“Surviving is thriving.” I keep hearing that quote and each time I hear it, I wince. Maybe not visibly, but inside, my heart pangs with sadness. Outwardly I probably laugh or agree or just give a knowing head nod. Sometimes, we all need an anthem to shout to ourselves to get through the hard phases. But I strongly believe that anthem should be short-lived. If it isn’t, something has got to give before you are burnt out and bitter.
I think we can all agree that the last year or so has thrown every business (heck, every person) more than a few sucker punches. COVID-19 and the resulting quarantines and shut-downs forced most people and businesses to go into survival mode. Some of those businesses really did thrive when that happened. Others are chanting that mantra, “surviving is thriving” until they are blue in the face but almost 12 months in, the mantra is no longer motivating. It just drags you down.
If you are tired of telling yourself “surviving is thriving”, here are a few things that you can consider that may help you move out of survival mode and take a step or two toward actually thriving.
- Take a break. If it is for an afternoon, a weekend, a week, or even longer, try your best to step away. Try to do so during a time when you are normally working. If you are a weekend and evening warrior, try to schedule a weekend free of work. If you hustle hard during the week, take a day (or morning or afternoon) and do something that has nothing to do with your business. Taking a break during a time when you normally work can feel indulgent, restful, and exciting. Added bonus if you don’t spend your time off catching up on everything else that has fallen behind in life and actually spend it treating yourself.
- Make a plan. This isn’t just about setting New Years resolutions, making (or revising) that to do list for the millionth time, or daydreaming about how life *might* be in the future. It is about having a good think about both shorter and longer term goals. For some of you, this is easy. It is natural and you are probably constantly doing this. For those of you that don’t do this very well, take this as a reminder. Start with just one aspect of life and formulate a plan that is realistic for YOU. If you have a mountain of laundry and an empty fridge, throw a load in the washer, place an grocery pickup order, and decide on just two or three things to try and incorporate into your routine so this doesn’t happen so frequently. If you have the mental capacity, make a quarterly plan for your business. Decide on one or two things to focus on in the next three months and made a plan to actually accomplish them. Hold yourself accountable. I’ll plug our Traction VIP intensives here. Let us help you make a plan for your business!
- Stop doing it. Take a hard look at your business and personal life. Figure out what you are spending your time or energy on that isn’t working for you. Can you just stop doing it? Maybe you run reports and track metrics that nobody looks at. Maybe you change all of your home decorations every season. Perhaps you text or call that person who you were friends with ages ago out of obligation, but the friendship doesn’t bring you joy or the individual is toxic. Think about the actions you do regularly and figure out if they are worth it. If they aren’t, consider evicting them from your schedule or find a way to minimize their time suck.
- Adjust your expectations. Maybe you need to take some projects off of your list that aren’t realistic any more. Do you need to take another look at your longer-term goals? Perhaps you need to find a way to pivot your offerings, either short-term or long term. Make sure your expectations are realistic given everything you (and the world) have going on.
- Teach your team new skills or rotate responsibilities. Sometimes shifting what you work on regularly or learning new skills is like taking a giant breath of fresh air. Is it feasible for someone on your team to take a few things off of your plate? Maybe learning a new skill will help you be more productive. Perhaps your entire team needs to adjust some of their responsibilities to help obtain a better balance between work and their life outside of their job.
- Reframe your mindset. It is really easy to perpetuate a bad attitude. We all get in a funk. If we can work to shift the dialog in our head, though, it can make things less gloomy. Find a way to consistently remind yourself of the positive. Maybe living a quarantine lifestyle has allowed you to get outside more. Perhaps you have spent more time with your spouse or partner or your kids recently and that brings light to your days. Maybe 2020 has just taught you that you are stronger than you realized and you have the resilience to go harder or make it through more than you thought you could. Figure out a way to reframe your thoughts so they are more positive than negative (gratitude journal, anyone?). It may help you step closer to the thriving and further from the surviving.
- Bring in help – Whether you hire us for a one-day intensive, bring us in to execute a nagging project that will propel your business forward, add hours to the schedule for those that already work for you, or create a meal-train with your friends so you don’t have to focus on cooking every night, don’t feel like a failure when you need or receive help. Figure out what you can delegate (either in business or your home life) and find a way to make it happen. You can decide if this help is short-term or long-term, but figure out a way to make some headway on your load.
Sometimes it isn’t as easy as utilizing some of the tricks above. There are times when it will feel like things are spinning and you can’t get a grip due to situations out of our control. In times like that, there is no shame in doing what you need to get through. If we can focus on what we have control over, though, we can make some headway out of the “surviving is thriving” chant.
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