Five ways to take the path of thriving as easily as you brew tea in the morning

“Life is what we make of it. Always has been. Always will be.” – Grandma Moses.

“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” –  Danny Kaye

My picture for myself:  I am thriving and finding so many successes, so many friends and so many adventures and opportunities for travel, generosity, joy and love. Despite a few struggles and slip-ups very occasionally, I live an abundant life and create many good things – stories, articles, seminars, connections, jobs, assistance for those in need.

And I am determined this year to be more intentional in how I live and how I create life day by day. Here’s five ways we each can thrive, no matter what happens to the job market or the profit margins or the economy:

1. Know what you’re the best at; where and how you excel.

Know your niche and use your talents well. Play to your strengths – and make sure everyone sees you shine. A basketball player who scores most of the time and can reach the rim repeatedly doesn’t have to think about defensive play. Likewise, an administrative assistant who keeps office running smoothly and the boss’ key tasks on track will be valued and may even score a raise or bonus.

2.  Feed your mind and your body with goodness.

Choose books and blogs as carefully as you pick out organic vegetables at the farmer’s market.  Recently, I’ve started carving out about 30 to 40 minutes a day (well most days) to read a book. Sometimes I grab some  water or tea and my book and sit in the sunshine. Sometimes I  stay in bed an extra half hour in the morning to read – a luxury that makes me feel like a queen. Books as delicious as vegetarian chili include The Happiness Advantage, The Optimist’s Daughter and The Fifth Agreement.  I’m savoring more poetry and a few novels too, along with winter squash and greens.

3. Develop diverse friendships.

These people serve as the fruit trees to your life. Certainly you want peaches and apples, raspberries, oranges and grapes. So find friends at work and while volunteering. On grow them on BrazenCareerist or LinkedIn, in a  writers group or chance encounter at a coffee shop. Once I met one while walking around my new neighborhood.  Then make sure you give them all the support, encouragement and assistance they need – so when your needs spike they already feel connected enough to assist you.

4. Cultivate curiosity, creativity and adaptability.

Curiosity is the triplet that grew up with creativity and appreciating or at least accepting change, key traits in today’s work world. All three will make you better, more informed and more likely to spot opportunities for yourself and your employer.  Curiosity also will encourage you to ask questions, to look beyond the obvious and to unearth information and insights.

Adaptability serves us well in these unsettled times. “We’re in the midst of this vast transformation. No one can see the outcome,” said M.J. Ryan, author of an excellent book called AdaptAbility. More from her soon on . (LINK) So be open and flexible and as Ryan suggests, look for ways to marshall your resources and focus your energies not on the past but on your future plans. And creativity in life and in solution-getting can make stones sing and problems disappear.

5.  Seek a second or third stream of income.

You may feel you have the most steady, reliable job in the world. But so did auto workers not so long ago or the staff at Aon and Hewitt Associates until their merger knocked 1,800 people out of jobs. So start thinking of yourself as a slash careerist – someone who has two or three jobs that bring satisfaction and income. And begin now to develop your second source of funds – something you can manage in your off hours. Seek ads for your popular blog or offer to work weekends for a real estate agent handling all the foreclosed homes. Help a friend with her start-up. Work as a waitress on Saturday nights. Crochet scarves; sell them on etsy or at a local farmers market.  Pray and plan that Mity Nice will make a profit this year. Someday this second income may be your primary source of living expenses. Or maybe your hobby business will grow into the real deal. Or perhaps your favorite cousin will need work and you’ll be able to train her to crochet the hats that match your scarves.

To be sure, there are other ways to brew thriving like you would a good cup of tea. So start your own list of habits and goals that will stir up a drink of life’s elixir as you stroll Abundance Lane or speed along Thrive Highway.


M.J. Ryan’s books and blog are on my highly recommended lists.

I’m just starting to explore GoodReads, but I think it could be a rich resource.

Money Under 30 has 10 good tips for making moonlighting work.