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Life Is Best Lived On The EDGE; 4 Behaviors To Live A Life Like No Other -Episode 019


Patrick:            Hey everybody, Pat V. here, and you’re listening to the Rise Above Your Best podcast, where I’m not only obsessed with identifying and understanding the habits, strategies, techniques, secrets that have made other people successful, but also in uncovering and identifying the research that demonstrates that great success is available to anyone. And it all starts when we believe in the power of rising above our best.

Patrick:            This is a really special episode for me. A lot of the work that I’ve done over the years has obviously been in leadership and team development, and recently I had put together a workshop series called Lead Like No Other. And the reason it’s like no other, or that I’ve phrased it that way, is because there’s so much more to leadership than just skills and techniques and strategies and understanding how to delegate.

Patrick:            One of the foundational components to it is finding out how to be comfortable with yourself, and be happy with who you are. And that’s why this episode, the title of it really is about living life on the EDGE, and how to successfully live life on the EDGE, and we’re gonna talk about four behaviors that really is foundational for a lot of the work that I do in terms of leadership that help leaders, or aspiring leaders, to feel good about who they are.

Patrick:            Because if you don’t feel good about who you are as an individual, if you’re not content or happy with yourself, then it’s gonna be very difficult for you to be there for somebody else, whether it’s a loved one or somebody in the office or somebody in the community, it doesn’t matter.

Patrick:            So these four behaviors that I’ll speak to I think are foundationally four of the most important things that you can do to live a great life, and when you do that, especially if I’m developing as a leader, these will provide the things that I need to be a better leader, again, at home, in the community, or at work. So let’s get going.

Patrick:            As I thought about putting this podcast together and the acronym for the model that I’m gonna talk about around EDGE, I thought, “You know what, when we think of living on the edge there’s some excitement to that, that we’re right there.” And to me, this model really is just that, it’s how do we maximize everything we can out of life? These four behaviors that I’m gonna talk to I think do that.

Patrick:            Now, even though the acronym is EDGE, I’m gonna talk to you about expectancy, and discipline, and gratitude, and empathy, which spells EDGE, the order of these that I’m gonna speak to you in is a little different. Because we’re gonna start out with gratitude.

Patrick:            Gratitude is so important for living, I think, a fulfilled life. I’ll start off with one of the quotes that I’d come across that I think speaks to this. This was by a woman, Melody Beattie, she said, “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” And I think that is so true in terms of gratitude.

Patrick:            And I think we have to practice it every day, and that’s part of the model that I put together and part of what certainly I live myself, and I know it’s made a huge difference that every morning I will write down three things that I’m grateful for, to start the day out. They might be just getting up, was, “I have another day today.” It could be, “I’m grateful for my family,” or, “for the opportunities to help other people.”

Patrick:            One of them is usually more simple though. Could be, “I’m thankful for a great cup of coffee this morning,” or, “for a sunrise”. Whatever that might be. So it’s not always I’ve gotta completely outdo myself every time I’m thinking grateful every morning.

Patrick:            But there’s a lot of research behind the benefit that gratitude provides us in terms of wellbeing. And if we think about it, it’s very difficult to be grateful and sad at the same time. It’s just hard to do, it’s almost like they’re binary, that either one or the other has to be taking place at one time, they both can’t happen at the same time.

Patrick:            And I think it’s really important to think about gratitude as focusing on the challenges that we face within our lives too, not just the good stuff, but the challenges. That when we can look at those things that have created struggle and think, “I’m grateful for that happening,” that it gives us the power over those things that we can look and say, “Yeah, this was terrible, this sucked, but there’s something that’s gonna come out of this that I’m grateful for, that I’m gonna grow somehow because of this.” And if you listened to the episode that I did, Your Past is Your Power, that’s really where I speak more in depth about that. But it’s so important.

Patrick:            Along those lines of gratitude, if you’ve ever seen the musical Dear Evan Hansen, I chuckle when I think of it because it starts out, one of the lines is, “Today’s gonna be a great day, and here’s why.” And as corny and hokey as that sounds, that’s often the way our brains operate, is that we give ourselves that “why”. “Why is this gonna be a good day for us?” That we start to position ourselves as to why things are gonna work out for us.

Patrick:            Too often what do we do? We take the opposite approach, and we look at the negative of why things aren’t gonna work out for us. The importance here is to go from that place of gratitude, we’re saying, “This is why things will work out for me today.” From a scientific standpoint, what starts to happen is we can activate what’s called the confirmation bias. The confirmation bias basically says that, whatever we put out there, we find evidence to back up why we’re right.

Patrick:            So if I’m gonna take that approach and leverage that research, then why not make it work in my favor? “Why will things work out for me today?” And when I can do that, when I can have that focus, generally only good things are gonna come of that.

Patrick:            I’ll end our gratitude piece with a quote from Dennis Wheatley. He said, “Happiness can’t be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” I think that’s so true. When we can really be in that space, it’s not about what we own, the title we have, it’s about living. And gratitude certainly is how we start this out.

Patrick:            So when we move on from gratitude, the next one is expectancy. This is a practice every morning as well. I expect to get where I’m going. That’s sort of the, not the glass is half full, that my glass is full. And it dovetails off of the gratitude piece.

Patrick:            Oftentimes when we’re dealing with expectancy, though, we get in our own heads. We start to talk ourselves out of it. One of the quotes that I think of often comes from a woman, Mary Morrissey, she said, “Feed your faith and your fears will starve.” And I think about that often, this idea of what is faith, and that when we feed our faith, our belief in ourselves or something else or someone else, a higher power, that our fears really will starve when we do that.

Patrick:            And when we go back to thinking about gratitude, we can think in this space of, “Why will I be successful?” We start to, again, activate the confirmation bias piece here, that it’s thinking of all the reasons why we’re gonna be successful and not why we can’t.

Patrick:            This is not a pollyana approach, or like it’s roses all the time, I don’t believe that. I can recognize that there are challenges, and I can have crappy days. But I know in the end that things are gonna work out. That’s just the way it is.

Patrick:            There’s a model that I use in coaching, and it’s called GAIL. It really deals with four ways that really we try and protect ourselves, or our brain tries to protect us, and the first is gremlins. It’s this space of we say we’re gonna do something, but then that voice gets in our head of saying, “What are you, crazy? You can’t do that. Don’t even try.”

Patrick:            The next one is around assumptions, it says, “Well, if this was the way it was last time, this is the way it’s gonna be this time. I wasn’t able to pull it off last time, and chances are I’m not gonna be able to pull it off this time.” So we talk ourselves out of it.

Patrick:            The next is around interpretations, that it says, “I see it a certain way, and that’s the only way it is. It can’t be a different way than it is.” And the last one is around limiting beliefs, and it says, “I’m too short, I’m too tall, I don’t have enough education, I don’t have enough money, I don’t have enough time,” whatever it might be, that we put that roadblock in front of ourselves.

Patrick:            And in coaching we often talk about resources and resourcefulness, and really limiting beliefs is about resources. We’re always gonna lack something, whatever that might be, but what we always have equal opportunity to is resourcefulness. And when we think of those two things, we start off with gratitude, what am I grateful for every day, we move on to expectancy, I expect that I’m gonna get where I wanna go, that oftentimes revolves around making sure that we set good goals.

Patrick:            Before we transition into our next behavior around discipline, I’ll leave you with a quote from Mark Twain, who said, “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” That is so true, that if I look back to when I started my own business now, if I knew everything that was involved and really how naïve I was in some regards, I don’t know that I would have done it. But having that ignorance, but also the expectation, the confidence that I was gonna succeed, it really did provide success.

Patrick:            Which leads us into the next behavior that we talk about, and that is around discipline. If anybody had any questions about thinking, “Gratitude, expectancy, where’s the beef” so to speak, here’s where it comes in. The discipline component of this is to set up, “How am I gonna get there? What do I want, and how am I gonna get there?”

Patrick:            Episode one we talked about set goals. Specific, emotional, and timebound, an easy way to set goals and really set their trajectory. There’s a quote that I love by a gentleman, Dwight Newell Hillis, and he said, “A person must take their choice between ease and wealth. Either is available, but not both.”

Patrick:            And I believe that in my own life, certainly, is that I’ve had those opportunities to choose ease and to choose wealth. It really has seemed to be more binary, that I get one or the other. If I get ease, I don’t get a lot of the good stuff that goes along with it. And if I want wealth, it’s not gonna be with ease. There’s gonna be work, and that’s okay.

Patrick:            So the discipline comes down to, “What are my goals? What do I want? Are they specific? Are they emotional?” Meaning, what’s the “why”? “How strongly do I want this? Are they timebound? Am I gonna have this done by a certain amount of time?” It’s looking at being grateful for what I have, but also expecting that I’m gonna get there. I can’t just put it out there, “It’s gonna work out, I’m just gonna keep hoping for it,” without doing what needs to be done. I’ve gotta put the work in.

Patrick:            And when I do that, it also helps to keep me focused when things aren’t going well, that I’m like, “Okay, I know why I’m doing this. I know what the end result is gonna be, and I know how I need to get there.” So gratitude and expectancy is certainly needed to put me in that place, but discipline is what’s gonna pull me through and allow me to really get where I need to go. And it’s not always gonna be easy, I know that.

Patrick:            Another quote when I think in this area, and it’s on the signature of a lot of my emails that goes out, is by Galatians, and the quote says, “Do not grow weary by doing good, for in good season we will reap if we don’t give up.” And that’s the hardest part, if we don’t give up. And when we’re thinking about this from the standpoint of living on the EDGE, I’ve talked about three behaviors that really do make a difference.

Patrick:            One is I’m grateful for what I have. In the morning I’m grateful for it, when I go to bed I’m grateful for what happened during the day. But I have also trained myself to expect that things are gonna work out. That faith, I’ve activated that faith. And then I’ve employed discipline in terms of making sure that I’m doing what I need to do on my end to make that happen. When we think about that from a standpoint of being in a place of wellbeing, you can see where that can create that space for us, especially as leaders.

Patrick:            But there’s one last component to this, and this is around the other E. That’s empathy. If you look at a lot of the research out there in regards to wellbeing and happiness, you’ll often hear it suggested that having a purpose is one of the most important things somebody can have in terms of creating wellbeing or happiness in their lives. It really is about feeling as though there’s something more than just yourself that you’re involved with, that you’re making a purpose.

Patrick:            Dan Pink talks about it in his book Drive, purpose is one of the three motivators that he’s found in the research that he looked at, this idea of, “What am I doing? Who am I serving beside myself if I really wanna be happy?” Again, the research would suggest that those that are able to do that, that they find a way to have purpose for other people, they’re happier.

Patrick:            The term that I’ve used here around that is about empathy. One of the first quotes that I think about when I think of empathy and to me this idea of being for others, is by a quote by Napoleon Hill, who said, “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”

Patrick:            Again, I can use what I’ve got to get a bigger house, better car, better vacation, all about myself, and I think oftentimes when people aren’t happy with who they are that’s what they try and live through first. “What can I feed myself that will take away from the other stuff that’s lacking? Is it a new suit, or a bigger trip?” Whatever it might be, we realize that that doesn’t last long.

Patrick:            From a research or a scientific standpoint, we call that hedonic adaptation, which really means that after a certain period of time the luster wears off. The car is just a car, the suit’s just another suit, the house is just a house again. Because what we really needed to feed is not that, because we’re doing it for ourselves, not for other people.

Patrick:            Gary Vaynerchuk will talk oftentimes about the 51% rule, and I would agree with that, this idea of trying to provide 51% of the value in any relationship that I go into. And when we do that, it really does activate that piece of being for others that our sense of purpose, when it’s for others as opposed to ourselves, puts us in a place of wellbeing and happiness.

Patrick:            The last quote that I’ll speak to in this area is by Samantha Power. She said, “All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy.” Again, when we can live from a place that we’re thinking of other people and what our actions have on them, and how we can impact them, and we’re able to say, “Yes, we’re doing that positively,” it creates a sense of positive wellbeing in us and happiness.

Patrick:            And from a leadership perspective, that is such a critical component of being there for others. Inspiring others by our actions to wanna follow wherever we go. And again, whether that’s at home or in the community or in your organization.

Patrick:            So we recap here, again, living life on the EDGE can really be the most powerful place to live it. When we’re practicing those things, when we expect to get where we wanna go, when we apply the discipline needed to get there, when we’re grateful for what we have and where we are in the moment, and when we’re able to exercise and demonstrate empathy for others in a way that says, “I’m more interested in making a difference for other people than I am about what’s in it for me.”

Patrick:            I hope you’ve found this podcast helpful. As I read each one of these things, I know in my own life and in those people that I work with that I’ve seen them exercise these, it can create such a difference in terms of who you are and how you live your life. I hope you were able to take something away from this that helps you to rise above your best, if you know somebody that could benefit from this as well, that you forward it on to them, and if you hadn’t already, please subscribe to this podcast.

Patrick:            Leave me a rating. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that when that happens because I know that the message is continuing to get out there. And I hope you’ll continue to listen to me as I bring on more guests and more research and more strategies to helping not only you but those around you to rise above their best. Till the next episode. Take care.

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