Calling Yourself a “Survivor” is Overrated…and NOT Good for Business


I have lived through three plane crashes and a boating accident that was even worse. I was on Pine Street on September 11.  Still, I don’t call myself a “survivor.” I “lived” through those events and I know I am quite fortunate to be living today. I think the whole aura associated with “surviving”—whether it be an accident, an illness, a business downturn or some other past failure—casts a negative light on what was a great opportunity to grow stronger.

When I speak with people who were employed within the financial sector or related industries, they often refer to themselves as having “survived” the aftermath of the 2008 collapse of Lehman and the subsequent financial turmoil. I question this thinking.

Do you really want to be a survivor? Declaring you merely survived may undermine the actual experience and lessons learned.  Even worse, it may keep you stuck.

Life is for the living. Please read that sentence twice—once with “living” as a noun and then again as a verb. As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

Living your life means you have faced challenges head-on while embracing each day with the honor it deserves, and you are still storming through with enthusiasm and a smile. You are glad you’re alive to be enjoying the events of any day—whether fun or frustrating, joyful or sad, easy or challenging, sublime or ridiculous, heartbreaking or heartwarming.

From a business standpoint, competitive markets and worldwide competition have made it more important than ever to ensure you share your “living” strategy with your co-workers, clients and partners. So hopefully you have such a strategy! If you are not living your business on a daily basis—truly embracing each challenge as a lesson to be mastered—don’t be surprised if your business is struggling. The opposite of living in business is to feel like you are drowning; it feels as if things are overwhelming and hopeless. This manifests a sense of helplessness, which usurps your power to act and may actualize adversely on your ultimate success.

Business—which, hopefully, is just one of many parts of your life—is and will always be a series of challenges. This is guaranteed. A great business leader is like a master chef who has the same ingredients as everyone else, but creates a meal to remember.

A “best practice” business strategy is to keep your potential customers, partners, investors and employees informed of your enthusiasm for your business and its sector.  This can be done on a day-to-day basis as you focus on all the little things you are doing that add up to big developments.   Maintain a dialogue that shares the information necessary not only to keep your organization in front of everyone’s eyes, but also to help others understand what excites you on a daily basis about your services and/or products.

A consistent stream of high-quality, fact-driven news can help accomplish these goals. News will brand your company as a vital market player, presenting your executive leadership as industry experts, and reinforce the image of your company as a trusted information resource. Moreover, carefully constructed press releases with embedded hotlinks and keywords can help raise your company’s rank on all-important Internet search engines, attracting potential consumers and investors to your website, and in general, expanding your company’s footprint in cyberspace and the world.

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