How do you operate at work? Are most days a struggle that leaves you feeling exhausted, or are you energized by your work? Are you focused on getting through the to-do list or on long-term achievement? How have you changed in the last year? The answers to these types of questions can help you determine if you’re surviving or thriving. While this might be more of a spectrum than two black-and-white categories, it’s a worthwhile assessment to make. If you find that you’ve started slipping towards survival, or maybe you’re feeling stuck there, it’s essential to make some changes to get you on the path to thriving. Here are some of the most important areas to consider:
For thriving professionals, their comfort zone is usually not their most comfortable place. They’re focused on growth, and they know that for that to happen they need to challenge themselves. Sitting in their comfort zone for too long is a sign that they need to push themselves a bit more. On the flip side, professionals in survival mode tend to find themselves rooted in their comfort zones. They don’t have the energy or inspiration to push themselves outside of it; they’re just getting through the day. The sameness feels like security to them. Investigate your relationship with your comfort zone, and if you find you’ve gotten too comfortable there, find some small ways to take steps outside of it.
When you do step outside of your comfort zone, you’ll likely find yourself faced with risk. For professionals who are just surviving, the thought of risk feels terrible. They tend to be focused on the negative, and the potential of things getting more difficult or more challenging is almost intolerable. In survival mode, people tend to avoid risk wherever possible. When you’re thriving though, risk is full of potential. Of course, this refers to calculated risks and not just impulsive decisions. Professionals who are thriving in their work have the energy to be innovative. They want to experiment with new ideas because they’re committed to growth. They also trust in their current situation to be able to handle the risks that don’t go as planned.
When you’re in survival mode, your goals tend to sound like some iteration of ‘make it through it day’. Our goals tend to be much more short-sighted. Because it feels like we’re constantly treading water in the present, we don’t have time to set goals for the future. We’re simply trying to get through our to-dos for the day or the week. When we’re in a thriving mode, we’re focused on growth and improvement. We’re able to work efficiently in our current state, leaving us the space to set goals for the future.
Loan officers who stay in survival mode for too long tend to find themselves burnt out. When getting through the day is a challenge on a regular basis, it’s no wonder that your energy is depleted and your stress levels are through the roof. None of this is sustainable. A healthy work-life balance supports thriving professionals. They’re committed to their work, but they know that they can’t allow it to consume them.
This is an important question for all professionals to ask themselves from time to time. If you sense that you’re moving in the direction of thriving, pinpoint some of the specific mindsets and activities that are pushing you there and double down on them. If you’re heading in the opposite direction, see if you can catch yourself before it becomes a stubborn pattern. How do you see surviving and thriving play out in your own professional experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts.