How to survive and thrive through struggles   The 3 S’s of life are the focus. Fear will stop you from doing things. Faith will get you started. When you have faith and believe in something, it actually gets you rolling when you set out to accomplish something. When you have faith you are obligated to...

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The 3 S’s of life are the focus.

Fear will stop you from doing things. Faith will get you started. When you have faith and believe in something, it actually gets you rolling when you set out to accomplish something. When you have faith you are obligated to “do.”

I want to tell you about the 3 S’s that can help you in life.


Survival, Success and Significance

Survival is having shelter over your head. It is having food on your table. It is having enough money to cover your bills each month. When you are in survival mode, you are getting by and trying to do the best you can. People in this mode are truly surviving. It’s tough. It takes energy and work. People in this mode are thinking a lot and spending a lot of hours pondering stuff. If you are in this mode, YOU have to go through it. You can’t get to success without going through survival mode. You can also get stuck in survival mode and never figure out how to get out of it. Here’s a secret: it takes work to get out of survival mode and you can’t quit.

To get to success and significance, you have to get through survival. You have to be focused and work at it, but you can get through survival mode. Success says what is in it for me, while significance is about what is in it for others and helping people. If you make the mistake of thinking everything is about you then you are in trouble. This type of thinking is like kryptonite to Superman. It will prevent you from having a life of significance. A lot of people think significance is social status, the car you drive, the home you live in, your watch, job title, bank balance, pretty woman or man at their side, etc. These people think if they have enough, they feel good. Or, they tell themselves when I get this or that I will be fulfilled or happy. NO! It will never be that way. That will not make you happy or fulfilled. Significance is when you are giving and helping others.

To get out of survival into success, you have to take your talents or your income and use it for good. You can’t hoard it all away and not use it to make an impact. When you start doing good deeds for others to make a positive impact, then you will see it reward you in ways you never thought possible. When I went from survival to success, I got happy. Really, really happy. The danger is that you “taste” a little of the success sauce and you get complacent.


Listen, we live in a microwave world where patience is very short. Success doesn’t happen overnight. The sooner you realize that and set about working on the task at hand, the better off you will be. Accept that and get to work. Life will be easier if you can digest that and move on. People in survival mode will stay there until they are ready to change their circumstances. Change happens when you keep learning, reading books, listening to audios and associating with the right people.

When I have no problems in my life, it is when I am helping other people be successful. You have to have something before you can give anything away. Fulfillment does not exist if you are self-centered about life. People ask me why don’t you retire, why not quit, why keep going and doing? Let me tell you why. I love, LOVE what I “do!” Because I continue helping others, I enjoy the privileges too. It enables me to go on trips around the world, buy the concert and sports tickets that I want and enjoy life.

What do I love?

I LOVE seeing others get it too!

How can I shift my focus from me to thee (others)? Let me give you five items to help you with that question. This is about taking yourself from a life of success to a life of significance.

Develop THANKS

The first step to help you is to develop thanks for those that help you. Develop thanks for other people. Develop thanks for people that have helped you along the way. It will help you if you take the time to write these people down on a sheet of paper. List out how you have been helped and how you have helped. Think about it. No person gets to be successful without getting help along the way. It is important that you think about those people and that you are thankful for all they did for you. It can be as simple as being thankful for your mother birthing you and keeping you fed and clothed as you grew up. Be grateful for what you have, not bitter about what you don’t have. Really think about what people have done for you. Think about what people will do for you, and think about what you can do too. Who do you appreciative? Who helped you get to where you are in life? Who do you think you owe based on what they’ve done for you in the past? Operate from a place of gratitude and make a list of the people you are thankful for in your life.

Get to know people’s stories

Everybody has a story. They might not realize it, but it is true. Make it a point to get to know other people’s history and story. If you dig deep enough, every single person is interesting. You probably spend hours a day or week on pointless television. Talk to people more. Give up some TV time. I promise you that learning a person’s story is better than TV. It is real life. If you take the time to get to know a person, you will learn how you can be a helper. You can figure out how you can help people by doing this.

I would much rather invest my time into people in my life than on a family that is on a reality TV show. I would rather live MY reality than to watch other people on TV. Ask people questions to learn more about them. Focus on the person you are talking to and learn their story. Ask about their family. Find out how their life has unfolded up to this point. Listen, ask questions and learn about people. The more you know about a person, the more you can figure out how you can be helpful to them. Listen and ask. Learn the stories. Memorize the stories.

People want to tell their story and YOU have to show them you want to know more by listening. It is happening in The Alliance. We are hearing people’s stories at our HotSpots meetings and at events at the corporate office. We are seeing people take on an attitude of gratitude. Our team wants to help each other and it is contagious. Are you catching it?

Put yourself in other people’s shoes

Can you put yourself in another person’s shoes? Can you ask yourself, “If I was this person, what would I do or how would I feel?” Can you imagine what another person is going through? When you are talking to people, please think about the other person before you judge or comment on a situation.

I heard a great story about a magician in a restaurant entertaining patrons. The magician was doing well and people were laughing at his tricks. However, one couple tripped him up. The magician walked up to a man eating with his wife and asked if he would like to see a magic trick. The man politely said yes, but that it wasn’t possible because he was blind. The magician was pretty much embarrassed. He was not paying attention enough to see the man was obviously blind. He was focused on his audience. After thinking for a minute, the magician told the couple if they came back another time that he would be prepared to have a trick that catered to a blind person.

The next week the couple returned to see the magician. With a simple deck of cards, the magician asked the wife to inspect the cards to make sure they were normal cards. She confirmed it was a normal deck of cards. The magician told the blind man to simply tell him whether each card he turned over was red or black. The magician turned one card over and the blind man correctly called it red. He got the next card right … and the next one too. The magician went through the entire deck and the blind man correctly picked the color of every card. You can imagine the amazement of the blind man’s wife. The blind man and the wife were very grateful to the magician.

So, how did the blind man get the color of each card correct? When the magician was explaining what he wanted the blind man to do, he tapped the blind man’s left foot when he said to pick red and he tapped his right foot when he said black. He then held the blind man’s hand and asked him if he understood. The blind man squeezed the magician’s hand letting him know that he knew how the magic trick worked. When they let the wife in on the trick, the couple laughed and thanked the magician. Now, the blind man and his wife could entertain friends and family with their new magic trick.

The magician intentionally put himself in the shoes of the blind man so he could figure out how to help him enjoy a magic trick. He made the effort to help the man understand how they could “trick” people in to thinking the man had magical powers to predict what each color the card. It meant the world to the blind man because he felt special and he was thankful the magician took the time to make him feel special. When you know the answer life is easier. That’s when the magic happens. The blind man didn’t have the answer the first time he saw the magician, but once he knew how the trick worked it was easy. You can’t get anywhere without help in life. It is NOT telling a person what to do. It is thinking as if you were the other person. You are more predicting and being interested in people. You are educating or nudging a person in a direction. You are talking to them to help you understand where they are or what circumstances they are facing in their life.

Put their goals above your own goals

How often do you think of what other people want instead of focusing on your desires? Try to put others’ goals above your own. Think them instead of me. How can I give to others? What can I do to help a person get what they want?

Can you think …

Give vs. Get

Sow vs. Reap

Thee vs. Me

Focus on Give, Sow and Thee instead of Get, Reap and Me.

How do we think about their goals first? How do we get them successful in their mind? Find out what the other person wants. Encourage them. Help them draw it out on paper. Memorize what they want and think about how you can help them get it.

Win as a team

Do you think team or we instead of me? Work hard to focus on the team instead of yourself. When you do things together it is more fun than being alone in your journey. You will be more significant when you operate with the team in mind. Think WE not me!

Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, “Selfishness is the greatest challenge for a coach. Most players are more concerned with making themselves better than the team.”

Only thinking about yourself is not good for the team. You have to think about what is best for the whole team. How do you lose yourself for the betterment of the team? What can you do to help the team? When you think team first, everybody benefits. The team concept leads us to people that matter because they make a difference.

If you can do those five things, you can move from survival over to significance.

Lastly, please be grateful to others. This gives us a platform for people to change. Gratitude is not purchased, it is just imagined. There is never a lack of money, but there is a lack of imagination. If you are committed, you will find a way to get what you want. If you want to change the world, you are probably going to have to change YOU. We all wish the circumstances would change, but how many of us actively change to help improve the situation? Don’t be tempted to try to change everybody.

Travel within before you travel without! Be an agent of change by changing YOU. Get it changed to be the agent of change. People change when they want to, but not when we want them to change. Be patient and forgiving … to yourself and to other people. Be nice. It’s that simple.

Put yourself in a position to change, by being in the middle of the most awesome peer pressure you can get around. Read books, listen to great audios, get around the sharpest people you can associate with and talk to people.

When you are able to change yourself, you will be able to help other people change too. When you change, you can tell them what helped you move from where you were to where you are. Give them examples of what you did that helped you change. Tell them the stories you know to be true of other people who are successful that changed their circumstances. Put yourself in the right position and then encourage other people to do the same.

  1. Lee
    December 4, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks, I needed that!

    “Good habits are as easy to make as bad!”

  2. Kevin Johnson.
    Kevin Johnson.
    December 4, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Very powerful! Be the agent of change which is changing myself from within. Awesome to spread the word of having gratitude. You hit the nail on the head for this one Andy. Thanks for your words of wisdom and encouragement.

  3. Alex Ellenburg
    Alex Ellenburg
    December 4, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Survival Mode is exhausting however, making time for personal development. Reading, and audios instead of music or Netflix or something else- my ability to figure out next steps and doing them – is getting a lot easier. Thank you for breaking it down Andy. This could be a good small book to give out. Link works just as good. Thankyou!

  4. George Smith
    George Smith
    December 5, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Great talk! You are reminding me things I knew before, but some how forgot. Thanks Andy for your integrity and commitment!

  5. Ben Smallidge
    Ben Smallidge
    December 5, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    I loved the story of the magician! Maybe he first offended the blind man & his wife… but then he went away to ‘THINK’ and thus discovered a way to make him ‘feel special’. Great story on how we need to 1st observe, think, and then go out of our way to make others feel significant.

  6. Karen Simmons
    Karen Simmons
    December 6, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Thank you for sharing Andy. I am still in survival mode and it was so helpful after a long day with no sales yesterday. I wanted to just quit when I got home in my mind I was already thinking of how I could escape survival mode by getting a job…. But the allure of being a part or a team that is a change agent for being significant in all people’s live we touch is so powerful and you as our fearless loving leader has kept me going. One more day and I know it will get better and I will be able to help more people with insurance, careers and great memories to share with family and friends.

  7. Matthew Sullivan
    Matthew Sullivan
    March 21, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    This is great, Andy. Exactly what I need to work on… I’ve been reading and listening but with the underlying intention of making money and being successful ultimately for MY sake, but it felt wrong. My heart wasn’t buying it. But when I focus on how I can add value to other people and help them for the sole purpose of wanting to help and grow together, its like a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders.

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