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How To Break Out Of Survival Mode And Into Thriving: 4 Rules

We did our first live show last week on Crowdcast, How to Thrive, Not Just Survive, in Today's World. In the middle of the show we did an improvised exercise that brought up an interesting question, and I'm going to ask it to you right now:

Are there areas of your life where you feel like you are just barely surviving?

I'm not talking about actual physical survival. Our hearts go out to all the people dealing with that right now. We pray for peace. For now, I'm talking about you and I sitting at work, or sitting at home, reading the internet, trying to go through our life, and we feel like we are just barely making it.

Maybe this is happening in your finances, maybe it's in your main relationship, maybe it's as a leader where you feel like an imposter, or at your job, or in your business. Is there a place in your life where you feel like you are just barely surviving?

Almost all of us have one, or many. And I've got more bad news first: if you are in survival mode in some way, you're in a particularly difficult kind of loop.

The loop comes from fear. When you feel like you are just barely surviving, there is a lot of fear, there is a lot of anxiety, a lot of tension, and the body can feel physically ill. This can be exhausting, making it harder to find a way out of your scenario.

But then there is the mind, which is even trickier. All that fear is going to say a lot of scary things in your head, and it's going to try to get you to do things to try to solve and fix or escape this scary situation, and you are probably going to listen. There is a MAJOR problem with this - fear only knows how to help you survive. Fear does not know how to help you thrive or be happy. So all the solutions that fear comes up with are just solutions that keep you at the survival level, moving from one survival situation to another, which then creates more fear. This is why you are stuck. Efffff!

To get out of survival mode in any area of your life, you need to break the fear loop.

Now the good news: this is entirely possible and we see it every day with people we work with. The solutions are actually very simple. But most people don't take them because they are not always easy. Please, friend, be someone who takes them.

Break Out Rule #1: Embrace emotions.

The root of being stuck in survival mode is fear. Fear is an emotion. If you don't know how to work deeply with emotions, start learning now. It will save your surviving-ass time and time again. In fact, I believe "emotional processing" is the most important skill you can learn because it affects every area of your life, decisions, performance, and the ability to be happy. Your entire life experience, everything you like or hate, everything you want to do or don't, everything that makes you depressed or happy, is an emotional experience. Emotional processing will change your life.

Start with this - take a look at that part of your life where you are surviving and ask yourself: what am I truly scared of? What is the scary image in my mind about what is happening to me and where I'm going? What am I truly scared will happen?

You need to see it clearly to start to liberate yourself from it. Most people don't ever look straight at their fears because they are so used to simply trying to avoid them. Sit. Look. Look straight at it. What is it telling you? What is it showing you? What is the fear scared of exactly? Seeing this makes it looser and easier to get out from under it.

Take a journal with you to do this exercise, because when you look the fear, you are probably going to start feeling it more directly. That's normal. That's okay. That's part of the process. Just write down everything you see in your mind and feel in your body. The act of writing it will help you handle it, go through it, and get that very precious distance from it so that it has less of a grip on you.

Break Out Rule #2: Notice you are also thriving.

Second question - where in your life are you already thriving? For all of us there is something. Some part of our life that is going amazingly well, especially considering the circumstances or expectations. Is it your relationship with your partner or kids? Or pets? Is it your crypto? An art project or hobby? Is it how your clients feel after working with you? Is it your exercise routine? It is your team meetings? Is it in your business? Is it how good you are at shopping? Or eating donuts?

Let's pause and notice those places you are actually thriving in your life despite what else is going on. That's refreshing. That's rejuvenating. After doing this exercise on our live show, one of the attendees said he felt taller and more expansive. What do you think that person will do from that state? His perspective will be clearer. His decisions will be better. His actions more powerful. That's the state we're trying to get you in right now. Spend time noticing how you are thriving.

But then don't stop there. Get out the journal again and answer a question: what led to me thriving in this area of my life? Actually examine it. Take a good look at how the thriving happened. That might just be a formula you can use in the areas you are just surviving. Apply it to those areas of your life.

Break Out Rule #3: Leverage your Greatness

I know something about you. You have a greatness inside of you. Maybe you've witnessed it, maybe you haven't. But I know it's there. If you are struggling, if you are just surviving, it's a very good chance you are not using your greatness. This is a special sauce unique to you.

At The Change Tribe we actually have a formula to help you understand and access your greatness. Your Energy type + Energy usage + Skill Stack + 4 levels of integration = Your Zone of Greatness. No one else in the world has the exact combination of your Zone of Greatness. It's your ticket to passion and big results.

What we have seen time and again, is that every one of us has a natural type of energy in which we thrive, and the key is to set up our day so that we are in that energy the vast majority of the time. Then you make sure you channel that energy into your specific skill stack which is the unique skill combination that sets you apart in your industry.

Each day you step into your natural energy and your skill stack at 4 different levels, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Every part of your being becomes aligned. Ideas come flying in. Actions get easier and are more powerful. Results start happening faster. Joy becomes a normal part of your workday. Your success becomes inevitable! Here's a simple way to start.

Go through a self-done Energy Audit:

  • Get a sheet of paper and pen.

  • Pick an area of your life for the energy audit, for example, work, household, family

  • Let's say you picked work. Write down all the work tasks you did this week. Everything from checking email to creating something to meetings.

  • Now, next to each task write whether that task drained you or energized you.

  • Look for the ratio. Count up the drains and energized. What is the ratio of tasks that drain you to tasks that energize you? Looking good? Or looking really draining?

  • Look for patterns. Of all the drains, do you notice anything similar? Of all the energizers, do you notice anything similar?

  • So what are you noticing? What do you want to change?

Awareness is the first step in making any transformation.

A more in-depth version of this entire process of finding your Greatness happens in our mastermind program, Circle of Greatness. We are so excited about this, the next one starts 14 February 2024. Check it out.

Break Out Rule #4: Never Thrive Alone.

You were not designed to thrive alone. Stop trying that. Get help. Collaborate. Humans are a social species, we thrive together.

  • Gather the people you resonate with and ask for help in figuring out how to get out of your survival areas.

  • Help someone else get out of theirs, which will give you new ideas.

  • Ask people directly how they handle those areas of life that you are struggling with. Even if you know the person really well, it's not like people talk about this kind of thing randomly over drinks. Asking directly will give you new information that will help you and strengthen the relationship.

This is why every one of the learning journeys and masterminds at The Change Tribe are done live, as a group, or always have a group call element. No solo-self study for us. If you want to go farther, go together. We are here for you.


The path from suriving to thriving is not always straightforward. It requires introspection, self-awareness, and a willingness to face your fears head-on. Journaling, having conversations with your emotions, owning your greatness, and seeking support from friends or coaches are all powerful tools in breaking survival mode.

Remember that it is a process. Know that each step forward brings you closer to thriving. Above all, learn to work with fear so that it's not driving your bus.


David of The Change Tribe

The Change Tribe Thriving Not Surviving


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