Some of the most powerful moments I have had in my mental health career have come in the form of circles. Circles where students with severe anxiety would find themselves dancing fearless in the middle of a circle of peers. This would often surprise them and everyone else around them. When I asked them what inspired them to go into the middle of the circle, the answer year after year was always the same, “I felt safe. I didn’t feel judged.”

I have become curious as to how we can create the positive impacts of these circles in our every day lives at home and work. The truth is, most people aren’t sure how to support those struggling with feelings of anxiety and an overall dullness to life.

The sad truth is that the average person is not engaged in life.


We are disconnected from our purpose. We don’t feel we have permission to make mistakes. We are afraid of judgment. We don’t seem to know any other way navigate the mental health and struggles others face than: “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?”

We think like this because we’ve been conditioned to think this way. From the way we are educated in school, to the way our parents were parented and have raised us, to the workplace – we have all been raised in a culture that has asked us that very question every time we have found ourselves in a struggle or making a mistake.

“What’s wrong with you” has defined every single one of us. It’s time for a redefining, wouldn’t you agree?

“Modern psychology  has been co-ped by the disease model. We have become pre occupied with repairing damage when our focus should be on building resilience.”  Dr Martin Seligman

Psychology and psychiatry have become largely about fixing what’s broken. The focus is repairing damage within a disease model: how do we fix what’s wrong with people?

In human behaviour studies it is stated that we scan the room 3-4 times per second to see if we are safe. Every space we enter, we come in already guarded. We can’t even connect with those extending to us a bridge. A whole society living like this only leads to more breakdown of purpose and a lack of meaningful connection.

Dr Wayne Hammond, the creator of the FLQ Assessment, breaks this down into four mindsets:

  1. A Surviving Mindset: a fixed mindset caught in survival.
  2. A Protecting Mindset: a cautious mindset caught in self protection.
  3. A Striving Mindset: a mind that is striving with little reprieve to reach a state of thriving in life. Research shows more than 60% of adults live with this mindset, and 80-90% of kids in school are in this mindset.
  4. A Thriving Mindset: a mind that sees opportunity for growth in challenges.

The truth is, we aren’t living or teaching the soft skills needed to thrive in life. Our entire way of living keeps us STUCK. We need to raise the status quo to become more creative, innovative, in order to feel free and alive.

If anxiety and depression subside when people find purpose, meaning, and safe community then wouldn’t it be helpful for all of us to learn an evidenced based model to coach people feeling anxiety, depression, numbness to life, addiction, and overall feelings of “meh” to be able to move them past a state of resilience to be able to thrive and flourish again?

This is exactly the Flourishing Coaching model, and it has changed my coaching life. I now have six steps I can take any client through to move them to the CHANGE they desire. It encompasses the circle work I did with students and brings it into coaching. I love it because it’s based in psychology and scientifically proven to impact people for growth! Even with my background in mental health, I never had a model I could walk my clients through. I now have that, and I am seeing breakthroughs in people I never thought possible.

I believe it will surprise us what people are capable of when they get connected back to their purpose and a circle of support to help them get there.

About the Author

Connie Jakab has been working in resilience and flourishing for over 20 years.  Starting with youth at risk and gangs in East Vancouver, Connie has been researching how community creates resilience and mental wellness her entire career through a sociological lens.

She has owned and started three companies, along with a non-profit from scratch, growing her businesses to empower others to grow and expand their personal potential.  Her passion to see others reach their potential has allowed her to oversee regional and national high-performance teams.  She has been working to ignite Brave Communities and Collaborations in teams for over 20 years. 

She is the author of three books, the third one selling out within the first six months.  Connie has spoken on stages all over North America, impacting audiences with her passion and compassion.  Her engaging storytelling won Connie the opportunity to meet and share the stage with Tony Robbins.  Connie was recently given the award “Woman of Inspiration Top 150 in Canada” for her passion to see others flourish.

Connie is the Director of Community for the Certified Flourishing Coaching™ Program, and is excited to facilitate our training in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.

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