Episode 15: Striving, Surviving and Thriving

In today’s episode I want to talk to you about three states of business and the difference between them: striving, surviving and thriving. It’s all about recognizing the signs, and one of the important things is understanding where you’re at and if something isn’t working, what you could change. 

Here are the highlights from this episode:

{01:58} The difference between striving, thriving and surviving

{06:15} The importance of planning and define what’s not working

{10:20} Being mindful on when you are in your business and how do you feel about that 

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Welcome to episode 15 of Dawn of a New Era: Chronicles of a Serial Entrepreneur, the podcast created by a business owner for business owners, where I share my experiences as an entrepreneur over the past 20 years, working in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing. Now, I’ve mastered online marketing and social media, but it doesn’t mean to say that I’m not still learning each and every day. This fast-paced technology world that we live in means that every single time that I am looking at new tools, trends and insights, I’m developing my knowledge and I am still creating and forging my path as an entrepreneur, even in the world of digital marketing and online marketing. What I’m finding is that my business is evolving and my business acumen and my sense, and this is probably true because you as a person evolve and your dreams and wants and desires change over time.

So, in this episode, I really want to talk about the difference between really striving, surviving and thriving. You often hear in the media and on social media people talking about this whole thriving aspect and really focusing in on changing the way that you work, but quite honestly, I do believe that every single entrepreneur and business owner, if they are truthful to themselves and they’re honest and authentic online, they will tell you that if you are creating new products and services, if you are launching new things, if you’re trying new challenges and you’re evolving, diversifying and changing your business, you will be going through a constant state of these three aspects. And honestly, anyone who tells you the opposite, it’s not true because not every single product will work, not every single service you decide to do will work.

So when we look at when you strive in business, I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing, because I feel as a business owner, I have strived and forged ahead, and this has made me a really strong character and also really resilient. It means that if I face negativity or I am not successful, I fail in something, I’ll get back up again. And you will fail, and the more failure you have, and as strange as this sounds, the better you become as a business owner, but also the more solid you become as a person, because you become really sure of what you don’t want, because sometimes trying to decide what you do want is quite difficult in itself, which is sitting down with a blank piece of paper.

My hopes, dreams, wants, will evolve as much as my business does because my life, my circumstances change, nothing stays static. I think we’re all striving for something. We’re all striving for a new challenge. We’re all striving to make something that we have created a success, and striving really does make the success sweeter at the end, because it really does mean, if you look up online and you look at what this actually means, it’s all to do with the fact that you want to, as a business owner, focus in on how your business is working. Now, if you think about your day to day, and we look at what striving is, it’s all about trying to achieve a result to make strenuous effort, to try earnestly and persistently, while thrive is to grow or increase stature, to grow vigorously or to flourish.

So, not always are you in the right place to thrive. If you’re launching a new product you may strive in the development, the research, getting everything to market. And then launch, you may thrive. But it doesn’t mean to say that you won’t ever be in survival mode and survive means to continue to live or exist. This is despite danger or hardship, and sometimes when you do fail, you will find that you are in between these states of striving and thriving. You feel a little bit like you’re surviving through it because what you want to do is, you need to sometimes take stock. You need to reverse and look at where you’re at. What has happened until you can then move on to the next stage.

Now this is quite natural, and I think sometimes people beat themselves up because if you’re launching a new business, you might go through these stages a lot quicker. I think the only difference now, 20 years on for me, is that I’m not in necessarily the survive mode. I probably flip between the strive, where I’m in a creative development, I come up with a great idea that I want to action. I will strive forward to really put all my effort in, and then I’ll thrive. So I would say that my thrive state is probably elongated and I’m probably sitting in that in the most part. But I honestly have to say that even during this year and the pandemic, that there have been points where I’ve probably sat in the survive more where I’m taking stock, or something has changed, or I’ve had to veer off a different direction and stop and just wait.

That’s not a bad thing because I think some of the best ideas I’ve had are when I’m not moving at pace, when I’m not in that constant strive mode. Sometimes when you are in thrive you become quite comfortable. I mean, I wouldn’t say I’ve ever hit the complacency, I’m a very disciplined person, but you do become a little bit complacent when money’s coming in and things are going okay. One of the things that I always say is that you never know what’s going to happen and you never know what’s going to change in your business. So I think I’m constantly planning. I don’t want to live in hope. I don’t want to wait for something to happen. I want to plan.

And I think this is the difference, really, because when I see businesses that are in this whole strive, strive, strive, and then in the survive, survive, survive, and never in that thrive mode, it’s because they’ve developed something and maybe it hasn’t worked. So they stay in the survive mode way too long before adapting or diversifying and looking at what’s not working. This can often be the difference of a business running out of cash, and this could be the difference of a business that’s really thriving and making differences, because it’s the ability to be dynamic. It’s the ability to change, and also the ability, and I think it is an ability, it’s something that a lot of people have to learn, including myself, the ability to recognize that if something isn’t working, that continuing to do the same things and honestly expecting different results, it’s not going to happen.

So, when you think about what your state that you’re in at the moment, think about, are you in a strive? Are you working positively towards something for a reason? And are you enjoying that? What we don’t want to be in is in a strive where we’re just pushing, pushing, pushing with no end result. Being in strive, for me, I find that that’s one of my genius states. I really enjoy that. I love the prep, probably more so sometimes than I enjoy the thrive, and I love going in all in and just really giving my all to develop something that I feel so confident or passionate about.

And then when you hit that thrive, it’s all the better. So you have to think about, where are you? Are you in survive? Are you in survive because something’s failed and you’ve taken stock and you’re planning towards the strive? Or are you in survive and have been in that mode for way too long? When was the last time that you actually had that thrive, that feeling of security, the certainty that you had the money coming in, or the profit coming in and the number of customers or clients that gave you that sense of security that everything was okay? And it also freed up your time and energy to plan something else.

So the differences is, is when you’re in survive mode, it is exhausting, honestly. It’s something that I kind of really relate to because in the early stages of business and for periods in between, I have definitely been in survive mode. And again, if you take a knock in business, it’s natural to go into survive mode for a little bit, just to pick yourself up, think about what you’re going to do, take stock, plan, and move on. What you mustn’t do is be in this constant survival mode because it is draining for you and it is very, very impactful on your mindset. It’s extremely difficult to stay motivated during that time, because it’s the same, same thing. Our bodies and our minds naturally love changes of state. We change state each and every day, each and every hour, each and every minute, and each and every second sometimes.

If you’re going through social media, this is a typical example of how we change state. We go into social media to be entertained. Now, when we look at something, when we watch a video or something that makes us smile, that does change our personality. If we were closed off and we didn’t experience any of the senses, if we didn’t see anything, if we didn’t hear anything, if we didn’t touch or feel anything, it would be a really, really awful place to be. Our bodies are geared to respond to those senses. We want to experience joy, we want to experience fun, and you don’t want to ever stay in a state where you’re depressed, not feeling good, or not feeling joy. So, when you think about your business, think about your feeling and just sometimes sit and think about how do you feel when you think about your business.

Do you feel energized? Do you feel invigorated? Do you feel so excited and positive for the future? Or do you feel a little bit stuck? Do you feel like you’re just carting through, you’re just going through the same old thing each and every day? Are you a bit exhausted by the journey or the path that you’re on? This is important because we want to see where you’re at, and your feeling, your motivation, your mindset will be key and instrumental in terms of how you’re going to forge forward. The reason I wanted to do this is that I recognize these states because I have been in these states and all for good reasons and for bad reasons. This has been a learning curve for me because too often I’ve stayed in survive. Too often I’ve relied on hope. Too often I’ve thought, “Things will change. Things will change. So, if only this happened. So, I only need this.” I’ve thought that through and that’s been a dangerous place to be.

In the early years of business and through periods of my working life in the 20 years, I have been in those states, but the more I’ve been in them, the better I’ve got about getting out of them and recognizing the signs quickly and thinking, “Do you know what? I haven’t got time to wait and see if something will change. I have to control this. I have to change my destiny and I have to change this state.” And then it’s quite cathartic and it feels quite powerful when you address a situation, because often, just by making a small change or a tweak, can re-empower you and reinvigorate you onto whatever project it is.

So, this is all about being mindful about where you are and not tricking yourself into the fact that if something isn’t working now, what is going to change that will make it? This is so true with talking to people during the pandemic, during COVID, who have had to pivot, change, diversify, and it’s hard. No one said it’s going to be easy, but you need to recognize the signs that if you’re in thrive, you’re probably going back into strive at some point to plan for the next thing, or to get yourself back into that cycle. If you are in strive, then you need to feel invigorated and positive about what you’re doing and be really seeing in the near future that you will be entering thrive mode. What we don’t want to be is, if you are in survive mode, and it’s fine if you’ve been knocked down by the pandemic and your business has really taken a hit, it is fine to be in that for a period of time.

It will take time and you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and move on. It’s understandable that you feel disheartened, probably emotional, and a little bit unsure about the future, but we all are, and we’re all here to support each other. So I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast. It’s all about recognizing the signs, and one of the things I hope you’ve taken from this particular episode is where you’re at and that it’s natural to be in these three states. So these three states of business, as I say, are thrive, and strive, and survive. Now, the survive bit is the one that you want to be in the shortest mode. So, believe me, we have all been there and I would love you to come and join our group. We are on Facebook. The group is Business Consort, and it’s Marketing, Motivation and Mindset.

We talk about all of these topics in more detail and it’s a great place to join, get support from other peers and other business owners and people who are going through some very similar situations. So, come and join the community and I will speak to you on episode 16 next week. Take care, guys. Bye.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode and don’t forget, I’m going to be with you each and every week. So, download and listen on dawnmcgruer.com or on iTunes and come and join us in our Facebook community, too. All the details are on the website and I’ll see you next week.


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Dawn McGruer's Marketing * Motivation * Mindset Group

Speaker. Author. Podcaster. Strategist.

Multi-award-winning speaker, strategist & best-selling author of Dynamic Digital Marketing - Helping to inspire entrepreneurs to rise to meet today’s challenges and be powerfully present to shine online.

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