Lifequakes: Navigating Pivotal Times with Bruce Feiler

How are you handling all the change happening in our world? Homeschooling, job changes, financial challenges, social upheaval? We are living in tumultuous times, but our guest today tells us that we are in a constant cycle of transitions, and we can use major life changes as catalysts for huge growth that will serve us in the future.

Bruce Feiler is the bestselling author of Life is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age. He talks about these lifequake moments and how we can navigate through times of massive change. He tells about how we, as fathers, can apply this fluidity to our family dynamics. He also reveals the cyclical nature of our experience.

Life rarely works out the way we expect it to. Get mentally prepared to reap the most from transitions.

“Life transitions are a lifelong sport that no one knows how to play.”—Bruce Feiler

Bruce Feiler

BRUCE FEILER is the author of seven New York Times bestsellers; the presenter of two primetime series on PBS; and the inspiration for the drama series COUNCIL OF DADS on NBC. Bruce’s two TED Talks have been viewed more than two million times.

Employing a firsthand approach to his work, Bruce is known for living the experiences he writes about. His work combines timeless wisdom with timely knowledge to allow people to live with more meaning, passion, and joy.

For more than a decade, Bruce has explored the intersection of families, relationships, and well-being. THE SECRETS OF HAPPY FAMILIES collects best practices from some of the country’s most creative minds. The book was featured on World News, GMA, and TODAY and excerpted in the Wall Street Journal and Parade. THE COUNCIL OF DADS describes how faced with one of life’s greatest challenges, he asked six friends to support his daughters. The book was profiled in PEOPLE, USA Today, and Time and was the subject of a CNN documentary.

A native of Savannah, Georgia, Bruce lives in Brooklyn with wife, Linda Rottenberg, and their identical twin daughters. For more information, please visit www.brucefeiler.com.

Life is in the Transitions

A pioneering and timely study of how to navigate life’s biggest transitions with meaning, purpose, and skill

Bruce Feiler, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Secrets of Happy Families and Council of Dads, has long explored the stories that give our lives meaning. Galvanized by a personal crisis, he spent the last few years crisscrossing the country, collecting hundreds of life stories in all fifty states from Americans who’d been through major life changes—from losing jobs to losing loved ones; from changing careers to changing relationships; from getting sober to getting healthy to simply looking for a fresh start. He then spent a year coding these stories, identifying patterns and takeaways that can help all of us survive and thrive in times of change.

What Feiler discovered was a world in which transitions are becoming more plentiful and mastering the skills to manage them is more urgent for all of us. The idea that we’ll have one job, one relationship, one source of happiness is hopelessly outdated. We all feel unnerved by this upheaval. We’re concerned that our lives are not what we expected, that we’ve veered off course, living life out of order. But we’re not alone.

Life Is in the Transitions introduces the fresh, illuminating vision of the nonlinear life, in which each of us faces dozens of disruptors. One in ten of those becomes what Feiler calls a lifequake, a massive change that leads to a life transition. The average length of these transitions is five years. The upshot: We all spend half our lives in this unsettled state. You or someone you know is going through one now.

The most exciting thing Feiler identified is a powerful new tool kit for navigating these pivotal times. Drawing on his extraordinary trove of insights, he lays out specific strategies each of us can use to reimagine and rebuild our lives, often stronger than before.

From a master storyteller with an essential message, Life Is in the Transitions can move readers of any age to think deeply about times of change and how to transform them into periods of creativity and growth.

What You’ll Learn

  • Why Bruce likes to switch up traditional gender roles in his household
  • What it means to have dads much more involved in parenting
  • Dads have a role that’s not right or wrong, just different.
  • The home is the safe space to air grievances.
  • Each day, ask your family:
    • What worked well in our family this week?
    • What didn’t work well?
    • What are we going to work on this week?
  • Tell your family that we are going to talk about our feeling no matter how painful it is.
  • Who should take the lead as the parent?
  • Moms and dads are fluid, and so are our roles.
  • A LIFEQUAKE is a huge change, voluntary or involuntary, but the transition is our choice and each individual’s transitions will differ.
  • In the ancient world, life was considered a cycle. Today we look at life as a linear path, but this is not accurate. Life is not linear. It’s not predictable.
  • We go through 3 dozen disruptors in our lifetime. One in ten is a massive life change that takes 5 years to get through.
  • Bruce talks about tools to navigate these periods when we feel scared, alone, frustrated, and helpless.
  • People who know more about family history do better in the world. Kids can better cope when they know to expect ups and downs.
  • The ascending narrative, the descending narrative, and the oscillating narrative.
  • Normalize transitions. They are not unexpected.
  • What can we ask ourselves and our kids to help them in the time of change?
  • Use rituals to be open to what’s to come.
  • Life is the story we tell ourself. Listen to the story in your head.
  • What happens when something goes wrong in our story? We have to rewrite our story on the fly. That’s what it’s all about. Add a new chapter about us going through this period and find what is constructive in it. Keep the story moving forward.
  • We each have a transition power and a transition kryptonite. What are yours?
  • We miss huge periods of growth if we turn away from transition. Don’t close your eyes when the scary parts start.

Don’t close your eyes when the scary parts start.—Bruce Feiler


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