by David Bohl
Have you been affected by the recession? I surely have, and so have most of us, right? Our economy has gone through some pretty startling changes in the last year or two.
I believe that how we react to these changes will determine whether we prosper or fail, as individuals, and as a nation. Will you wave the white flag and hope that better days are coming, or will you adapt and overcome? I choose the latter. Whether you call it a “down-turn”, “recession”, “slow-down”, or even the dreaded “DEPRESSION”, the truth is that it is up to you to use our changing economy as an opportunity to excel.
Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid.
We’ve all been hearing it in the media. Every other commercial is advertising a “recession proof” this, or a “beat the slow-down” that. The television news has been falling all over themselves covering the recession ad nauseum. If you listened to all this hype you might believe the world was coming to an end. It isn’t.
It’s hard to find quality information on the news these days. What you can easily find is infinite quantities of spin and hype. Don’t focus on the gloom and doom, sensationalist reporting. Stay positive, even if times have gotten tough. You’ll be fine, but you’re probably going to have to make a few changes.
Do Something Different.
The other day, a friend was telling me about his woes. “I’m a union carpenter, and I haven’t worked in six months. I’ve never seen it this bad”, he says. I got the sense that this man was prepared to wait another six months, or more, for things to get better.
In the meantime there are other union carpenters – smarter, more industrious ones who are already making their moves. They are becoming entrepreneurial, and going into business for themselves. They aren’t going to sit and wait for the union to save them, they are going to make things happen now. These are the kinds of folks who will prosper through difficult and changing times while others shake their heads and blame “the recession”.
When money gets tight, we need to re-think our business model. Say, for example, your hours have been cut. You went from 40 to 30 hours per week. It is probably time to find a source of supplemental income. Pick a skill or a talent that you have and market it.
Say, for example, you play the guitar. If you’ve been at it for a while, then you probably have knowledge and information that is worth money. Put an ad on Craigslist, or something similar, and start giving guitar lessons, or start a side biz recommending acoustic guitars for children. Get yourself a few good customers and you’ll be right back where you were in terms of income, and you’ll be doing something different and presumably more enjoyable in the process.
If you’re not sure what to do, then make a list of your skills. We all have them – things like: gardening, tennis, piano, second language, computer, etc. Now put a possible way to earn money next to each skill. Go from there, and you’ll be on your way to leveraging your individual skills to earn extra cash.
Most of us believe that we have made something out of ourselves through hard work, and smart decision making. In this country we have to earn what we have. We aren’t born entitled, and there are no free rides. The economy has made some pretty tough circumstances for most of us. Nobody is denying that, but, it is important to recognize that we are dealing with exactly that – circumstances.
I will never surrender and become a victim of circumstance. We will all persevere and meet these challenges as long as we keep things in their proper perspective. Tune out the hype and negativity, get back to the basics of hard work and opportunism. Let the tough times weed out the defeatists, and we and our economy will come through this recession stronger than ever.