How Does Balancing Survive and Thrive Create Opportunity?

How Does Balancing Survive and Thrive Create Opportunity?

In today’s 24/7/365 lifestyles, our ancient brains, designed for a life on the savanna over 250,000 years ago, can be (and increasingly are) constantly in an “overheated” survival mode.

The relentless work and environmental stressors we face are interpreted as survival threats by our brain, putting us in a perpetual state of alertness and “Survive”, which then causes to us to narrow our focus and to experience increased fear and anxiety.

Not the ideal foundations for creativity and seizing opportunity from change!

This survival instinct, while critical, can overwhelm our capacity to innovate and embrace change.

Our “Thrive” hard wiring, on the other hand, opens up our perspective, and increases our energy, passion, engagement, and excitement.

So, how do we, as change leaders, find the balance between “Survive” and “Thrive”, to optimally prepare ourselves, and others, to seize the opportunities that change can bring?

The key lies in understanding and leveraging our brain’s capacity to adapt.

By fostering environments that reduce perceived threats and promote psychological safety, we can calm our survival response.

We can ensure that the many who are directly impacted by a strategic vision are actively engaged to both share and participate in its resolution and realisation.

We can actively inspire and generate leadership from throughout our organisations.

Encouraging mindfulness, resilience, training, and open communication can help shift the focus from merely surviving to balance it with thriving.

As leaders, it’s crucial to model this balance, showing those we lead how to moderate stressors while keeping an eye on future opportunities.

We should champion the mindset that embraces change as a path to new possibilities, and not for it to become a further “survival challenge”, piled upon the existing heap of life’s stressors.

Let’s discuss how we can lead, by transforming survival stress into a thriving innovation.


Barry Eustance CMgr MCMI
Kotter Change Leader Certified
Principal Consultant
The Sixsess Consultancy

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Barry Eustance CMgr MCMI

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