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Thriving in Times of Uncertainty

Last week I was invited to talk about Thriving in Times of Uncertainty with the Professional Women of McLean County.  Specifically, they wanted me to talk about how development can help them move forward.  I had such an incredible hour with them, and the feedback I received on the model I shared was so positive, that I wanted to share it with you all!  This is an abbreviated version, and I invite you to reach out to me for further conversation.

The pandemic has really heightened our awareness on the feeling of uncertainty and ambiguity.  We’ve all be through times of uncertainty before…a time where we found ourselves not knowing what to do next or how to move forward.  For me I’ve been an trailing spouse, a wife going through infertility and the most magical adoption experience, and unemployed thanks to the economic toll of the pandemic.  And every time, I have found a way forward.  Putting some thought to it, I realized I used the same model every time to gain positive momentum.

What does it mean to THRIVE?

The definition of “thrive” is actually set by you.  Thriving is a feeling you have about your life.

It does not mean everything is perfect.  Let me repeat that:

Thriving does not = perfection!

It means that you feel good about the direction you are heading, the journey you are on, and your ability to get there.  Thriving is all about the vision you have for your life right now.  Your vision might be big and take you years to reach.  For others, their vision might be smaller yet no less complex for them. 

Let’s break down the components of this formula:


There is absolutely no perfect combination.  May experts will tell you that eating right, exercising, and staying hydrated will do it.  I will agree that those things give your body energy.  But during times of uncertainty, it is our MIND and SOUL that need energy.  That is where real resilience begins.  So I always suggest finding the right combination of 3 things that you do every day that provide you with:

Energy for the mind

Energy for the body

Energy for the soul

To keep from being overwhelmed, keep this combo simple, achievable, and right for you.  You do not need an “overhaul” in your life to make this doable.  The point of this to make sure you have the energy you need to tackle every day.


Your mindset during times of uncertainty is critical.  It is very easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious because of the lack of normalcy and the lack of control during tough times.  Mindset is a little bit about finding the good in every situation.  I definitely encourage that. 

But let’s face it – some days, some situations – that is just hard to do.

Instead, work on opening yourself up to discovery

You won’t know the end game.  You don’t have control over where these uncertain times are leading you.  But you can be open to embracing what comes your way. 

The best way to be open to discovery is to adopt a growth mindset.  A growth mindset is when people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.  Remember – a growth mindset can be cultivated.


Moving forward during times of uncertainty requires action.  And usually it requires hard work.  Hard work, by the way, is a GOOD THING.  We tend to put a negative spin on hard work.  Why can’t things be easy.  Trust me on this one, hard does not equal bad.

Your growth is deeply personal.  The great news is that you can learn and grow based on your needs, your preferences, your challenges, your time constraints, and your budget. I recommend checking out these two previous posts to help you understand how adults learn and how to use the 30 Day Development Model to get started.

3 Steps to Owning Your Development – Part I

3 Steps to Owning Your Development – Part II

The 30 Day Development Challenge can and should be repeated.  Each 30 day challenge is a different building block in your growth and development.  You get to take it in the direction that works best for you.  Over time, these building blocks come together and create significant change and improvement in your life.  And not once will you be overwhelmed with how to achieve long-term goals. 


I believe reward yourself is very important to maintain momentum.  But I don’t believe that rewards need to be physical gifts or a special treat for self-care. Instead, I believe you should reward your progress by boosting your emotions. 

  1. You should do a deeper reflection on your progress.  Go back and look at those journal pages.  What worked?  What didn’t work?  By the way, failure of your goal will happen at some point.  But reflecting on it lets you see what to change for next time, and what did go well.  I promise you, something in that experience is probably a keeper.  My sister found that she failed on her goal over and over, but her plans were well laid.  She had an execution problem.  But that meant that she was a good planner.  A skill she could use to her advantage going forward.
  2. Tell your story.  Tell it to the person/people who have been supporting you during the last 30 days.  Tell your co-workers or girlfriends.  Tell your children, if you have them.  Children often have the best response plus you are role modeling for them!
  3. When you tell your story, express your feelings.  Find those words that represent how you felt on day 30. 
    • Proud
    • Surprised
    • Frustrated
    • Disappointed
    • Energized

You can have more than one.  These feelings are your real reward.  They are what will motivate you to go after the next 30 days, and the next. 

Energy + Mindset + Action + Reward = Thrive

I believe you can get back to that feeling of Thrive in just 30 days.  Start small.  Build your momentum and let it work for you. 

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These blog posts are meant to be thought-provoking. We encourage you to use your deep thinking skills and apply this to your own growth and development in a way that is meaningful to you! If you choose to respond or start a conversation on this, we ask that you practice professionalism at all times

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