Are You Surviving or Thriving?

Many nurses say that they need to “survive” through their workdays–and their careers. So, why do so many of us feel that we need to just survive? What ever happened to thriving?

When we’re in survival mode, it’s almost like we’re in a perpetual state of “fight or flight“. In survival mode, we “make it through the day”, and we spend most of our time dreading work, resenting work, and most likely feeling pretty poorly about our lives in general. How fun is that?

If you’ve been stuck in survival mode for far too long, what would it take to move you into a different sphere of being? How could you shift from surviving to thriving? What would it take?

Personally Speaking

First, I hypothesize that one important thing to do at this type of critical juncture is to examine one’s life in a holistic manner, taking in all areas of your life. Where do things work? Where do they break down? What are the areas that could actually contribute to your thriving? What areas are more survival-based and need to be “dialed down”?

Next, when you’ve identified a few areas where some thriving energy could be useful, it’s time to ramp up those parts of your life. Do you feel ready to up your exercise regimen? Do you need to eat more healthily? Do you need to have more fun? Are your relationships in need of a boost? Does your sex life need attention?

When you take poorly functioning areas of your life and bring them into focus, you are inviting yourself to utilize those areas as springboards for putting some spring back into your step! Sometimes, paying attention to those areas outside of work will actually help you thrive at work.

Professionally Speaking

And when it comes to work, there are many aspects to identify and look deeply at, including your work relationships, your chosen area of practice or specialty, your facility/employer, as well as your general quality of life at work.

Do you love what you do? Are you treated fairly and kindly by your employer and colleagues? Are you paid well for what you do? Are your work hours and shifts humane? Are you able to fulfill your potential at work? Do you feel confined or somehow thwarted in your professional growth? Do you need further education or certifications in order to get what you want out of your professional life and career?

Just Ask!

These and other questions are crucial to ask yourself, and when you deeply and honestly examine both your personal and professional lives for ways in which to grow and nurture your deepest needs, then moving from surviving to thriving is natural, easy and fun.

About Keith

view all posts

Keith Carlson is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist.

With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers.

Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on many social media platforms, as well as at