Weathering the storm and defining the moment
October 11, 2008
Hard to comprehend what is going in our financial markets. How to react to them. If you have any money in the market you have been hammered. More important the instability of our economy will put hundreds of thousands more jobs at risk, maybe yours and I am sorry to say we have not see the bottom of this crisis yet. It may be many months before anything resembling stability returns. But you have been inundated with this news and I have nothing to add to the cacophony of financial analysis. Bottomline: You need to be preparing yourself and your family for harder times. You have to be thinking about about Plan B and C. Hopefully, you are managing your anxiety by stepping back a bit and realizing how limited your ability to alter this context is. As a friend says, "It is what it is." Nevertheless, this is an extraordinary time and it requires extraordinary thoughts and actions. What are my options and choices in times like these? How can I be a source of resillience? People look to you for signs of what to do, how to act. We have to lead by example.
See my blog on Earthquakes and Networking...
Here are three things to keep in mind during this time of turmoil:
1) Do your job--Keep an eye open for opportunities
If you are fortunate to have a good job, then invest in your work. You have twin goals: 1) Job retention through creating perceived and real value (something you are already doing) 2) Paving the runway for what's next by keeping your track record strong (and great references make a difference in times like these). Unless there is writing on the wall portending a major change, then do what you were always doing, be competent and on top of your deliverables. Too often self-fulfilling prophecies happen when an eroding performance leads to both unemployment and a bad reference. As I have always advised, that does not ever minimize your ability to see emerging opportunities--chances to re-tool or move to something new. New opportunities are going to be harder to find but they are still out there. And history has shown that enrollment in courses, training and degree programs will skyrocket. Be an employee that can be counted on with an eye on the horizon.
2) Be strong--Make this a defining moment
Excerpt from Jim Collins book Good to Great:
"Throughout our research, we were continually reminded of the 'hardiness' research studies done by the International Committee for the Study of Victimization. These studies looked at people who had suffered serious adversity – cancer patients, prisoners of war, accident victims, and so forth – and survived. They found that people fell generally into three categories; those who were permanently dispirited by the event, those who got their life back to normal, and those who used the experience as a defining event that made them stronger."
How can we make this a defining event for ourselves? Worst strategy is just to hunker down, pull in the sails, and hope the storm passes. Take care of my family boat and minimize risks and wait and see. Wait and see is ALWAYS the worst plan. In any sea in any environment.
3) Be positive--Reach out and help others
For me focusing on what I can do and what is important to me relieves some of the stress. I truly believe that power of attraction is very powerful in times like these. Negative attracts negative and positive attracts positive. But the latter is much harder, because the negative forces are nearly out of control. So many people love to tell a worse story of financial damage and consequence. Not sure what part of our DNA feeds off the misery and devastation, but I would love to discover the antidote. Then be a source of positive energy.
Like in an earthquake, you make sure you are okay, then you check your family and friends, then you try to determine if everyone else in your inner network are okay too. Reach out to people and find out how they are doing. Your network, your clients, your colleagues, your neighbors. Be a source of support--I do not mean financial support, but moral and networking support. People are worried and they need advice, counsel, job assistance--they need people who can help them. At the very least these are the times to reflect on who is important to me? Intuitively we agree that WE is always more powerful than ME. So engage with others instead of just focusing on yourself.
These are crazy times of financial dowturns. No need to lose your cool. Keep your whits about you and your career, your priorities and future may even be on the upswing. Hang in there. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
Thanks for reading. John