Hello Angels! I hope that you are all doing ok during these strange and stressful times! Thank you so much for spending an hour of your time with me for our Thriving Not Surviving workshops, I could feel your energy and love even if it was through the webcam!
I am Kayleigh O’Connor, Transformation Life Coach, Trainee Counsellor and the Founder of Good Grief, Wellness Wednesdays workshops and our online grief community, The Good Grief Gang. I started sharing my love for all things wellness with the world after going through the ups and downs of my own mental health journey following the loss of my dad when I was 15. In the early years of my grief I thought that I would never be able to find happiness in the world again. However the connections I have made through sharing my experiences with grief, anxiety and depression and through hearing about other people’s experiences with mental health have helped me to find purpose in my pain, and have helped me to feel happy even though I will forever be healing.
I love helping others who are grieving or who are struggling with their mental health to thrive within their lives too, because I am a great believer in the phrase ‘your circumstances do not define where you can go’. In fact, 15 year old me would have never have believed me if I told her that she was going to study in New York and perform on the West End one day, and that she was going to be a Director of a business by the age of 24, and that she was going to manage to gather all of the pain inside of her and put it towards something powerful and beautiful and purely driven by love. You see, no matter what you go through, you will always have LOVE. And the Angels community goes to show you how amazing having supportive, spiritual and inspiration people around you truly is – thank you Liz for letting me be a part of it!
If you feel like you might be living the majority of your life in autopilot/survival mode, then this blog is for you…
Sometimes it’s OK to be in survival mode.
I want to begin by saying that there are times in our life when it’s ABSOLUTELY OK to be in survival mode – lockdown is the clearest example I can give you because we’re all feeling untacked, but there are other times in life when our brain puts us into survival mode in order to conserve our energy and look after us. These times include:
And there are many other examples which will be personal to you. It’s also possible to thrive in some aspects of your life, and to feel like you’re surviving/in autopilot in other parts. But what you don’t want, is to always feel like you are in survival mode in every aspect of your life.
How does survival mode feel?
Whereas when we’re ‘Thriving’ we feel like we are growing and learning, and we are passionate about the life we live. Although thriving sounds fast and full of excitement, it’s actually much slower than people think! Thriving is:
It might be helpful to write down how thriving and surviving feel for you personally, what do you feel like when you are thriving? What do you look like? Are there things you notice yourself saying when you’re thriving that you would never say when you’re just surviving?
Now that you understand the difference, be honest with yourself, for the past few years or months, have you lived mostly in survive or thrive most of the time?
So how do we move from surviving to thriving?
STEP 1: Surviving – In order to thrive, we need to understand why we feel unable to thrive. And usually this comes down to our relationship with change and our relationship with fear.
Change is one of the biggest things that we fear. We like security and comfort so anything that pushes us outside of our comfort zone is viewed as a threat by our brain, and will often trigger a fight or flight response. So understandably many of us, most of us, resist change and that’s what holds us back from thriving. It’s important to understand the Change Cycle to become self aware of where you are on the change cycle with a goal or dream you’ve been putting off for a while.
So here’s what the Change Cycle looks like.
(for more information on this feel free to email me for a free Change Cycle worksheet)
Until you break the change cycle, you will continue to loop through it until you make the change your Higher Self has been longing for OR, often, something will force the change to happen. This could be a burn out, or a big life event like a financial loss or the loss of a loved one. For me I ignored the call to make a change FOR YEARS, it was only when I was forced to quit my job through what I can only describe as constructive dismissal which involved me losing share in the business that I had worked so hard to gain, that I received the wake up call that I needed. But this was, as you can imagine, full of heartache and emotion, and had I listened to the call to change sooner, could have perhaps been avoided.
The thing is your level of pain is going to continue to increase until you reach another breaking point and then the next one is going to be even more extreme and more painful, and this change cycle will just continue and continue until one of two things happens.
– Extreme level of pain. You might end up having a breaking point that is so severe that it actually pushes you through this change cycle like I did. This could be the ending of a relationship, a severe accident or a complete nervous breakdown. You see your Higher Self knows what you really want and is trying to lead you to it. This is why it keeps coming up. So if you resist changing long enough something is going to happen in your life that will put you in a position where you have no choice but to change. But, you do not need to wait until there is a flood to move your home away from the shoreline.
– Self Honesty. The second thing that could happen, is that you have the humbling experience of Self Honesty. Maybe your dreams were actually based on comparison, and you really don’t want to change. Or maybe you are comfortable with your habits, or maybe you have a lot of fear that holds you back. You have many self-limiting beliefs, you may be addicted to your situation. There are so many things that can happen when you are honest with yourself and only after reaching this level of self-honesty can you truly choose to change.
The good news is, once you know what you want and what you don’t want, and you understand your relationship to change/fear aka why you haven’t made steps so far, you’re on your way to a state of thriving, because you’ve taken back control by giving yourself the attention and the awareness you deserve.
And I just want to say that this step could take some time, so please don’t rush yourself.
STEP 2: Confidence/Resilience: In order to thrive we must practice being confident within ourselves by re-establishing the relationship you have with yourself. By doing this you will build resilience that will help you to remind yourself of what you have been capable of in the past, and why you are capable of achieving what ever you want to in the future.
Transformation isn’t easy. Life has it’s ups and downs, and there are things we can’t plan for, so this step is also about being realistic as well as optimistic when looking moving from surviving to thriving.
It’s really important to know that small changes are easy, but as you go deeper, you may find things get more difficult and lose momentum. And you may lose motivation to thrive. So we have to nurture ourselves with kindness and patience, and remember that not everything will be perfect and that’s ok. We must trust the process and trust ourselves. Your Higher Self knows what you really want and is trying to lead you to it, that’s why your goals and dreams keep coming up. You are the hero of your journey, not the victim. And like a hero in a movie, you are able to defeat your limitations and release your true self.
Things you can do to boost your confidence are:
Identity check-in – we each have our labels, we are a mum, an employee, a sister etc. But in order to connect with our Higher Self, we need to realise that we are more than these labels. We are our passions and dreams too. (for more information on this feel free to email me for a free Identity Check-in worksheet)
STEP 3: Thriving – in order to thrive we must remind ourselves that thriving is not an end goal it’s a practice. You have tools and techniques in place to make Thriving/a Growth Mindset a habit and like any habit, thriving is a process that we must practice.
In order to thrive you have to believe that YOU have control over your life and that you can take action. With your new understanding of the change cycle, fear and your newfound confidence in yourself.
Here are some ways to keep the Thriving habit alive:
Control: reminding yourself of what you have control over and what you don’t. I like to use a ‘Not To-Do List’ or a priority quadrant.
I believe in you and you have the choice to believe in yourself, and to point out those inner critics who put you down. You have a choice to be aware of your thoughts, how you respond, the words you use and how much LOVE and care you give yourself.
I cannot wait to see what magical things you achieve by loving yourself and loving your life!
If you want to connect here are my links, but I’ll see you all soon for another workshop in the Angels Group.
Instagram @wellnesswithkayleigh and @goodgrief_uk
Sending love and well wishes to you all! xxx
By Kayleigh O’Connor