Three generations, decked out in red, white and blue, lawn chairs at the curb in the same spot since the flag only had 48 stars.

The parade’s been the same since the grandparents were newlyweds, the parents were toddlers and the kids scrambling for candy tossed from the floats weren’t yet a twinkle in anyone’s eye.

A Little Slice of Americana

Honor guards, pint-sized Statues of Liberty, veterans – some walking, others so frail they ride instead – and the Mummers string band, a Philadelphia requirement. Fire trucks at the end.

Two women who’ve sat side by side at this parade for over forty years are interviewed on TV.

We come every single year. It’s a little slice of Americana, very much the same as what we remember as children. That’s part of its allure: it’s the same and that’s the beauty of it.

Matter-of-fact, rather than nostalgic, as if she might add,

everything changes, faster than ever. We get that. The parade’s how we show our kids what’s important – staying grounded so change doesn’t feel chaotic and overwhelming.

My sense is that these women are honoring their values and intentionally managing their well-being, two of the key principles of positive psychology, at this parade and that they’re great at navigating change with flexibility and ease.

Character Strengths – Morally Valued Ways of Being

Positive psychologists Martin Seligman and Chris Peterson designed the VIA (Values in Action) Survey of Character Strengths based on research undertaken to determine how to help youth realize their full potential. VIA assesses the 24character strengths – morally valued ways of thinking, feeling and acting – identified through their extensive research, each a way of being common to and consistently valued in all cultures since the beginning of recorded history.

We each have all 24 character strengths, and we each use our unique combination of values differently. By working with a coach to help you apply your VIA strengths – especially your top five Signature Strengths – you can gain a deeper understanding of what you choose to do and how you do it. You can also learn how living in alignment with your values can improve your well-being.

The Theory of Well-Being: More Than Happiness

In his book Flourish, positive psychologist Martin Seligman explains that The Theory of Well-Being is the topic of positive psychology, the discipline he established early this century.

Expanding upon his study of authentic happiness, Seligman believes that to experience well-being requires more than positive emotion.

By knowing and managing our PERMA – the acronym for the five domains of well-being: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement – we can experience a kind of perfect imbalance that allows us to continue to grow and develop throughout our lives, what Seligman calls flourishing.

Working with a coach trained in positive psychology can help you articulate how to fill your five “buckets” – the five domains of PERMA – as well as how to balance them and how to sustain that perfect imbalance through the most unsettling change.

We can all live according to our values and manage our well-being in countless different ways, not just by going to a parade.

I have a hunch, though, that the women in the interview honor their values and balance their PERMA by spending July Fourth in the same spot, at the same parade, year after year, with their extended families.

I want to think that, forty years from now, their kids will live their values and manage their well-being in the same way.

I’m so convinced that knowing and living your values and creating your perfect imbalance by managing your PERMA are so important to help you live and work in your sweet spot and navigate change with agility and savoir faire, I’ve created two new coaching series around character strengths and values and sustainable well-being. 

They’re the Summer Coaching Series of my new program, Work Life – Life’s Work, and registration for them is open now. Sign up here.

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