Sometimes You Just Have to Survive


I have the privilege to participate in a couple of women entrepreneur groups. I love hanging out with these super smart and driven women. Every Monday you can pretty much count on someone sending out a note encouraging all of us to share our goals for the week. I love this! It ensures that I start Monday morning thinking big picture and how my tasks for the week support the direction I’m moving.

As I sit at my desk this Monday morning, I came to the realization that this week does not leave me enough room for big picture thinking and my main goal is just to survive. In the past this would have panicked me. I would be panicked because if I’m not thinking big picture I can’t accomplish big things. Panicked because if I’m in survival mode, I can’t be in growth mode.

But over the years, I’ve learned that it’s okay to  have a period of time where the #1 goal is survival.

Survival isn’t necessarily strategic but it is necessary from time to time. It can be very beneficial as long as you don’t get stuck there. Here are three ways to ensure you don’t get stuck.

1.       Evaluate

When you feel like you are in survival mode stop (briefly) and do a quick evaluation of why. For me this week, I have a lot of balls in the air and will have to rely on others to make sure none of them drop. Any time I have to coordinate a lot of moving pieces I usually feel myself slip into survival mode. Even though I have a lot to coordinate this week I’m not feeling overwhelmed because when I look at what is scheduled, every single thing moves me closer to my big picture goals. In other words, my activities are supporting my big picture even though I don’t have time to think big picture this week.

What do you see when you do your quick evaluation? Do you see a week full of activities that support your goals or do you see a week full of busy work and commitments that don’t further your mission?

If the week is full of activities that aren’t serving you, then ask yourself if any of them can be eliminated. Editing your calendar is the fastest way to get out of survival mode. If the week is full of activities that are serving you and are moving you closer to achieving your goals, then just put your head down and move through them.

2.       Breathe

If after your evaluation you discover that you just have to get through it, then get through it. If all of the activities are supporting your goals, then there shouldn’t be the feeling of overwhelm. And when all of our activities are supporting your goals, then there shouldn’t be any whining and complaining but instead a huge sense of gratitude that these opportunities have been sent your way.

Once you survive this stretch take time to celebrate! You did it! You survived! Not only did you survive, but you also moved closer to achieving your goals.

Finally take a well-deserved rest. Once I get through this week, I have a 3-day holiday weekend to sit back and enjoy. And I won’t lie, I’m really looking forward to it!

3.       Reset

The final step to ensuring you don’t get stuck in survival mode is to reset. Schedule some time the following Monday or sometime during the following week to think and plan strategically. Then begin implementing that plan. If you do it right, you’ll need to go back into survival mode before too long.

I used to feel that survival mode was a bad thing. I felt like I was doing something wrong. But when I realized that if my activities are aligned with my goals survival mode can be a good thing. It means that I’m getting it done! So, I quit beating myself up over it. In all honesty, if you are doing it correctly, you should need your survival mode every once in a while because it means that you’ve done your planning and prep work to the point where you need a week or so to push through the implementation. And if you survive that, you are one step closer to realizing your dreams.


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