How to Start Thriving and Stop Surviving

Merriam-Webster defines thriving as “to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances”. It defines surviving as “to continue to function or prosper despite” (fill in the blank here, i.e. despite feeling overwhelmed, despite feeling exhausted, etc.)

The difference between thriving and surviving

The difference between thriving or surviving is the energy behind each – to thrive is to have momentum, movement and excitement around what you’re doing. If you love your job and find it challenges you in ways that create good feelings, then you’re thriving in it.

On the other hand, surviving doesn’t mean that one isn’t successful, but it has more of a negative energy – you are getting through your tasks but are experiencing feelings of burnout, fatigue and lethargy.

Energy v. lethargy

If you’re thriving, you’re approaching your personal and professional tasks with a feeling of “YES!” – you’re at your best, you’re invested, engaged and interested in what you’re doing. You’re working on a set of goals that give your life purpose and meaning. Or maybe you’re involved in work that helps others and gives you the juice of life. Or perhaps you’ve created a work/life balance that gives space for opportunity, learning, curiosity, creativity and fearlessness. When you’re thriving, you’re awesome!

Surviving, on the other hand, has you doing all the things you need to do – and probably more – but the joy, the excitement, the charge you used to get from doing those things just isn’t there the way it used to be. You’re getting it done, no question; but your thriving has turned into drowning in too many responsibilities, too many people to answer to, and you are often left wondering, “Why am I doing this?”

Why “Why”?

One of the benefits of leadership coaching is to help you locate your “why” that is meaningful to you today, from where you sit now, not from when you started down your path 20 or 30 years ago. Why is “why” important? How can the “why” become meaningful again?

  • Your “why” should align with who you are and who you want to be
  • Your “why” is your reason for doing what you’re doing
  • Your “why” should be in sync with what you value
  • Your “why” drives you towards what you want

Reset your “why”

Every five to ten years take time to examine what you’re doing and ask yourself these

  1. What do I want?
    Define what it is you’re seeking.
  2. Why do I want it?
    What’s important about what you want? What will it change? Who will you be if you get it? How will it impact others?
  3. When do I want it by?
    Set a time frame – a month, a year, five years! By putting timing around what you want, it becomes a goal to be attained.

How do I find my “why”?

Need help finding your “why”? Coaches are trained to help people integrate their life desires and goals with the realities that exist in one’s life. Coaching isn’t done in a vacuum – while you might want to quit your job, that may not be realistic. But by bringing joy to other areas of your life, the impact is widespread.

Kim Neeson

I’m Kim Neeson. I’m a wife, mother, entrepreneur, recovering perfectionist, and fierce advocate for my clients. I help high achieving women find freedom from the demands of their job and write their next chapter in life. You'll discover how to say goodbye to guilt and hello to happy. You CAN go home without feeling guilty. Maybe you can’t have it all, but boy, you can have a LOT of it!

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