No one makes it through life unscathed. Whether a divorce, injury, job loss, death of a loved one, or something else, we will encounter storms. You can’t stop storms from arriving. However, what you can control is how you deal with those adversities. You have three choices when the storm hits. The first is to give up and become a victim. The second is to do what you can to survive. But the third, the one that I set out to do and know we are all capable of, is to learn how to thrive in the storm. So, what will it be for you – victim, surviving or thriving?
The Victim Mentality
Let’s explore the victim mentality first. Most people don’t get out of bed one morning and decide they want to be a lifelong “victim.” Instead, this mentality often begins as a defense mechanism and develops over time.
People with a victim mentality often say, “It’s not my fault.” They blame other people, circumstances, or events for their behavior. Victims often complain, think the world is against them, feel powerless, and struggle to cope with life. They also may have a range of emotions like depression, anger, fear, and dread.
Simply put: Living with a victim mentality is not conducive to a successful life.
Next up… Surviving or thriving?
In Survival Mode
While it might sound less grim than being a victim, living in survival mode has drawbacks.
When you’re surviving, you’re sleepwalking through life. You might be getting things done, but those accomplishments are often the result of going through the motions. People in the survival mode camp feel insecure and don’t work to improve their circumstances.
Maybe “survival” looks like this to you:
- Living paycheck to paycheck
- Going to work but hating your job
- Always running from point A to point B without enjoying life
- Feeling like you can’t catch your breath
In some way, shape, or form, living in survival mode means you are merely existing. You are not living up to your purpose and may feel like “There’s got to be more to life than this.”
Thriving Through Life
Thriving, on the other hand… When you’re thriving in life, you have a zest and enthusiasm that comes from within. You’ve decided that nothing will stand in your way of achieving your goals. You get knocked down; you get back up. You encounter resistance; you push through it. You recognize that setbacks are part of the process and look for silver linings throughout adversity.
Watching for silver linings is a cornerstone of thriving through life. When I injured my quad in 2021, I had three options: Become a victim, lie on the couch in survival mode, or get up and thrive. Because I chose the thriving mindset, I completed a marathon on crutches only 60 days after tearing my quad and having surgery. What others might have considered a “game over” injury, I thought of as a setback I could manage.
Now back to the silver lining: Because I completed that marathon on crutches, we raised about six times more money for the Make-A-Wish foundation than we had with previous marathons.
While the journey may not be easy, living with a thriving mindset will always be worth it!
How to Cultivate a Thriving Mindset
Reprogramming your brain to achieve a thriving mindset may feel overwhelming at first. But I’m here to tell you, you can do it! To shift from surviving to thriving, you’ll walk through a process of rewiring the inner workings of your mind, thoughts, and behaviors. Not sure how? Check out my top 8 tips:
- Practice gratitude. No matter what is going on, there is always something for which to be thankful, whether it’s family, friends, your home, pets, or fresh air to breathe.
- Consider your mantras. Write down or use your phone to record a couple of mantras or motivational statements. Here is an excellent example: I am powerful and resourceful.
- Get healthy. Consume nourishing whole foods and move your body daily. Did you know that research shows that exercise helps enhance your mood and emotional well-being?
- Take time each morning to prepare for your day. Even 10 minutes of meditating and enjoying your inner stillness can be life-changing.
- Be purposeful with your time. Don’t drown yourself with 24-hour breaking news or too much social media.
- Write in a journal for just a few minutes daily. Processing and putting your innermost thoughts on paper will help shift your mindset.
- Call in reinforcements if needed. Talk therapy is excellent for cultivating a thriving mindset!
- Lastly, always look for new ways to grow your thriving mentality. Check these out!
If the process still feels overwhelming, consider participating in a surviving to thriving 30-day challenge. Complete a few of the above tips for one month and see what changes you notice. It’s just 30 days – what have you got to lose?
For my whole life, I was made to feel less than and told that I was never enough, so I spent much of my childhood in survival mode and playing the victim. Nothing changed for me until I learned how to break out, take action, and make better choices when facing adversity.
Today I am living proof that it’s not only possible to survive the various storms, but to thrive by turning those feelings of shame, anger, resentment, rejection, and fear into happiness, joy, and overall enthusiasm for life.
Are you surviving or thriving? I invite you to snag a copy of Thriving in the Storm: Nine Principles to Help You Overcome Any Adversity, which contains a lifetime of stories and lessons that helped me change the way that I face storms today.