Success Strategies For Thriving At Work & In Life!

To the reader from the author — These words are being written as I am coaching and coaxing a sixteen-year-old daughter through what she regards as the "worst" period of her life. Her friends have deserted her, she has put on weight, the braces on her teeth are killing her, but, more important, no guy, especially the ones she's attracted to, will give her a second glance.

I remember my own teenage years only too well to dismiss her pain as unimportant. Her tears are real, for pain is pain, no matter the cause, and although I believe she will come through with flying colors, I also know that her strength and resilience as an adult is built from knowing she can handle these early passages in her life.

I was struck by the correlation between the counsel to my daughter and the work we shall be doing together throughout the following pages. The Eagles Secret is about thriving, it's about growing and flourishing, it's about taking charge of our lives and turning our dreams into reality. My daughter may be barely "surviving" this summer, but her essence, who she is as a human being, could not be described in any other way than that of a "thriver."."

To survive means to continue to exist, not to die. If you are alive you are a survivor. There are times when surviving requires a supreme effort. We witness the heroism of people all over the world in their struggle just to exist. But their drive to survive, they will tell you, is in large part inspired by their desire to thrive. To thrive means to grow and prosper.

You and I are living in fascinating times. Opportunities are abundant no matter whether you're called to the world of business, to save the planet, or be involved in some other worthy cause. More people have more freedom to enjoy peace and prosperity than at any time in history. Now, of course, not everybody sees it that way. An employee of one large company described many people's feelings when she reported: "Everybody's under pressure. Some are being healthy, they're exercising and running. Some people are just eating more chocolate." In other words, for some it is the best of times, for others, the worst.

For those eating chocolate, it seems the endless corporate restructuring, compelled by an ever more competitive global economy, has produced a sense of instability and loss of control that is adversely affecting their lives and their futures. Mere survival has become their highest hope and aspiration. While this reaction is understandable, who are those other people who are exercising and running? Why, under the same conditions and circumstances, do they appear to be thriving?

The desire to thrive means the desire to live a life rich in experiences and accomplishment. Somerset Maugham said: "It's a funny thing about life, if you refuse to accept anything but the best you very often get it." Thrivers agree, and so they think and act in ways that lead them to the very best that life has to offer. What is so clearly observable and distinguishes thrivers, therefore, is their attitudes and behaviors. While the survivors struggle for a sense of direction, thrivers navigate steadily and relentlessly toward their goals. While survivors get tossed about by the turbulence of modern existence, thrivers soar to new heights of personal achievement.

If your desire is to be a thriver, the following question is an excellent starting point: How much time do you allocate each week to sitting back and reflecting on what you do, why you do it, what's important to you, and in what direction your life is heading? When giving a workshop or a speech, I often pose this question to my audience. More often than not, the response is an amazing silence. It seems that in the busyness of our lives, we rarely take the time to think about the business of life. Often we are very clear about what the company wants, but we are not so sure of what we want. That will not work for those committed to thriving.

In the pages that follow, you will be getting to the "bottom line" of what you truly want for your life and how to achieve it. You will clarify what thriving looks like to you, how thriving feels, and what being a thriver will mean to the quality of your life. Not only will you map out where you want to go, you also will be able to check daily if you're on the right path. You are about to embark on quite an adventure, in every sense of the word.

Many of the ideas, insights, and stories about thriving revealed in this book came from a survey sent to over six hundred people. Their roles and responsibilities covered a large section of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. From the wonderful response, it was evident that I had clearly touched a nerve. CEO's to first-line supervisors responded, as did educators, salespeople, and entrepreneurs. I asked for examples of people who were thriving in their organizations and for them to explain why, in terms of specific attitudes and behaviors. They shared their experiences most generously, for which I am deeply grateful.

What was striking about all responders was their enthusiasm and the value they perceived in identifying the characteristics of the thriver. Quite a few took the time to share personal stories about thriving, many of which are retold in the book. They range from the poignant and inspiring to specific how to's. What is most important to our work, however, is the powerful themes that emerged about what it takes to thrive. These themes provided the titles and inspired the content of each chapter.

I must confess, however, to having harbored a hidden agenda: Would a "secret" be revealed? Would this secret finally explain why some people thrived while others just survived? Let me state right now that any notion I had that thrivers might intellectually or physically be superior had to be discarded quickly. Thrivers also were not blessed with excessive luck, although good fortune was certainly a frequent visitor to them, they did not escape much of life's pain and setbacks.

Eventually I learned, however, that thrivers do have a secret. It is a secret because it cannot be described, it has to be discovered. Are you ready to make that discovery? If so, then let's begin our journey.

The eagle stood proudly on the edge of his nest. As he gazed at the mountains and valleys before him, the eagle's thoughts returned to his childhood. He could remember clearly his first attempts at flight. Time and time again he had fallen out of control toward the rocks below. Time and time again his ever vigilant mother was there to save him.

The eagle recalled asking her, "What's wrong? Am I not as powerful as you have led me to believe?" His mother's answer would provide for him one of the most extraordinary moments of his life. Sensing that he was at last ready, she had revealed the eagle's secret.

"All eagles were born to soar. It is why we were created. Our power, however, comes not from what we can see, it is in the unseen. It is the wind, not our wings, that lifts us to the high places. It is our vision, not our eyes, that makes us rulers of the skies. But, above all these, it is our spirit, not our speed, that leads us to be strong and free."

David McNally

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