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Are You Thriving or Surviving?


My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. —Maya Angelou

Surround yourself with people who are thriving, not just surviving. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about surviving illness – heck NO. I’ve survived serious illnesses for 20+ years.  What I mean is, someone who is typically negative or someone who sees the glass half full ALL THE TIME. Perhaps they’re a “downer” or “negative Nelly.”   How can you tell? Listen to what people say and pay attention to what they do. Are you hearing things like “Life is hard!” “Work is a four-letter word” or “It’s ok. I didn’t really want it anyway!” Those are signs someone is surviving circumstances vs. thriving in the face of situations. Pay attention to their energy and body language. Survivors look tired and worn down, maybe upset or depressed. Most of all, think about how YOU feel around them. Are you feeling “off” or perhaps bad when around them or after spending time with them? Do you see the red flags? If you can’t avoid someone who’s sucking your energy, at least purge their emotions from your system when you walk away from them. That’s their stuff, not yours.  Minimize your time with survivors as often as possible. Spend time alone if needed so that you can generate attitudes that support you. Surround yourself with thrivers.



What does “thriving” mean to you? Thriving means different things to different people. Here are some examples:

• A joyful feeling • A feeling of being in the flow • Having everything you need—and nothing that you don’t Sadly, most people aren’t thriving—merely surviving.  I know because I was once surviving illness, though I was also only surviving life. In my late teens and early twenties, I survived a teenage eating disorder and cancer twice. I survived losing friends through my twenties, losing confidence, loneliness, and being laid off a few times. I was working so hard just to survive, I couldn’t possibly thrive. By my mid thirties, I was healthy. I started to make new friends. One of them was a Coach—and that was the AHA MOMENT! Through experiential and transformational learning, my Coach helped me reconnect with who I was. And that helped me to become more than just a survivor—I learned how to THRIVE! My biggest challenge at the time was a job I hated. I decided to get out of that work situation and focus on joy. The past few years, I’ve been creating something new—my coaching business—and embracing opportunities to reevaluate my life and think about what makes me shine. What makes me happy? Now it’s your turn! How can you tell if you’re thriving—or merely surviving? Ask yourself some thought-provoking questions:


• When you allow myself time for self-reflection, do you feel truly alive?

• Do you feel connected to who you really are?

• Is the life you’re leading honoring you or are you living the life someone else thinks you should?

• Do you have what you want?

• Do you view life and things with scarcity (ah hello, survivor) or abundance (yay thriver!)?

• Are you living on autopilot, rushing through meals and not tasting your food, half-assing it? Those are all clues you’re merely surviving. • Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile. Was it a real smile that lit up your eyes, or a half smile?

Most people live this way without even realizing it. A HALF-Ass LIFE.  I was. I felt life was just “ok.”  Fine. Well, FINE SUCKS especially, when I’m talking about my life—a life I fought to have!   Here’s how I went from surviving to thriving, and how you can too.


1. Be honest with yourself.

2. Purge things that are not helping you—beliefs, habits, CRAP that doesn’t serve you.

3. Be grateful and thankful for all that you have – even the small stuff that is never really small. 

4. Be in action, move your body. The body and mind must connect to really create change. Go for a walk, jog, swim – jump up and down – whatever. Just be in action.

5. Be open to things and ideas.  View life as an opportunity.

6. Spend time with people who support and encourage you, whose positive energy lifts you. Limit time with people who suck the life out of you. 

7. Pause and reflect.

8. Make a choice about your state of being, for example:  Choose to be optimistic. Choose to ALLOW yourself to be Loved. (Imagine the power of that). Choose to allow yourself permission to THRIVE, or simply choose to be kind to yourself and others—especially animals, those without a voice to be heard, the elderly, and nature—my little PSA. 

9. Get a Coach! A Coach will partner with you to help you stay conscious to the cycle of ups and downs and help you get back on track when you stray.

  Learning to survive is easy. Choosing to thrive takes daily practice. 


Life will always throw another curve-ball. Does that mean your commitment to thrive failed? No! If something doesn’t go your way, consider that the outcome is giving you an opportunity to recommit to thriving.



You are ENOUGH, as you are RIGHT NOW, you are PERFECT!  You truly have everything within yourself to achieve a sense of oneness. You already are thriving. You just have to pause enough to realize it. When wanting to powerfully move through and embrace change, contact me at www.paulaconkey.com or paula@paulaconkey.com. I'll partner with you so that you transition through change with grace, mindfulness, and intent.

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