The Past, Present, and Future: Applying the Dickens Principle to Senior Living

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

The lessons from our past: how easy it is to shun, to hide, to not notice patterns, to not notice why we are the way we are and why the same types of people come into our lives, over and over again.

Christmas is a great time of year to reflect. I take the whole week, every year, and spend several hours each day simply reflecting: what the year brought, what I could have done better, what successes I had, and what failures I had – what I learned from. I also reflect on how Craft & Communicate performed, how our clients performed.

The Dickens Principle Explained in Life

One additional thought system I turn to each Christmas is the Dickens Principle. It goes like this:

  • What have my limiting beliefs done to me in my PAST?
  • How are my limiting beliefs holding me back in my PRESENT?
  • How will my limiting beliefs prevent me from living my ideal FUTURE?

What I do is sit down and reflect on these three questions. I notice the areas where I’ve fallen…and I begin to notice how these areas are all related to one thing, to one part of me that I have chosen, until now, to hide.

I notice the people who have upset me. I notice why they upset me and what it was that triggered me.

I pay close attention to the things that I am triggered by. What do they stem from? Childhood fears? Adult fears? Where do the patterns occur? And, most importantly – what past story am I bringing to this?

Can I look at these patterns with an open mind, with a beginner’s mind? Can I forget whatever stories I have told myself for a moment and see everything clearly? After all, as Anais Nin said: “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”

Once you know that, you can thrive. You can take your limiting beliefs and see how they have affected you, how they are affecting you, and you can prevent them from affecting your future.

Applying the Dickens Principle to Senior Living

How does this apply to senior living? First, the more we know about ourselves and our weaknesses and strengths, the better job we do in our work, our personal lives, our health, our relationships, and our finances. One thing leads to another: improvement in one part of life always affects the rest.

We can take this now and look at our businesses, at our communities: what limiting beliefs do we have about senior living? About seniors? About our potential leads?

Here are a few.

The Limiting Beliefs of Senior Living

  • The cruise ship mentality

We’ve thought for years in senior living that our residents want to retire and have everything done for them. That’s not the case! No one wants to be on a cruise for more than a week or two. This lifestyle applies if you’re in your working or retirement years. The cruise ship mentality has sailed.

  • Our leads

Leads want to hear about the community, about our amenities, and all the activities we offer, right? Do they really? Or do they want to talk to you? Do they want to share their fears, their weaknesses, the things that keep them up at night? They don’t want to be sold. They want to be communicated with.

  • The photos we use in advertising

Have you ever walked into a community and seen a senior… Riding a bike? Jumping up and down? I have actually, but it’s only happened once – in 13 years of being in and out of communities. What type of photos do we use in our ads? Are they real or do they represent a fake life that not many people can see themselves in?

  • Our residents just want to play bingo

Have you taken residents on a bus ride to see the bluebonnets in Texas in April instead? Have you had the local college professor come and speak to them about health and wellness? Have you asked a local yoga teacher to come over and teach them breathing techniques for stress management? Have you asked them to lead which activities they do, such as volunteer programs, speaking engagements, mentoring high school students…? Do they really just want to play bingo?

Take a look at your limiting beliefs. How have these beliefs affected your past? What are they doing to your present? It’s time to change them for you or your residents’ future.

Merry Christmas.

With love,

Jen Malloy, Owner, Craft & Communicate, Senior Living Marketing


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