When I think about who I know that actually thrived during the pandemic, only my 3 year old comes to mind. He got a bounce house for the backyard and mom and dad have been around a lot more – big boosts to daily life for him. For most of the rest of us, the past year did not seem to set us up well for thriving emotionally, physically, or socially.
But, as it turns out, the youngest among us are not the only ones who thrived through the most challenging time of recent history.
In fact, a small percentage of the employee population fared better than most in their ability to preserve mental well-being through the pandemic. We call them “pandemic thrivers.”
Who are these thrivers? Since the pandemic began, we have surveyed BetterUp members about their well-being in a pulse format. This means on average we have data on each person at a cadence of about once per month. Some individuals have reported that their general well-being is doing well, or very well, every single time we’ve asked. In other words, on any given occasion in the past year, these individuals were thriving from a well-being standpoint. Notably, there is no reason to inflate or veil one’s reply to this question because responses are anonymous and voluntary.
This subgroup of thrivers amid a population that was more often struggling is extremely interesting. What about them is different from the rest of us? What skills, mindsets, or traits do they have that have allowed them to consistently experience high well-being during this objectively extremely difficult time?
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What the data say — what helped pandemic thrivers thrive?
It turns out that pandemic thrivers are unique in 5 primary ways.
- Optimism. Thrivers were 19% more optimistic than others and held a more positive outlook for the future.
- Coaching others. Thrivers were 17% stronger in the skills needed to help others find their way, facilitate insight, and encourage enthusiasm.
- Strategic planning and forecasting for the future. Thrivers were 16% better able to envision desired future states and proactively work toward them.
- Growth mindset.Thrivers were 16% more able to see themselves as able to learn, adapt, and grow under changing circumstances.
- Self-awareness. Thrivers were 12% higher in awareness of their own behavior and attitudes.