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How to Thrive in Survival Mode!

Last month at Omni our theme was endurance, but for some of our crew (i.e. me) it felt more like a month of survival mode. When the unpredictable hits and priorities have to shift, when goals are delayed or projects necessarily neglected, how do the productivity focused minds avoid discouragement? Can we THRIVE in survival mode? It sure doesn’t sound easy, or even possible. 

 

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of THRIVE is:

TO GROW VIGOROUSLY

And the definition of SURVIVE is:

TO CONTINUE TO FUNCTION OR PROSPER DESPITE

 

So, despite our circumstances, can we continue to “grow vigorously”? We think the answer is a resounding YES. We just have to notice the growth often found in unexpected ways while stuck in survival mode.

 

There are some key things that occur in survival mode:

1. Priorities take shape swiftly, like triage

2. Resources become even more invaluable

3. Time is respected and coveted

4. Outcomes are meaningful and appreciated

 

When we are simply surviving, the best questions we ask ourselves are:

“Am I using the little time I do have, well?”

“Are my current goals, the right goals?”

“What is this season teaching me? And why?”

 

We’d argue that survival mode teaches us a lot about our priorities, our resources, our time management, and how we evaluate our outcomes. And, all of these elements are crucial parts of how we THRIVE professionally and personally. We “grow vigorously” because we learn about ourselves. We realize that: 

 

Priorities become realistic and trimmed down, which can lead to efficiency.

Resources are identified and employed. Whether it’s our social, professional or financial capital, we take stock and recognize what we’ve built that we can rely upon, and we can identify areas we need to cultivate for similar seasons ahead.

Time Management is evaluated, if not improved necessarily. And, it is this efficient skill that sustains continued growth.

Outcomes, no matter how big or small, are measured and gain significance in the context of survival. We learn to shift our focus to what we “did do”, rather than what we have “yet to do.”

 

“Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and then become more extraordinary because of it.” – Robertson Davies

 

All that is unrealistic falls to the wayside, because there is little time for dreaming in survival mode. And, after we have endured the season, we are better off for the ways we have stretched and grown. This growth is how we realize that we can in fact, thrive. So, when we start dreaming at the 30,000-foot-level again, we dream well, with experience and endurance to back us.

About Athena Brockman

Athena loves bookstores, stripes, foodstagrams, and personality tests. She is a writer, wife, mom of two, and former political staffer with degrees in political science and journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
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