at the book signing tables!
I’m always striving to harness courage and bravery, but something magical happened to me this year at the Summit.
It was as if inspiration met courage and set me on fire!
One woman after another kept coming up to me asking “what business are you with? What business are you with?” I didn’t really know how to answer that? I’ve spent the past 20 years building a very successful private practice, but I don’t really have a company brand. It’s just me. My name. No real identity.
I met a lot of incredibly smart, savvy female entrepreneurs who really got my wheels turning. They were fascinated to hear more about how I facilitate international retreats and I was fascinated to hear more about their executive coaching and consulting businesses.
That night I could barely sleep. My mind was full of ideas and possibilities. I couldn’t stop thinking about creating a business and brand identity and kept considering names, ideas and concepts.
What would I offer? What do I really believe in? What represents the foundation of my work? How do I help people?
What is broad enough to resonate with most people, but specific enough to be effective?
Finally it hit me.
I’ve been a therapist for over 20 years. I’ve worked with thousands of clients, patients and consumers in hospital settings, outpatient therapy, private practice, retreats, workshops and been a speaker at hundreds of conferences. Their issues span a wide range of needs from life transitions to depression, anxiety, grief, loss, relationship struggles and adjustment to life stressors.
However the one common denominator they all share is the formula that helps them cope.
I’ve discovered over the years, no matter where a client begins, they can all benefit from applying what I’ve coined as “the self-care advantage.” When our basic self-care is in place, our coping and bandwidth increase, our emotional reactivity is in check, our patience and compassion expands and we begin to thrive.
That was it! Thrive!
Everyone deserves to THRIVE!
The foundation of my work helps people learn how to move from surviving to thriving. I support clients in a multitude of ways. Using a combination of clinical techniques and best practices, mixed with deep listening, support and compassion. I teach people how to practice healthy self-care and mindfulness. I help them shift their mindset and learn to communicate effectively. I support people through intense pain, major life transitions and inspire them to access their highest potential. I help them elevate into optimal living.
But at the very core of what I offer is this concept of thriving.
The very next morning after I arrived home from the summit. I got up at 5am and started brainstorming. I played with 1,000 name combinations on a huge sheet of paper. My kids woke up hours later and joined me in the creative pursuit of the perfect company brand.
How about this one? Taken. How about this one? Too weird. Not clear. Too long. Too short. Too hard to say. That makes a strange acronym. How about this? Taken. Grrrrrr. More coffee!
This went on for hours.
Until we finally landed on it. The Thriving Well Institute.
Within a matter of days, I had purchased the domain name, started building the website, set up all the social media channels, hired a creative director and a business manager, created a logo and roughed out the company launch.
The Thriving Well Institute is committed to helping people thrive through knowledge, empowerment, communication, skill-building, mindfulness, self-care and healthy living. We offer 3 arms of service; coaching, events and speaking. This will also become my platform for my book which is also dedicated to helping people thrive.
Sometimes inspiration meets an idea at the perfect moment and suddenly, if you find yourself feeling courageous (or…’brave, not perfect’) then you can create something wonderful!
For now, take really good care of yourselves because you deserve to thrive!
Megan Gunnell, LMSW Founder & Director of the Thriving Well Institute, psychotherapist, retreat leader, speaker, writer and entrepreneur. Loves to experience the world through food, culture, art, music and travel. Believes whole-heartedly that practicing gratitude, self-care and mindfulness are the foundation of thriving and living in joy.