"The first source of positive tension is a compelling goal that pulls you because of its desirability and magnitude."
Posts by Dan Thurmon
"Embracing an off-balance life allows our minds to learn the patterns that we have created in our life and to determine whether they are working for us, or not."
Bestselling author, Dan Thurmon offers life-changing strategies in his book, Off Balance On Purpose, that will help you cut through the malaise and helplessness you are experiencing about your job, your personal life, and other important aspects of your life. Let’s start with a fundamental question - how do you find the balance in a world that is completely off-balance? First, you must learn to accept the fact that life is not static, but is completely fluid by nature. Embracing an off-balance life allows our minds to learn the patterns that we have created in our life and to determine whether they are working for us, or not.
Next, all aspects of your life are connected to one another. You experience that when you have a personal issue that has made you upset or sad, or you are not feeling well, and it impacts your general mood and approach to life. Many experts and authors tell us that in order to achieve “life balance,” we must keep the various aspects of our life separate – or compartmentalized, like rooms in a house. This line of thought will lead to frustration as our life aspects are like the river, ever-changing and never static.
Understanding what the 5 spheres of influence are in your life will help you see the shape of your life pattern and help you to better integrate your life aspects between the spheres.
The 5 spheres of influence are:
- Your Work
- Your Relationships
- Your Health
- Your Spiritual Growth
- Your Passions/Personal Interests
If you look at each of these as 5 different pursuits, you’re always going to be overwhelmed – there’s never enough time. But, when you see these 5 spheres as interconnected, you will see that small or big adjustments can be made to the connections between them. I call the connections between these spheres, lifelines.
The 10 lifelines are the key to a more fulfilling life and rewarding life – they are:
- Work ⇔ Relationships
- Work ⇔ Health
- Work ⇔ Spiritual Growth
- Work ⇔ Personal Interests
- Relationships ⇔ Health
- Relationships ⇔ Spiritual Growth
- Relationships ⇔ Personal Interests
- Health ⇔ Spiritual Growth
- Health ⇔ Personal Interests
- Spiritual ⇔ Health Personal Interests
When you began to anticipate, prepare for, and correct breaks along your lifelines, you will begin to see a more fulfilled life. How about work and health? Does your job support you to be healthy or challenge your health in certain ways? If so, what are you going to do about that?
Evaluate the lifelines between your 5 spheres of influence - are there changes you can make that will bring more harmony between the aspects of your life? Are there new ways of thinking that will eliminate negativity that is holding you back in one area, while impacting another one? Your mind is powerful – what you think is what you are. Change the patterns and choose to become off-balance, on purpose. You will be amazed at the happiness that is within your reach.
"You Can Learn How to be More Confident and Comfortable in the Midst of Change"
This is a challenging time for organizations and leaders to adapt and keep moving forward in the ever-changing chaos of the world around us. The one thing we have learned in the last year and half is that we can’t predict what’s coming next and many things are often out of our control.
"It’s the stretching to what’s next, or what’s different that improves you, whether you plan it or not!"
Millions of people around the world are experiencing or will soon experience the reality of returning to a physical workplace. For some, this is a welcome and joyous, overdue event. And for others, quite the opposite is true.
Either way, as you reintegrate into work, or lead your staff to do so, I would wholeheartedly recommend that you do it with a very intentional, personal plan.
You’re not going back to work. You’re upgrading your workplace systems. You are bringing lessons and skills you’ve learned while away, which you may not even fully appreciate yet, back into a physical realm where you and your improved skills will intersect others and their personal improvements. Expect it!
For instance, I am now returning to stages, audiences, and in-person events, after many months away. And what I’m discovering is that rather than feeling that I’m relearning what was, I’m bringing so much more to the table. More content, more awareness, deeper understanding, more appreciation, more attention, and a style that is now imbued with a new confidence.
Look. The hard stuff you go through makes you stronger, a point I make about juggling. When I was working on four, my three ball juggling got better, and I never got the hang of four, until I tried five. It’s the stretching to what’s next, or what’s different that improves you, whether you plan it or not!
You’ve been stretched and improved by what you’ve been through. Own it. Claim it, with specificity. And step back in confidently, and curious for your enhancements. If you are leading others, have a conversation about what’s better now, and set an expectation that you’re about to experience new and profound breakthroughs as a result.
"When you lean into the uncertainty, create a new action and go off-balance on purpose, you position yourself for greater success."
Imagine doing a handstand on a podium. Feel your body trying to balance against the wobble, as you try to keep your body straight in the air. After all the effort of trying to position your body up in the air, while the podium shifts back and forth, you are still in the same place, only a lot more exhausted. This is how many organizations and teams deal with uncertainty.
When your teams are fatigued, anxious and productivity has slowed, you feel the foundation is shifting and things feel unstable. It’s easy to hold on tight to the same processes and strategies, but this is a mistake and will keep your people from being agile and rising to the top.
In every uncertainty, there is a huge opportunity to create something extraordinary. When you lean into the uncertainty, create a new action and go off-balance on purpose, you position yourself for greater success.
Balance is not what you get. Balance is what you do.
More than ever, we need to slow down and examine how we are working, living our lives, what goals are we setting and what are our expectations of ourselves and others?
Watch Dan Thurmon use juggling (even glow-in-the-dark!) as a tool to highlight the patterns in the movements in order to teach us how to find the moments between our actions.
It’s hard to imagine that in order to find more time, we actually have to slow down. Doesn’t that somehow seem counterintuitive? The busier we get, the more we often try and speed up, only to realize that life speeds up with you and never tires. You will lose that race, eventually. But, there’s more time than you think. By slowing down, you can observe the moments between your actions.
Each moment is a chance to appreciate something, to choose how to react or respond, or to internalize it so you can express it to someone else. All you ever get is the moment. So, as we go forward, we need to slow down.
Take juggling, for example. There’s a rhythm and a pattern in the movements and the basic principle is how long the object will be in the air and where it is going to land when it comes down. One throw, one thought, one deliberate action at a time. One moment.
The opportunities in life are like the moments between the throws and the catches. Your life right now is how you’ve utilized the moments in your past. In order to create new growth, we need to slow down and recognize the patterns. Can you see it?
Find the patterns in your life and see what pace you have set by how high you decide to take the throws, and how high you decide to live your life. Find that infinite loop, that pattern in your life, to understand how you can grow.
At any moment in time, including this one, there really exists a sort of a spectrum of certainty. There are some things we're going to know for sure, absolutely. And others that are unknowable, there's a huge amount of uncertainty. And that's okay.
All we ever get you to see is some certainty. So the question is, how can we operate every single day from this place of only having some certainty, and still be optimistic and confident, and joyful, and connected and fulfilled in what we do, and for in your case, to be the Great Leader, that can not only embody that for yourself, but give it to others, because you can't give away what you don't have. So here are three simple strategies that I promise you'll remember. And if you do this, you will have a better time navigating the future, and these moments.
The first is to claim your certainties. You got to claim the certainties that you have. And you know a lot for sure. You know, who you are, you know your name, you know your past, what you love, who you love. You know, your purpose, your mission, your vision, and your incredible core values. And you know, that what you do matters so much, and your life matters, but it won't last forever. So we have to get busy living and becoming who we are at this present moment.
The second thing we need to do is to embrace the unknown. Right? Embrace the unknown and what that means is, you're going to be in this place, obviously, where some things you don't know. And rather than seeing the future as uncertain, I want you to think about it as unfolding. There are some things that we just don't know now. And they will be unfolded and revealed in time. Sure, we participate in making that happen. To help that happen, you can create and shape the future as you go. But imagine, for example, if you are reading a great book, or watching a fantastic movie, and for whatever reason, you couldn't enjoy yourself, unless you knew the ending in advance. It sounds crazy, right? And yet, this is how most people live their lives. So they say "when I'm dealing with only some certainty, I've got to know how this is going to work out" right? If I have a guarantee of success before I'm even willing to be comfortable, or to even start or try something new. But if you embrace the unknown, you see the future is just unfolding, and you're an active participant, and you become much more okay with that.
And then the third thing is to create more certainty, more certainty. And the way you do this, is you engage with the test. Now, our doctors have just told us a lot about the testing. And we know that testing has been a huge part of the psychology and the mindset and the language. And you probably have felt like you have been undergoing a test during these past few months in a new way. The question is, how do you engage with that? Is it a test coming at you? Or do you choose rather to test yourself? It's an intention.
Intentionality. And what you're saying really, is that in the midst of all this unknown and all that's uncertain, and things that might be going poorly or, you know, not necessarily in the direction that we wish them to go. That there is something, I can do right now at this present moment, to create a different trajectory in my life, that I know some things many things are going to be getting better in my life and in my leadership abilities and my skills.
Read instead of watch:
Here's some of the principles that we typically talk about regarding on-camera excellence and building your on-camera persona. I feel like there's a version of us that we have to think about when we're on screen, and how that version comes across.
You know, one of the things we've all heard is “You’ve got to love the lens”! You’ve got to look right into the lens of the camera, and it’s just so unnatural. It's counterintuitive because we want to watch people and so you find you watch their little pictures on screen and see what they're doing and what their body language looks like. That's what we've been told in all our training classes for so long.
“You’ve got to watch people” but it's not accurate. If you want them to feel like you care about them, like they really matters to you, you have to ignore their picture completely. Just pour yourself into that camera lens and let them watch your picture.
When you teach what you've learned, you actually learn it much more deeply. You give language to what you already understand. But don't diminish what you already have learned.
I see over and over again, people who say, this is my struggle, this is my limitation. When you say that you essentially reinforce it, and you make it so much more difficult to move on. Life's too short to keep starting over with something so important and meaningful. We have to plant the flag that says, I've got this, I've learned this lesson. This is my new base camp. This is the point with which I'm going to start and then reach for something even greater. So I can continue that journey of evolution.
If you go down that road, you will get to a point where you can take on the daunting challenges. If you limit yourself to what's comfortable, you deny yourself what's possible. In other words, I've just upped my commitment, are you going to up yours?
When you do, you have to get very specific about the goal. It's not just to catch, it's more specific. That's important, and they're all different. But the moment one of them is out of my hand, it's also out of my control. I need to let it go. So I can handle the next one with equal attention and commitment.
If you feel overwhelmed, it's probably from the inability to disengage from what is already out of your hand. You must let go in order to get a grip. Notice it's not some incredible, unbelievable show-stopping moment. What it is, is a meditation of concentration, excellence, performance, and focus. I'm looking up, I'm slowing down. I'm handling each one uniquely. And then those moments give me opportunities to expand into new variations or opportunities.
How do you leverage the trajectory of your life and step more confidently into the unfamiliar?
When I describe the work that I do for organizations and individuals, sometimes I put it like this: I help people leverage the past and be more present in order to create a better future. That's it. Life is trajectory. You're either on an upward trajectory of improvement, or a downward path of decline. Growth happens when we seize the present moment. But it's often precipitated because we found a new way, a better way to leverage our past.
For example, perhaps you're facing change in your life right now. Maybe it's a difficult decision you're trying to make or a challenge that you must overcome. Maybe it's related to your job, your family, your health, your finances or a passion you feel compelled to pursue. You're not sure what to do because this seems so different than anything you've encountered in the past. When we perceive change as completely new and different, it puts us at a huge disadvantage, and almost guarantees that you will miss opportunities and make unnecessary mistakes. So when people tell me, “What I'm about to do is so completely new for me,” I usually respond by saying, “what you are facing right now is extremely similar to what you've already experienced.”
Leverage the similarities
When I was in my late teens and early twenties paying my way through college by performing, I was constantly going into new venues and new situations—whether I was the opening act for a major recording artist at a music festival, or performing for CEOs after dinner at a corporate function, or as the fire juggler on the ledge of a building outdoors at night. Hundreds of different challenges that were exciting, because I'd have to, in a matter of moments, evaluate my surroundings, my audience, their expectations, my skill set and find a way to rise to the occasion.
How did I do it? By leveraging the similarities. I haven't done this before. But this challenge reminds me in some way of situations I've moved through in the past successfully, or lessons that I've learned along the way. By associating to those positive reference points, I was able to step into the new moment with familiar confidence. So again, if you're thinking right now that what you’re going through is completely new to you, I strongly suggest that it isn't.
What experiences from your past have prepared you for this one? What lessons have you learned that do not need repeating? What skills have you developed that enable you to rise to this challenge right now? I promise you, you've been preparing for your future all of your life. It is time to leverage your past and step into this moment with the confidence that you are ready. Take the confident step from yesterday to today, knowing that your footing is solid, and your trajectory is moving ever upward.
Dan Thurmon and his keynote Off Balance On Purpose excites audiences with an interactive performance while giving a multi-dimensional view of success. He doesn’t stand behind a podium and talk about dealing with fear and change – he does handstands on the podium to demonstrate what being uncomfortable and living off balance on purpose truly looks like. Your audience will talk about this presentation for years to come!