Transcript | PPP108

Today on the Potential Psychology Podcast...

Let's then have a little look at hope, hope is not just cross your fingers, and hope for the best or a blind optimism when we're talking about it, psychologically.

Marie 0:15
Hope is believing that the future will be better than life is today. And believing that we have some power to make that so.  Believing the future will be better, there can be fluffy if we leave it there. So we actually need to do some intentional work around that, you know, we need to really have a vision of what we want the future to look like to feel like to sound like and to make that so real, that it's like a memory of the future.

Ellen 0:52
Right, by the way I think about it.

Marie 0:53
Just wrap your head around that one, baby.

Ellen 0:57

Intro 1:00
Welcome to the Potential Psychology podcast. I'm your host psychologist, Ellen Jackson, and this is the show in which we explore what it is to be human, and how we as humans can fulfill our potential.

Ellen 1:13
Hello, and welcome back to the Potential Psychology podcast and our very last episode of our how to thrive series, which is a little bit sad, because it's been a series of wonderful conversations. I've thoroughly enjoyed it. But also exciting because we're starting to turn our minds to 2022 and what happens from here, and there's some really big things happening in the How to Thrive space in 2022. So I'm going to say welcome to my co host, Marie McLeod.

Thank you, Ellen. It's so good. I see where color coordinated today in green, working a little Christmas here.

We are for those of you watching on YouTube, where we're both in green. For those of you listening, you'll just have to imagine us both.

What is exciting, about 2022, and How to Thrive?

Marie 2:04
So some of you who've been listening might have heard us talking about the BEACON framework, that's been our whole kind of, you know, theme for this series. And the BEACON framework is something that I used in the how to thrive documentary. And so in 2020, I was involved in a documentary called How to Thrive and that documentary came about completely out of the blue for me. It was not something that I went and sought out. It was a whole lot of sort of series of synchronistic events that led to my involvement in that but what we did is we took on 10 people experiencing struggle, different kinds of mental health issues and we said what would happen if we applied positive psychology or wellbeing science? And I coached people individually in groups using the BEACON framework. Could we shift the dial for them in terms of their their struggle? And could we help them to sort of thrive more than just survive? And so that was the quest that I was given, which was, to be honest, quite terrifying to do that, anyway, but to do it being filmed, and then to do it in a global pandemic. Well, you know, as I said, I felt like I'd been asked to run a marathon to start with, and then I was being asked to do it with a backpack of bricks on my back but it was an amazing, extraordinary and very exhilarating experience at the end, and caught on camera. And that has been this year, being edited and being finessed and doing some actual filming out with people. And so that's due to be released in 2022. There'll be a cinematic release first. The team are aiming for hopefully the Sydney or Melbourne Film Festival, so it will be probably the middle of the year. So, that is very exciting. It's taken a huge amount of work and love and it is, again, terrifying for me. So, thank you for help hitting the screens but it is one of those things, Ellen, as you know, that we do, because we believe in the difference it will hopefully make and it means that my vulnerability hanging on have to sort of stay in shape because I just want to hide away somewhere and not be seen but yeah, it's been it's such an extraordinary honor. And so yeah, very big year for us.

Ellen 4:14
Absolutely. And I hope I'm allowed to say that I was very fortunate to see early cut. Well probably not that early really.

Marie 4:24
Oh you're you're you're one of I would say one of maybe 20 people who have seen it so far and that kind of rough cut stage. So you were very special and we were very much hope to keep you involved as we sort of get there so I don't know what did you think?

Ellen 4:38
I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I just thought it was amazing, visually and story wise, but also in terms of the impact. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give people give it away because I want everybody to go and watch but it really was incredible and I just am super excited for you and for the team to be able to get it out there and into the world. So I think it's a wonderful thing to look forward to. And in fact, a very hopeful thing. That was the key message that I really, the first thing that came to mind as we did a little debrief after watching it was that it was so full of hope, which is one of the things we're going to talk about today, this concept of hope, what does hope mean? And why is it important to our mental health, and well being and so much of what we do in life, so today's a little bit of a double setup, we're going to wrap up the beacon framework, and help us all on our quest for what we're going to do perhaps in 2022, in order to thrive and hope is very much woven into that.

Marie 5:55
Yes, well, let me just say that if anyone is interested, they can check out we'll put a link to the trailer for the documentary in our notes, so they could they can have the little three minute fix of seeing what might be ahead and there is a website How the Thrive film that they could look at, and it's also on the documentary, Australia Foundation website as well How to Thrive. And so yes, we do need to check back in on what we committed to do over the last week, which was about N for Nurture BEACON, and we particularly looked at sleep. And we were talking about a bit of a checklist around sleep hygiene. And I had said that I would try to write a bit of a to do list before I went to sleep to get all that stuff out of my brain that's busily swirling around at this time of the year. There's a bunch of work things and there's a bunch of oh my god, who have I got gifts for and who I have someone who's getting the Christmas ham, and when are we going on holidays, and he's looking at the dog, but it's just, ah, total overwhelm. So I was going to do that as well as start reading a book rather than looking at my phone and so that has been good. I asked my husband. He picked up some books from the library for me, which was amazing. So I have been doing that which has actually been really lovely, because he's shared books with me that he's read and that's enabled us to have a have a conversation. And he's like, what are you up to, and we can kind of chat about that, which has been nice and also for me to try and do that brain dump the full beard has been good to get it all out, but also found in the next day that I've got a bit of a list waiting for me. And so that kind of being intentional about you know, what do I need to get done. And so that's been working, and it's very early days, but I have liked those habits around sleep. And for you, you were you already had some good habits, but you were going to try and we're going to read?

Ellen 7:45
Well, yes. So, reading has been one thing that I've done. So, I've swapped out a bit of Netflix for reading, which as a lifelong reader has been an interesting challenge for me for this year, for some reason, the pandemic just put paved to reading for me, and I'm not quite sure why but I have gone back to reading. I'm reading a book called Dog boy, which is fascinating. So, that has been good. The other thing I was going to do was just try and maintain the routine, I was going to say rigidity, but it's not rigidity, because that's not helpful. It's the routine around regular bedtimes, which has been a bit of an exercise in self compassion, I have to say, because not an easy time of year in order to do that. Christmas functions and events that sometimes make getting to bed on time difficult but I think the other thing that I have done which has been very helpful as we talked last week about the need to kind of balance the desire for routine and getting good sleep with not becoming panicked and anxious about not getting enough sleep because there was nothing that I struggled with for a long time because sleep was so important to me and I really felt strongly that if I didn't get adequate sleep, that I wasn't functioning at my best, and that wasn't satisfactory, and then I'd get cranky about it and which sort of became a bit of a self defeating cycle. So, I have been having a little bit of self compassion around, you know, if I don't sleep, or I haven't got to bed on time. That's okay, I will just manage my day differently. So, thinking about it in that 24 hour cycle, I'll just manage my day, a little differently. I'll give myself time to rest and recover during the day and get back into the routine from there on rather than kind of throwing it all out the window and going oh, it's just hopeless, you know, at this time of year. So a bit of self compassion. So, that was me.

Marie 9:42
Well, that's good. And you did remind me in that moment that oh gosh, what I think was our fourth podcast. The A of BEACON is about accountability and acceptance. And you just described it so beautifully in that moment that you know about sleep and all of the things that are about nurturing our well being we need to hold ourselves accountable for the things that we know, help us to be at our best and so sleep is one of those. We've gone through many of them in the in the previous episodes, but we want to hold yourself accountable but we also want to do that with the grit of, you know, holding ourselves tightly to the things we know we should, but pulling back with grace and self compassion when we just can't, you know, when life gets in the way, when we're under resourced, when we're sort of just stretched to enter, go, this week was not a good week, and I'll get back on it, you know, next week, and that's perfectly fine because life, you know, has its ups and downs and ebbs and flows. And, you know, I don't know that we've sort of, you know, sit there as often as perhaps we should have that. We're talking about how to thrive and the aim is thriving, that sort of getting to that more consistent state of feeling good and functioning well, but the aim is never to be 100% 100% of the time, that is unrealistic, unreal, and just sets us up for, you know, feeling rubbish. It's about doing enough of the things enough of the time to have that more consistent state and you and I acknowledge to each other earlier that we were feeling a bit shitty, to be perfectly honest. You know, we're feeling a bit burnt out and frazzled, the kids seem to have gone back to school for five minutes, and then they're off on holidays again, and we love them dearly but we're a bit dumb, and that I would consider myself to be thriving but in the last couple of days, do I feel happy? Do I feel light and lifted? No, not really. And, and that's okay, right? Because it's totally okay. It's life, you know? And have I done all my practices and done all my stuff? And have I been the person I wanted to be? No, I've been grouchy, and grumpy. And so I'm going to take myself off for a night at my brother's farm. And I feel really bad about that. Because my son, you know, the littlest one, particularly, he's saying, can I come Mom on holidays. And I've had to say, I need this for me to be the best person I can be for you for the next two months. And then we can go and do some things together. And I, you know, to take him a little adventure, for lunch and Lilydale on the train on the weekend, and we've done some cool stuff but I you know, that's the hard thing, we have to sometimes set those boundaries for self kindness in order to reappear kinder for others. So sorry, that was a little rant of things going on for me, as we sort of, you know, think about the whole BEACON sort of thing. I think I might have mentioned this before, but the editor of the How toThrive documentary, who was obviously someone that sits there for hours on end watching footage of me and the other participants, and I had been doing a detox and said, I'm having a day off tonight, and I'm going to have a few drinks and he turned to me and he said, Marie, can you have a cheat day on BEACON? And I said, well, yes, you can cheat days on a detox a few drinks. Yes, you can have a cheat day on BEACON. And so I've had a few cheat days. So, I'm pleased to report and the world won't fall apart.

Ellen 13:00
No. And I think that especially, you know, coming into the new year, everything's in a bit of a state of flux, then, you know, for me, personally, the grace might come to the fore, a little more than the grit, in readiness, for resumption of a bit more of the grit and the accountability into the new year but self compassion, particularly in a couple of very tumultuous years might be the best way to put it.

So let's then have a little look at Hope, and how that ties into perhaps how we're thinking about how to thrive into the new year, hope is absolutely one of my favorite topics and it's actually been something that I think has been quite significant for me over the course of the pandemic, in particular, and with all of the groups that I've worked with, so the leadership program that I run with clients and client organizations, and I think also probably with myself and my family, this idea that what we all need, particularly during difficult periods is a sense of hope but hope is not just cross your fingers, and hope for the best blind optimism when we're talking about it psychologically. So there's a particular definition isn't there Marie of hope in this context. What is that?

Marie 14:26
Hope and I thank you for that because it does sound a bit glib and a bit sort of fluffy, that concept of hope and that is not what we're talking about here. Hope as defined by Shane Lopez and Rick Schneider is believing that the future will be better than life is today. And believing that we have some power to make that so both of those pieces are important, right? That we believe the future will be better and that we believe we have the power to make it so, and some of the research suggests that 80% of people believe the future will be better, but only 20% of people believe that they've got the power to make its own. And so both of those pieces can be unpacked and have their own sort of intricacies but what we want to think about is, believing the future will be better, that can be fluffy, if we leave it there. So we actually need to do some intentional work around that, you know. We need to really have a vision of what we want the future to look like to feel like to sound like, and to make that so real, that it's like a memory of the future.

Ellen 15:43
Right by the way I think about it.

Marie 15:47
Put your head around that one baby. And you know, this, this comes from Shane Lopez and it is a bit of a sort of mind bending thing but, you know, we can conjure up images of the past, we can remember that great holiday, you know. We can remember the job that we learned. We can remember the birth of our child. We can remember those wonderful times with warmth and we can really visualize them, well. We need to be able to create that same kind of, you know, memory in the vision has to be as strong for something that we want to happen in the future. And so that requires us to really do some visualizing and some to answer letting go. And so what I often ask people to do and sort of set a task around is taking some time to sit down and center yourself, maybe a glass of wine, maybe a bubble bath, whatever it is, that take helps you to become sort of grounded and centered. And then you know, a pen and paper, you can scribble, you can draw, you can do whatever you want but taking your mind to a timeframe that makes sense for you. For some people that's shorter, it might be a year or six months, even for some people, or maybe five or 10 years but taking yourself forward and asking yourself, if everything went as well as it possibly caught. What would I want my future to look like? So we call this the best possible future self. Now that it's important because people get tangled up in the whole, oh but it couldn't, shouldn't, wouldn’t, you know, what, how do I know that this thing won't happen? And you know, all these …

Ellen 17:22
Desire to kind of control it or have control when you have no control.

Marie 17:24
Yes, that's right. And I just want you to let go of all that and say, imagine, you know, like, imagine it's a magic wand, if you like and that you've woken up? That's another way to do it be equally valid, that sort of magical question. Imagine that you've woken up and it's five years from now and everything is as you would have wished it to be. And so where are you? Who's around? Does it look like? What does it feel like? What work are you doing? You know, who are you friends with? What are you getting to do in your in your leisure time? So you really need to go through a process of creating a vision and that is the first part because hope then has the power to pull us forward and so I love this kind of notion. And Professor Martin Seligman talks about this as well, that hope is the antidote to helplessness and sometimes when we fall into struggle, we lose hope, we lose that belief that the future will be better. And you know, that is a kind of a mammals natural response to kind of being beaten down. I guess that sort of learned helplessness, if you like, the antidote to that is hope. And so hope then has these invisible strings that pull you towards that. And that is just extraordinarily powerful. And so like you, I'm such a believer in such a lover of hope and we might, you know, in the past, I've worked in impoverished communities. And I know you're very involved in community work where you live as well. And it's free, right? To give people hope. But we need to do that in a structured, sensible, intentional way. We don't just say, you know, this is like crossing crossing your fingers, as you said, and wishful thinking, you have to allow people the space and support them to see that vision. And then you need to support them, to believe that they have what it takes to make that happen. So that's where your strengths come in. That's where your support systems come in. That's where your mindset comes in your growth mindset that says, well, I can change and improve things with effort. So you know, as you can see, there's a lot of nuance to this, but it's such a powerful thing to start out by saying, where am I now? And where do I want to be in the months and years ahead? And what is it that's going to get me there? It's like that hope is a journey and we need to have the destination. We need to have the map and we need to have the transportation to get there and that's sort of the bit, I guess I want us to unravel a bit more.

Ellen 20:12
And I was going to give you a really practical example, because one of the things that I do at the beginning of each year and again, longtime members of Potential Psychology community would know that I generally put out personal projects planner, at the beginning of each year and hope is embedded in that in a very implicit way, I have to say it's not explicit but one of the things that I do, and that I encourage our listeners to do is to sit down at the beginning of each year. And actually, I draw mind sort of drawing ideas, I do create a visual of it. Yeah, very, very basic drawing but it's essentially looking at all the different elements of my life, I'd take a 12 month time frame, and it is that kind of fuzzy vision of, you know, what are the things I'd really like to achieve over the course of the year with no need for control with no hard commitment. I'm not getting too rigid about it and I just draw little things up. And so I'd show you the picture, except that I don't have it in front of me and be that's not very helpful for listeners but I've got one from I don't know, if not, but I think it was this year. In fact, I'm even wondering, I have a sneaking suspicion because of the nature of the pandemic and the fact that it's usually while I'm on my weeks holiday by the beach, that I do this and that week's holiday this year got completely thrown by the fact that the Victorian border closed, and I had to nick off, so I'm not sure I even did it this year. So, it would have been for last year and it's a little one page with little drawings of me doing some yoga, not really make a stick figure doing some yoga, that’s one of the things. You know, an aeroplane, because I had hoped to get back and to travel. There would have been something there about building our house, which is this project that I've been on working on for forever, probably spending time with the kids, There was probably some relaxation in there, all of these sorts of things. So it's really just snippets of the sorts of things that I'm aspiring to do over the course of the 12 months in a one page, visual. And that is building that vision that is of hope that you know, this is what I want my future just over the course of a 12 month period, which works for me to look like these are the things that I'm going to work with, with not too much in the way of rigidity around it but then the second step to that is starting to actually plan out when might I do some of this. And, again, I think the pandemic gives us an interesting context to this because a lot of those things have been utterly thwarted, like travel by the pandemic, and restrictions and border closes and what have you but I don't think it matters. In fact, I'm quite sure it doesn't matter, it can continue on then for the next the sense of having a future that is pulling me towards it in the way that you described, is absolutely still there. So there is that nuance that desire to be accountable in the sense of setting some goals creating a vision, planning things I'd like to do, but also having, you're not holding that to with a white group, It's one of our wonderful guests on the show has described it Patricia Zurita, you know, hold not holding these things with a white not holding them lightly and saying this is what I'm working towards. So creating that kind of vision and then the next step is actually starting to plan out the elements of that, that you can plan out. So I tend to encourage people to look at a 12 year, 12 year? 12 month plan, and actually then look at you know, put that on a little timeline draw out January to December, and all the months in between and just that to give yourself a sense of or when could I do some of these sorts of things? What do I know about perhaps trips that I've got planned or things that might happen at certain points of the year? When might I start placing some of these other things I'd like to work towards here on this timeline. And it's not again about committing yourself, I think this is what often people struggle with. When it comes to planning, there's a sense of oh, but then if I commit myself to doing and then what happens if you know this happens, or that happens, and I can't do it. It's not about committing yourself. It is a case of building these elements of hopes or what they call the agency, which is a belief in my ability to do something. So by planning it out, I can start to see and build that sense of my ability to do something and then the pathway which is well how am I actually going to go about doing it and that is the essence of hope that is the piece that gives us a sense that there is a future drawing us towards which is absolutely as you say the opposite of that feeling of hopelessness . That is so associated with low mood, and in some cases, depression, yes. And some mental health struggles. So we're trying to build the opposite of that that hopefulness, not hopelessness, because that is the contributor to well being and feeling really good.

Marie 25:19
That's right. And I think you might you raise a important point that certainly the research shows us as well that it is the journey that counts, right. So even if we never make it to our destination, it's the fact that we've identified a destination to move towards, and that we are on a pathway that matters and so we've set some intentions. I love that concept of the timeline and I think maybe we might actually add that into our quest, because I was going to suggest a hope map but I think that that one's a nice simple way to do it as well. I think it's worth taking a moment to recognize that if people have been struggling, hope is one of those things a bit like sleep we spoke about last week, that can be very, very tricky. So when I work with people who are experiencing mental health issues, or grief, or have very low, you know, self esteem, this is really hard. In fact, you know, spoiler alert, you'll see this in the documentary, you know, you will see someone who is deeply deeply in grief, and how, you know, as I work with her and try and get her to, you know, do a vision board. And to think even just a, you know, a few days in a week ahead, is really, really hard for her. And you see other participants sort of picking that up with much greater ease, depending on kind of where they're at on a mental health continuum. So I think it is worth recognizing that sometimes it takes time to get there and to be able to sometimes just thinking about tomorrow, let alone 12 months or five years, it can be really hard. And so don't give up, if that's you because, you know, what I've found as I coach people is that, you know, there's a process of supporting them and nurturing them to a point where they can then undertake that, and then that access is sort of a springboard. And often our thoughts get in,

Ellen 27:14
And I think to, for me even there’s an important context around that process. For me, I do it while I'm on holiday, in a situation where I have very little, very few demands on my time, in a location where I'm getting a lot of that positive mood that or the, you know, connection, I couldn't do that exercise right now. Now coming up to Christmas, with all those stuff going on. And I think that's probably an important thing for our listeners to remember as well is that no pressure on when you do something like this, it doesn't need to be in fact, the last thing we really want it to be because it probably destroys hope, and creates. Hope is to feel like this is something else you have to do right now. You know, nailing how to thrive.

Marie 28:05
I think the new year is a good time.

Ellen 28:07
Yeah. And I think that's often why the New Year is part of when we resolve to do things differently, perhaps it's that fresh slate sense. Here in Australia, it's often associated with summer holidays, and relaxation and removal of a lot of the obligations and routine that we generally have, which I know for me personally creates a bit of mental space to allow some of these more creative processes to take place. So I think that's probably an important thing for people to think about, as well is find the right space. And if you really are struggling, then it's okay to even just well, it's okay to not do it at all. Of course, there's no occasion in any of this but it's also okay to keep the timeframe really short and if it's about looking at what I'm going to do in the next week, then that's totally okay. That hope doesn't rely on a particular time frame. It's the experience of creating that vision, creating a sense, and then all the other bits and pieces that we've discussed over the last eight weeks, Marie starting to kind of they come to the fore a little bit here, as well. Yeah, so giving us that, you know, the skills that we need to create the sort of vision.

Marie 29:17
I think that's right, in terms of someone that I've been communicating with, you know, even just this morning, who's been very, very depressed and trying to get, you know, back to her family, where she knows that she can be sort of nurtured and you know, there's a need for her to fly and get a passport and to sort of do those things. And so, for her, you know, it's Monday, it's about getting to Friday, and you know, managed to sort of get the passport and so that should now happen. And it's about just living Friday and a flight to her family pull her forward and once she gets there and she can be nurtured and restored, then she can kind of you know, maybe be lifted up and sure enough to think about that year ahead, but right now, the timeline is from Monday to Friday and just letting that be the hope and trying to sort of nurture them in a way we're talking about and making it real and imagining and visualizing it is the thing that has the strengths, just to there just to be no further. And so that is, you know, that is what we talked about with hope. And so, you know, I think that it is different strokes for different folks, you know, as with all of these things that we've talked about, it's not a one size fits all, but what we know is that, you know, we can use this as one of those parts of the recipe of thriving. And so probably like you, you know, you talked about working with people with the timeline, so I have a hope ladder that we use with people and you'll see that as well in the documentary. So you'll see, you know, the concept of, you know, where are you now in terms of if zero is on functioning, and minus 10, is on languishing and plus 10 is I'm thriving. Where are you now? And where do you want to be in the weeks and months ahead, and then beginning to think about those things. So what does it look like feel like? And also, oftentimes, when people are in struggle, they might not do it for themselves, but they will do it for those around them. And so you know, it's about finding the motivation and so while I don't feel very kind of worthy right now, but I want to be a better parent, or a better partner, or I want to be more productive. And so I will, perhaps agree to doing this this thing, because it will help me be a better person for others, until I can sort of find the motivation of myself. So all of the things that we've been speaking about through these various speaking beams require you to hold yourself accountable and in order to do that, you need to know your why. And so one of the things that I really love, again, Shane Lopez talks about this as that hope is something that affects how we behave today. So how we see the future, affects how we behave today. So if I don't see myself in the future as healthy and fit connected to others around me, working part time traveling, having a certain qualification, whatever, like, why am I going to bother with doing things today? That lead me to that. And so for me, asking people to do these practices of you know, eating well sleeping, well, exercising, getting qualified, whatever, you have to connect it to the future that you most want. Otherwise, we're saying, well, for the sake of what, for the sake of what am I getting early to exercise for the sake of what am I studying for my exams? For the sake of what am I progressing in my career, so I can then work anywhere in the world? You know, so we do need to tie these practices to the future we want? Does that make sense?

Ellen 0:03
It does make sense and it's making me think that, you know, as we do a little summary of BEACON, perhaps this is the, the visual that people might like to be creating, if we're saying that, say in 2022, my goal is to thrive, and what we've discussed is all the elements that help people, you know, the actual how to thrive. So if we're going to create a little bit of hope, around that, then part of the what we might call it a hope map, but we've got a ladder, we've got a timeline, we've got a kind of a fuzzy vision, is to actually work your way through those elements. So belonging, as one of them, what will I do over the course of 2022, or the first six months or the first three months or the first month or the first week? Whatever the timeframe might be, to create more belonging? What is that? You know, for the sake of what? And is it family? Is it friendships? Is it social? Sometimes it might be an element of something that you feel has been lacking that you want to reinstate. Maybe it's something that you on the basis of the conversations we've had to see the real benefits of doing that a little bit more. So belonging could be one of the little visuals on your drawing picture timeline later, whenever you'd like to create, then we had engagement is the second one. So what could we draw up for engagement? Do you think?

Marie 1:56
So, I think you know, what you're what you're sort of starting to sort of hint at, I think, is that perhaps one thing that's helpful is taking a bit of a kind of baseline nature of where where we're at across each of those BEACON beams. So sometimes it can feel very overwhelming if we ask ourselves, who am I and you know, what do I want to be in a very grandiose way, and sometimes it's helpful to kind of narrow it down and say, Well, I've crossed these elements, which one do I want to focus on. And so if we wanted to do that, we could take a little measure against the BEACON beams. and we are actually working at the moment on a measurement tool with Dr. Peggy Kuhn from the University of Melbourne, so people will be able to use that electronically but in the meantime, we've you know, developed a little, a little rough and ready a little rough and ready. So those people who are looking at it, but really, it's just about saying like you started to do Ellen, like on these BEACON beams, you know, on a scale of one to ten, you know, for belonging, how much do I prioritize connecting closely with engagement on a scale of one to 10? How meaningfully engaged in life am I? How much am I using my strengths in the pursuit of things that are meaningful? Accountability? To what extent am I holding myself accountable? And also accepting things that I can't control. Compassion? Scale of 1 to 10. You know, how much am I being compassionate to myself and others? Optimism scale of one to 10? How much am I using those positive emotions to be resilient? And how hopeful am I for the future? And nurture? We talked about last time scale of one to 10? You know, what am I doing in terms of eating, moving, sleeping, and being mindful in ways that maintain my energy. So if we go through that, we ask our listeners to sort of take a bit of a beacon baseline, if you like, as we work through those, and we can include something that's in the cheat sheet as well like, which one of those are you doing really well, which other ones of those, perhaps you want to need to dial up and that might be the lever that you decide to pull in 2022. And that you focus your hopes around and say, you know what, I am just hoping to have a greater sense of connectedness. And so I'm really going to focus in on that, or I know that I have let go of the things that are joyful to me. And you know, I've been overdoing engagement and accomplishment and I've lost my way in terms of hobbies, and heartfelt things that you know, bring joy to my life, or I've not been as compassionate to myself or others, or I'm going to focus on one of the elements of physical health and nurture. So maybe choosing one thing, Ellen is a good place to start, rather than trying to do a sort of really holistic, hopeful vision.

Ellen 4:36
Yeah, well, I think I think the hopeful vision is still probably important, but yeah, so whether we choose one thing or not, but it's that pathways piece around the how to that I think, you know, if we reflect back on what we've discussed over the last eight episodes or seven episodes, and today is if we say that I'm going to pick one or two or three depending on where your baseline is at and depending on which ones you really Want to prioritize? What are the things that you're going to commit to doing so a bit of accountability around that to maybe for engagement, for example, it is, I'm going to complete the via strengths survey, because I've not done that before and learn a little bit more about my strengths. Or if it's compassion, I'm going to ensure that I am having that conversation, I'm aware of that conversation that I'm having with myself and starting to notice when am I being less compassionate with myself that perhaps I could be? Or if it's nurture, you know, what am I going to do to improve my sleep or you know, any of those things. So it's starting to create the baseline to give us an indication as to which are the bits that I'd really like to focus on to make a difference for me for the coming year? And then what am I going to attempt to do holding it lightly again, you know, having Self Compassion, that it's okay. But what is my vision for because that builds that sense of, I do have a sense of control that's right, in this that agency element that's so helpful, and important within hope, and that I do have not only a belief in my ability to do it, but I have a pathway, I have a little kind of vision of the things that I'm going to actually enact to make this happen, because that's where the hope is built.

Marie 6:20
That's right. So, you know, again, it is just about figuring out, where are you at? Do you want to do that wholesale, you know, vision, and some people do a vision board or you've got your timeline? Where do I want to do that? That, you know, it doesn't really matter how you can get really creative with this. The important thing is that you do take some time to visualize your future. That's number one. So now I guess we're setting our quick stuff we were at that stage. Let us not forget our process. Yes. Yeah, I think we are and I think I was what I was about to say, before we even get into the quest is that, you know, we've discussed a lot of different ideas and tools and techniques you might like, we'll pop all of those sorts of things into, you know, links to all of those in the show notes for today's episode, so that people can check them out and have a little play around and try and find perhaps the tool or technique that works best for you as an individual, because there is so much individual variation in that. But in terms of quest,

Marie 7:17
I just thought I would as well say that we are launching in 2022, a new elearning series on BEACON. So that could be something that people might want to do as well, you know, we've given tiny tweaks and tips in this podcast series, but there was a whole lot more in the beacon elearning. So if anyone is interested in that for the new year as a way to kind of, you know, remind themselves, there is chapters on each of the beacon beams that fully expand what we are going through here. So if there is helpful when you can get that through or but the quest is in relation to hope what we're asking people to do is to take that pause to visualize their best possible future self. And so you and I both admitted that, like I, I sort of do a mind mappy thing, I draw things and I scribble and I write and it's a mess, and it doesn't matter. I often use very big paper. So I've got lots of room for my scribbly mess, and it's you know, it really is the trick there is saying if everything went as well as it possibly could, what would I like my life to look like 12 months from now, whatever timeframe you choose. So that's step number one and step number two is then to go well, if that's what I want my life to look like, what goal am I going to set and goal or goals? Am I going to set in relation to that? And then you know, kind of what timeframe? So to your point, maybe at that point, a little timeline could be a good idea. And then as you were saying as well, the willpower on the way power, so we know that it's probably good to check in on any obstacles that you might encounter. And as we often say, these are kind of the back doors we might sneak out off, you know, oh, well, life got too busy. Or, you know, I didn't have the, I don't know, I didn't have the gym membership, or I didn't have anyone to do it with or I didn't have the skills or whatever. So what might be those obstacles that I might sort of sneak out the door of so it goes visualize, set a goal? What are the pathways to the goals? What are the potential obstacles, and then you're away doing it, you know, you're actually looking those things into your day or your week? And then your your task really is just to be checking in on yourself. So you know, once a week or whatever, is to say, am I on track? Or if I've gone off track, is that intentional? You know, I've decided to take a different route on my map to get there. And that's okay, so long as it's intentional, and so long as it still is, you know, getting you to where you want to go. And then finally to celebrate. As we've said, it's actually not about the destination. It's about the journey and it's without taking those moments to go, oh, you know, I set a destination I’m heading there. And to celebrate the micro wins along the way.

I think it's a perfect way to wind up our series on How to Thrive that all important celebration of all the things that you've done and I think reflecting back on all the things that you've achieved this year, despite the fact that you might not realize you've achieved them, so that even in itself can be really useful exercise. What are the things that I did? What did I do this year, to help me to thrive, because there's bound to be something that you may or may not be aware of so, so many wonderful things, so many great concepts, so many useful tools that we've discussed Marie, we will link to all of those in the show notes. And there's even something in my head forming around some kind of little maybe How to Thrive ebook so maybe there's something like that that might appear. Say, nothing like setting yourself a big goal,

Marie 10:59
then start putting it out.

Ellen 11:00 the end of the year. Keeping yourself accountable. Thank you, Marie. For all the conversations that we've had over the last eight weeks, I've thoroughly enjoyed them all, it's been a fantastic refresher even for me for all the things that perhaps I've known and learned and sometimes implement but the process of setting out quests has been really useful in reminding me of the importance of the doing, of thriving, that it is not, as you've said before a spectator sport, it is something that we all need to put into practice. And as you and I have discussed on several occasions, something that we don't always nail every time even those of us who know quite a bit about this stuff. So having an absolutely sense of self compassion around it as well but small steps.

Marie 11:52
Small steps we'll have to set a celebration for ourselves now Ellen, are practically on page five be, we might need to get together and have our little celebration lunch. We were at the end of our series of eight and do our celebration and are hoping for next year and think about what we might be able to cook up for our listeners and so I love your thinking about an ebook. And I've absolutely loved every minute of this as well. It's been a beautiful experience. So thank you so much for collaborating with me and having a play and for your authenticity and your wisdom and willing to just wing it sometimes and see where we go. And I hope that that's been a beautiful experience for our listeners, as well as we've just been prepared to sort of jump in and, you know, just share the way it is really.

Ellen 12:39
I'm sure it has I'm confident that it has. So thank you.

Marie 12:42
You're absolutely welcome. All right, we'll see you for that celebration really soon.

Ellen 12:45
Okay. I can't believe that we've now come to the end of our special How to Thrive series co hosted with Marie McLeod. I hope you've enjoyed these episodes as much as we have enjoyed bringing them to you and that you have gathered some tips along the way that you can or are putting into practice to boost your well being. And hope too, that we've been able to demonstrate just how simple it really is to keep yourself emotionally and mentally well. There's a lot of discussion about mental health in our community and in our workplaces now, which is great but so much of it is still centered on mental ill health, and what to do when you've really reached your lowest point and that is really important information and they are really important discussions, don't get me wrong but we want you to have the tools and knowledge and skills and resources that you need to reduce the risk of getting to that lowest point we really want you to thrive. And mental health is so much more than managing mental ill health. If we all start to think of and treat mental health in the same way that we think about and address physical health, as a full spectrum, from getting the support and help we need when we're unwell through to feeling really fit and healthy and strong, which is what in mental health terms we call thriving. And if we can do that, if we can start working towards getting more of us thriving more often, then we reduce the risk of mental ill health as a community and we all get the opportunity to live happier and healthier lives. So I don't know that there is any better way to demonstrate the power of these well being tools that we've been talking about in this series, these things that we can do to thrive. All the topics that Marie and I have discussed over the past eight weeks then through the how to thrive documentary that Marie is involved in and that she spoke about today. I really encourage you to watch the trailer which we've linked to in the show notes and to watch the full documentary when it's released. And don't worry, we will absolutely let you know when that happens. Now, I know we mentioned a lot of tools and resources in this episode that will support you to create hope and get your new exciting healthier thriving 2022 underway. And there are links to all All of those tools in the show notes to this episode, head over to to find them or you will find links in the Episode Notes in your podcast app as well and if you have any questions or feedback or you want to get in touch to chat about, well, anything really, you can use our dedicated podcast email address at [email protected]. And you can also and we really do encourage you to rate and review the podcast via Apple podcasts if that's how you listen in and I believe you may even be able to do the same via Spotify now if that's how you choose to listen to the show. Don't quote me on that. I'm not absolutely sure but I have a sneaking suspicion that's now an option. And if you haven't checked it out already, my online masterclass, creating hard stops on Meeting Creep and Zoom Gloom. So the first of my series of Little Lessons for Leaders Masterclasses is taking enrollments, you can find a link to that in the show notes or head straight to This class this masterclass, this little series of online lessons is the resource you need if you are leading a team into the new world of hybrid work in 2022. So that new combination of work from home and work from the office in the many permanent permutations and combinations in which that arises and it does actually present a really exciting mental health opportunity. There are great opportunities with this disruption to help people to thrive as well as improve productivity and creativity but we do need to be a little intentional about it. So there are all the resources that I'm included in that masterclass. Check it out to learn more about all of that. And we are now taking a break over the Australian summer this spring series 11 of the show to a conclusion and we're going to spend a little bit of time resting and rejuvenating, and then getting planning for new and exciting things in 2022. But before I say goodbye, I want to thank my amazing podcast team for another great year and all of their hard work and commitment to the show. I couldn't do it without you. Thank you to Sharry and to Jaie for all of the work that you do behind the scenes to get our show on the air and on the website and on YouTube and promoted through our social media channels and thank you also to Andy Maher, our audio editor extraordinaire and a constant source of support to me in this podcast venture and to you our wonderful listeners.

Thank you for being with us for another year. We do do this for you and we sincerely hope that it helps you to thrive and to fulfill your potential.