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Happy Friday, my friends, and welcome to the last week of our Success Identity Challenge! We made it! (almost, hehe).


“Basic, instinctual needs.”
Horror Movie Villains

Copyright © 2010 Heather F via Flickr, cc Some rights reserved

But survival usually refers to our basic need for food, water, clothing, shelter, breathing, personal safety, sex, etc. The basic necessities humans require to live.On Friday the 13th this may mean running from the guy with the chainsaw, avoiding black cats, being careful around mirrors, and squelching any sign of an increased libido while sequestered away in a freaky cabin in the middle of no-where while your friends are getting picked off one by one (because rule number 142 of horror flicks is horny people die first)…

To improve our success identity, we must enhance or at least not harm this spoke on the wheel. But I believe that’s easier said than done because our SURVIVAL need can be affected by so many different things (including homicidal maniacs). Let’s take a quick look-see. I’ll start with the “big ones.”

Sex… do I really have to say more? If you’re willing to do it while a crazy psycho is on the loose it must be pretty damn important.

Breathing… I don’t think there’s a neutral here, friends. We’re in a help or harm situation. If you’re not breathing you’re dying (or already dead). So inhale… exhale… inhale… Especially if you’ve just submitted your MS to an agent/publisher/editor or your email just binged with their response. BREATHE!

Shelter… do you have a place to live? One where you’re not worried whether it’ll still be there when you get back? We don’t usually overlook this need and we don’t usually do things to harm our ability to keep a roof over our heads. If you are struggling with this one, I’d recommend making it your focus.

Personal Safety… adrenaline junkies plug your ears now. To some extent our psyche needs to know we’re safe. It’s why dark alleys and people pointing weapons at us make as nervous. Even the man jumping from the plane likes to know his parachute is going to open before he hits the ground. But what do your choices say about how you treat your safety? Did you notice your friend gutted like a pig? Perhaps you should stay with the group rather than running off on your own to teach the mask-wearing psychopath a lesson. Just sayin’.

Clothing… it’s the law. Sorry to my exhibitionist friends. And I think there is some tether to personal safety. Maybe think along the lines of appropriate attire for appropriate situations. Headed to an interview? Maybe “damn the man” isn’t the right t-shirt to wear (unless you’ve applied to Anarchy 99). Fighting a serial killer in the woods? Perhaps you should throw on something more than a bikini. I don’t know. I’m just throwing out ideas.

Food/Water/Exercise/Sleep… here is where my choices harm my success identity. I get busy writing. Sometimes I can almost go a whole day before I remember to eat. HARM. Most of the time I don’t make the time to get up from the desk and stretch or move my body. HARM. Sometimes I eat an 8 pack of kit kats because I’m starving and don’t want to cook. HARM. See where I’m going with this? While you don’t have to pull out P90X every five minutes (impossible, really, as they’re 40min long), if we’re ignoring our need for food, water and exercise we are actually HARMING our ability to feel good about ourselves and our world. (Also, how can you run from Freddy–whose fashion is scarier than he is–if you pull a muscle in the first two steps because you haven’t moved from your desk in two weeks?)

So this week set goals to fulfill your survival needs. Don’t ignore them just because they’re basic.

Plan & Evaluate
Keep it quick. Spend 5 minutes (or less) each day to plan and evaluate your Success Identity choices.

– Mornings: “What will I do? ONE SIMPLE thing I can do within the next 24 hours that will bring me closer to belonging? Power? Freedom? Fun? Survival?” (FIVE goals total).

– Evenings: “What did I do? Did my choices enhance, harm or not affect the success identity?”

Keep it simple. We don’t need to leap buildings in a single bound. Small changes, when added together, will lead to big impact.

Keep a record. At evening evaluation, jot down a sentence or two about how you’re feeling or any insights you’ve gleaned. This will help you see the small progress.

Extra Help
Look for daily SURVIVAL challenges via Twitter (#SuccessID) and Facebook (D.B. Smyth author page).

Good luck this week! I’ll see you next Thursday and I look forward to hearing about all the experiences you’re going to have!


P.S. Here is a great video about adding a little bit of movement to your day.