Your Reading List

Guide HR: Can you develop a thriver’s mindset?

These seven steps will help you thrive, not just survive

We face challenges and disappointments. What is it that determines whether you will overcome these and thrive, or merely survive? Some people have developed a thriver’s mindset. They are masters of challenge and change. They grow during difficulties by leaning into stress, and by relying on special resources.

There is good news, however. Science is showing that everyone has the capacity to develop this mindset.

In agriculture, as in other industries, we all know entrepreneurs who seem to grow, learn, and take the best from every situation. From research and from my experience as a coach, here are seven traits that stand out in these thrivers:

Related Articles

1. They know what helps them thrive.

For every area of their business and personal life, they know specifically what they want to become, develop or possess. This allows them to put their resources, energy, and focus toward those things that will bring them closer to those goals.

2. They balance the elements that are essential for their well-being.

  • Career well-being: identifying and using the strengths of yourself and those around you every day, choosing tasks according to these resources.
  • Social well-being: having strong, loving relationships (family and friends).
  • Financial well-being: effectively managing your economic decisions.
  • Physical and psychological well-being: having good health and enough energy to consistently get things done.
  • Community well-being: the sense of engagement you have with the area where you live, doing something for a greater cause.

3. They know their big “why.”

In addition to knowing what makes them thrive, they also know why they value certain things. They are clear about their motivations. However, not all values and motivations are equally beneficial if your goal is to thrive. Research shows that:

  • Intrinsic motivations and values, such as autonomy, self-actualization, harmonious interpersonal relationships, ethics, integrity, and a cause greater than oneself are associated with greater happiness and life satisfaction.
  • On the other hand, pursuit of extrinsic motivations and values, such as social success, wealth, recognition, and prestige leave one more open to stress, anxiety, depression, and dissatisfaction.

4. They act according to their values in their daily life.

Momentary choices and experiences accumulate to shape our everyday lives, so your micro actions lead to macro results. A small decision in farm management may have a significant impact in the months and years to come.

5. They learn to be intensely focused.

“Attention” has become one of the fastest-growing areas of study in psychology and neuroleadership. It is now recognized as a major issue in a world in which new technologies grow at light-speed rates, bombarding us with choices and making it even more difficult to focus on priorities. Our attention is hijacked by emails, texts, phone calls, and other environmental demands. In addition, there is always another journal, salesperson, or consultant telling you what to think, do, or desire. These demands distract from what is most important in order to thrive, not just survive. How you allocate your attention will substantially determine what you get in life.

6. They persevere in the face of challenge, and they have a positive sense of their capabilities.

They know that, with the right resources, help, time, and energy, they can succeed.

7. They have “psychological flexibility.”

They can switch their attention, changing their goals, deadline, or strategies. They are open to considering different actions to achieve their life goals.

So, in order to develop a thriver’s mindset, here are a few interesting questions:

  • What is really important in all areas of your life (farm, family, community, etc.)?
  • What do you want your life to be like in the next year? In five years?
  • Why?
  • What are your values? Are you being true to them?
  • Do you walk the talk?
  • Why don’t you do the things you know you should be doing?
  • What can you do today to improve?
  • What can you learn from your mistakes?

Everyone has the capacity to develop a thriver’s mindset. But it does require effort, perseverance and courage.

About the author


Pierrette Desrosiers

Pierrette Desrosiers, MPS, CRHA is a work psychologist, professional speaker, coach and author who specializes in the agricultural industry. She comes from a family of farmers and she and her husband have farmed for more than 25 years (

Pierrette Desrosiers's recent articles



Stories from our other publications