I had developed the ‘Thrive Pathway’ framework in November, 2017, in an attempt to connect the dots around everything I was learning around growth and thriving. I had originally shared it on the home page, but my understanding of it has since evolved, so I set up this separate blog post to honour the original creation. At the end of this post, I share my current understanding of what it takes to thrive.
Here’s my original post on the Thrive Pathway:
There’s a lot of self-help stuff out there. Where do you start? What do you need? What’s the point?
I felt the need to connect the dots, so I started putting together all the pieces I’ve learnt from personal development programs, books, podcasts, courses and my own lived experiences.
The word ‘self-help’ really didn’t help (pun intended). It’s a little dull and uninspiring, don’t you think? And what are you supposed to help yourself for anyway?
I realized that ultimately, it’s about feeling alive. It’s about feeling fulfilled, connected, joyful. So my leading question became: How do you thrive?
I spent an afternoon with sticky-notes on my mirror, shifting different ideas and concepts around trying to make sense of them. And what started emerging in front of me felt so tremendous that it must be shared with the world.
I call it the thrive pathway.
Introducing...the thrive pathway
The path to thriving consists of six key ingredients. Lets use the analogy of a rose to understand this pathway. Imagine a rose that is blossoming, expanding and radiating beauty in the sunshine. How do you enable it to thrive in this way rather than be dull and lifeless? Here's how:
First, you need to work on its foundation and roots, planting it in healthy soil.
Understand how you think, feel, and behave, and how your relationships impact you
Whats the story you tell yourself – about you and your life?
Actively change how you think, and process emotions, and practice new behaviours
How can you take personal responsibility for yourself and in your relationships?
Then you need to protect and nurture the plant, watering it and inspecting it regularly.
Develop ongoing self-care habits, address your mental health, and communicate needs and boundaries in relationships
How do you take care of your body, mind and spirit?
Learn more about who you are and what matters to you, and develop a stronger sense of self
What are your strengths, passions, values and vision?
But even all four of the above may not be enough to really thrive.
For the rose to thrive, you need to grow it alongside other plants that mutually benefit each other, and ensure it has enough space and sunshine to blossom. It needs the right environment to come alive.
Engage in creative projects, your passions and hobbies, in play and humour, in honest self-expression with others
How can you express yourself and share who you are with the world?
Develop a sense of belonging, whether through connecting with your tribe, volunteering or having a spiritual practice
How can you contribute and lead with purpose?
Put all these pieces together and you get the bigger picture of what it takes to thrive! The map below lays out this picture along with some elements that fall into each of the six categories.
Where do you start?
Seeing all the pieces of the thrive pathway together can be overwhelming (especially for perfectionists who want to do it all – trust me, I’m one of them). You don't need to do it all, in fact, its best if you don't! Choose wherever you want to start and choose the strategies that appeal to you. For example, if you haven't paid much attention to Self Expression, then perhaps you can commit to playing sports or going dancing or spending time on a creative project once a week. Other specific actions include:
Learn more about mindfulness and start practicing it
Read a book or take an online course on emotional intelligence
Take an online personality assessment that helps you learn more about yourself
Sign up for a group fitness class
Start a daily journal to explore your thoughts and feelings
Focus on building one self-care habit, such as sleeping at a consistent time everyday
Start working with a therapist or life coach
Make travel plans or do something exploratory every few months
Join a common interest driven group that meets regularly, like a running group if you enjoy running
Explore your spiritual beliefs and develop a regular spiritual practice
Sign up for a brief 2-4 day immersive program/workshop linked with personal development
Become proactive about connecting with family members or friends
Evolving the thrive pathway
16 months after creating this framework, I see it less as a ‘pathway’ to thriving and more as the outcome of three key ingredients:
Self-Knowledge: This includes understanding the narrative we hold of ourselves as well as discovering our strengths, passions, values (combining Self-Awareness and Self-Discovery from the previous framework)
Self-Care: This includes how we take care of our mind, body and spirit, as well as the inner work of actively changing how we think and how we communicate in our relationships (combining Inner Work and Self-Care)
Self-Expression: This includes the creative or passion projects you undertake to express your gifts, as well as how you share those with the world and connect with others (combining Self-Expression and Connection)
Ultimately, I believe thriving is about being yourself. It is not a constant state, but a journey of learning to come back to who you are, being grounded in your values and needs, no matter what the circumstances are. It includes sharing who you are with the world, which is why self-expression is so essential to thriving.