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Blog Post

Just Getting By – A Life Stuck in Survival Mode

Mark Jewell

Just Getting By – A Life Stuck in Survival Mode

Imagine this is your day:

  • Wake up (begrudgingly – maybe after hitting the snooze more than once)
  • Drag yourself through the process of getting showered and dressed
  • Wrangle some kids/dogs/a spouse before running out the door (late), just to get stuck in traffic and rush into the office (still late)
  • Battle with coworkers and politics and technology and budgets to get what you need to get your work done
  • Run out as soon as 5:00 hits, just to get stuck in traffic (again)
  • Walk in the house to a mess, kids crying, spouse asking what’s for dinner
  • Fall into bed that night, knowing that tomorrow you get the joy of doing it all over again tomorrow

Any of that sound familiar?

What is "survival mode"?

All across the country, I run into people that are living their lives like this. They struggle to stay engaged and motivated in their jobs, they aren’t eating well or exercising to stay healthy, they’re losing spiritual connections and they aren’t fostering relationships with family and friends. Why? Because life is hard. People are difficult. Any paycheck is a good one. We’re all busy. Most people look at all the curveballs life throws and they’re just getting by. And, on most days, "just getting by" seems better than the alternative.

Up until the last few years, I was a survivor just as much as the next person. I wasn’t really where I wanted to be in my job, my relationship with my wife was on the rocks, I was nowhere near in the shape that I wanted it to be. But it was fine. As I told myself, I had a job, a wife and I wasn’t having a heart attack by any means. It was fine.

This, my friends, is survival.

A quick Google search of the definition of survival says “the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.” By definition, survival means just doing what it takes to get by, to live, to exist.

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Now, that’s not to say that survival isn’t a handy tool in some situations. You’re in dire financial straights. You or a family member is dealing with a severe illness. You unexpectedly got laid off from your job. In these situations, just making it through the day might be all you can hope for.

But what if there could be more?

Choosing to thrive

After years of simply surviving my life, I realized that “fine” wasn’t good enough anymore. Surviving keeps me where I am, but doesn't help me get where I want to be. I had potential and there was no room for complacency any more.

Have you ever had a moment where you thought to yourself, I can do more than this. I can contribute more to my company, my family, my community. I can be a better wife/husband/sibling/friend/etc. To all of those thoughts, I say: yes.

This is what moving from surviving to thriving is all about. It’s about coming to terms with the fact that doing what is “fine” is not enough if we truly what to thrive in all aspects of our lives – if we want to have better careers, stronger relationships, healthier bodies, closer relationships with God or the universe or whatever. Survival will never get us there. The only way to get there is to choose to thrive, instead of survive.

Throughout this website and on our social media channels, you’ll find more blog posts, podcasts and videos than you can shake a stick at giving examples, tips and tools for going from surviving your life to thriving in it. But those resources mean nothing if you don’t do one simple thing.

You have to decide to stop surviving and start thriving today.

If you want to learn more about going from surviving to thriving, sign up here for our free video series, “The Survivor’s Guide to Thriving”. We’ll talk about what surviving looks like and the keys to thriving.

We want to hear from you!

We’re glad you joined us on this journey. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think about surviving or thriving in life – What area(s) of your life are you surviving in? What kind of triggers send you into survival mode?

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