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September 08, 2009
This week, Bill tackles the economic recession with the good news that enjoying relative prosperity in these times is largely a matter of attitude and adaptability.
As I write this week's article I find myself gazing out at what can only be described as a very bleak and gloomy day!
Recessions are typically associated with bleak and gloomy prospects, so writing about the economic recession, or the wider global financial crisis, would seem perfectly appropriate right now.
But Insights is not about dampening spirits, it’s about lifting them. It’s about offering food for thought along with inspiration. So, rather than talk about the darker side of the economic downturn, I want to dwell on the brighter side of the time in which we find ourselves.
Call it recession-busting if you like!
Of Cycles and Balance
I've written extensively in the past about how life, and indeed our entire universe, is governed by cycles - from those of very fleeting duration through to those with durations that are so long they are almost impossible to conceive of.
It's my view that the phenomenon of natural cycles offers variety and contrast within an overall context of perfect balance and harmony. Variety (as offered by different stages of the cycle) and certainty (as represented by the inherent repetitiveness of the cycle) are both important but counterbalanced human needs.
Let's take a natural cycle that we are all very familiar with, as an example.
Our planet spins around the sun in a 365-day cycle that continues ad infinitum. This predictable repetitiveness provides us with the certainty that life on earth will continue, pretty much the same, from one year to the next. However, within the cycle, we experience the significant variety that accompanies the changing seasons. This gives us the contrast or change we need and look forward to.
So, considered over the longer-term of many repetitions, a cycle will appear to be in perfect harmonious balance, whereas if a single cycle, or a period of the cycle is considered in isolation, it may appear that there is great randomness, fluctuation and upheaval.
Recessions are simply parts of cycles
Like the cycles that occur in nature, the economic cycle is predictable - but only when looked at over the longer-term. Just as summer follows spring, periods of boom are followed by periods of bust, bears follow bulls, contraction follows growth.
Now, you may be reading this thinking: "That's all very well and good but knowing that this recession is just part of a cycle does nothing to make me feel better!"
And such a reaction is perfectly natural. Except that I'm not advocating that you should simply grin and bear the current situation in the knowledge that things will, inevitably, get better!
The secret is in changing your attitude
Adopting a boom market mentality to an economic recession is asking for trouble. Playing the ostrich and burying one's head in the sand is equally dangerous. The solution to dealing effectively with changes brought on by any cycle, lies in changing your mental attitude and approach to match the new circumstances.
Just imagine trying to get the optimum enjoyment out of winter by lying around outdoors in your bathing costume, camping out and braaiing every night as if it were still summer. You'd soon get disillusioned (not to mention thoroughly cold and - at least where I live - wet!)
Rich pickings for those who adapt
When economic recessions bite, people's needs change. Those who are flexible enough to change what they are offering to meet those new needs will prosper, while the rest will bemoan the hard times that have befallen them.
My licensor, Neil Asher, wrote a fabulous message to New Insights coaches and trainees in our online Forum, in which he told the true story of two lady life coaches that he met with recently in the UK.
The meetings were entirely separate but he started by asking the same question: "So how are things with your practice?"
Coach 1 explained that she had, for now, given up her practice and, very reluctantly, gone back to corporate employment as "nobody could afford a life coach in these times". Was she happy? "Not at all, but what can I do while the economy is so bad?" she replied.
Coach 2 told an entirely different story. Asked how things were going she smiled broadly and explained: "I couldn't ask for anything better. Now, more than ever, people need help. Now, more than ever, people need motivating. Now, more than ever, people are scared and need support... Isn't that where a life coach shines, Neil, in inspiring people who need motivation, help and support?
Whereas Coach 1 had responded to the down cycle by giving up what had been a fulfilling and lucrative career for the 'security' of employment, coach 2 was looking forward to her most profitable and enjoyable year ever doing what she truly loved.
The difference? Clearly the attitude with which the coaches had chosen to tackle the challenges of the change brought on by the economic cycle.
How will you react?
The crux of my message this week is that now is not the time to crawl into your bunker and batten down the hatches in the hope that you can weather the economic recession until things improve.
Now is the time to change your mindset, to embrace this period in the economic cycle and turn it into a time of opportunity by looking at - and doing - things in a different way to the way you did them a year ago.
You are resourceful, you are innovative, you are powerful. You have everything you need to make the most out a situation that most people assume they have no control over.
Remember, there are those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.
Which will you be?
Until next time...
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