Economic challenges have dominated news headlines for much of the past three years. While the US has struggled with recession and a tepid, often faltering recovery, other countries have also grappled with high taxes, high unemployment and turbulent markets. So without surprise, I hear from professionals in and outside of the US about how the economy is impacting their job, or business. After listening to story after story about how the bad economy:
- Prevents them from getting a job
- Is keeping them in a job they hate
- Is making it impossible to get new business
- Has caused their business to lose money
- Is causing their customers to spend less?
I have concluded that they are all wrong. If at this point you’re ready to throw something at me, hang on and let me explain.
In each case, as I dig deeper, and ask questions there is always a solution that has nothing to do with the economy. The economy serves as an easy scape goat, temporarily relieving us of the hard work of looking at our mindset and actions.
If you show up day after day to a job you hate/have outgrown/abuses you but you have taken no steps to change your situation, is it the economy or is it you?
If your business plan depended on one big client with no consistent marketing, is it the economy or is it you?
I am not in any way diminishing the tough times many are facing. Hey, I’ve been there too, disillusioned, discouraged and flat out busted. So I know from personal and professional experience that it is far more productive to focus on what you can do to change your circumstances, rather than being a victim of the economy. You may be serving a market that is drying up, or work in an industry that is rampant with downsizing but how you react to those changes is in your control.
Today, if the media began reporting every day that there is world peace and the economy is booming everywhere, how would it change your outlook? Would you take action to leave a job you hate? Would you confidently market your business because you know your customers are once again buying? Why not take those proactive steps today?
If your market is dead, find a new market or a gap that allows you to solve their current problems. If your business model requires you to give all of your time to one client, change your model or change your offering. Hate your job? Research and act upon your options. Do what you need to develop yourself so that you can effectively seek a better job.
The economy is always going to experience highs and lows. However, having a good solid plan and making good choices will help you to weather the ups and downs. It is painful to admit that we are where we are because of our choices, but once faced, we can change it. Isn’t that a brighter proposition than blaming forces beyond your control?
So tell me now that you are firmly back in the driver’s seat, where are you headed?
Good question! I heard a story by Jim Rohn that has changed my perspective on this subject. He said when he was 25 he was broke and disillusioned. In the next six years he became a multimillionaire. He said he waited around for the economy to change then when he realized it might not change he decided to change himself and the results were spectacular. I feel the same way about the current economic condition. We’ve got to change and adjust if we are going to strive! Great post!
Karen Swim says
Amen Sherwood! You make an excellent point about putting Faith in action. Why simply lament when we can actually transform? If we truly believe that “all things are possible” and we know that we are called to be “salt and light” then we are required to do more than click our tongues and wail about the “bad news.” Thank you so much Sherwood for your awesome comment!
Sherwood MacRae says
There Is an old adage, when you meet up with a problem, you have one of two choices, you can join in with the lament or, you examine it to see if there might be something you can do to alleviate the pain.
Alas, we tend to assign the problem to our prayer list and ignore the possibility of encouraging those involved. We can read the newspaper accounts or we can ask the Holy Spirit to move on us to help those in need.
Rather than talking about the problem and thus, spreading the “bad” news, we can reach out those in our church or in our community and discover what assistance we might be able to offer.
Karen Swim says
You point out key insights about the psychology of buying and how that impacts our hiring, and buying behaviors. I agree it is not a simple concept but one with many layers but understanding that can help us to better manage our personal behaviors and attitudes.
The economy as a whole seems to function largely the same as financial markets: if people are confident in a particular security, they purchase it and the price rises. If they aren’t, the bottom falls out. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.
In the same way, if businesses think people aren’t buying, they don’t hire, so people are unable to buy — and everyone else sees that the business isn’t confident and so they decide to save more too. Obviously it’s a bit of an oversimplification, but it makes it a difficult rut to get out of.
Karen Swim says
I am all in favor of less talk of doom and gloom too. In the US there is so much anger at the government about the lack of job creation but as you said if we are relying on the government to improve our lives, we’re in far greater trouble than we believe! It’s a hard message to hear but if we each get to work on solutions for ourselves, our families and our communities, we will create change. Thanks for weighing in Conor!
Conor Ebbs says
I agree with you completely. There is no doubt that many people are facing real struggles, but there is too much talk of downfalls and free-falls, and not enough talk to getting up, getting active, and carving a way out of this.
The sense of entitlement some people have, believing the government should create jobs for them, is just delusional. We are the instruments of our own change.
Less talk of doom and gloom, more talk of creative solutions.