You have zero control over the economy.
But you DO have 100% control over YOUR economy.
REMEMBER: Just because THEE economy sucks, doesn’t mean YOUR economy can’t rock.
THE QUESTION IS: Which of the two will you invest your time in?
Consider these two facts:
1. The word “economy” derives from the Latin oeconomia, which means, “household management.”
2. The actual definition of the word “economy” is: “The disposition or regulation of the parts or functions of any organic whole; an organized system or method.”
IN SHORT: “Your economy” is how you manage yourself in relation to the world.
Today we’re going to explore a collection of practices to assure that your economy continues to thrive, even when the rest of the world takes a div…
1. Befriend the current. Find a way to position yourself with the economy instead of complaining about it. For example, think about how you can leverage your expertise as the answer to the world’s economic problems. Consider asking yourself (or your team) these questions:
*What ‘Crappy Economy Problem’ does my expertise solve?
*How does my product help people get a job or keep a job?
*In a down economy, what, specifically, is my company the answer to?
I was able to accomplish this when I started writing a regular column for The Ladders. I transitioned my material from “approachability” to “hireability.” Your mission to position yourself as the go-to guy for handling the troubled economic climate – all because you stayed genuinely committed to honoring reality. You surfed the current instead of paddling against it. What do you need to befriend?
2. Don’t feel the need to pretend to be busy. You’re not fooling anybody. Stop acting like you’re totally slammed with new business. Stop constructing a self-important façade of never-ending busyness. Now, that doesn’t mean reflexively announcing to everyone you meet that business sucks and that you’re spending most of your working hours sipping lattes at Starbucks updating your Facebook status.
Rather, learn to be selective about what you reveal to people. You don’t have to lie – you just have to be discerning. Meanwhile, leverage your downtime. Blog more. Volunteer more. Increase community visibility. Whatever it takes. What is your newfound downtime an opportunity for?
3. Surround yourself with people who challenge and inspire you. As long as you’re saddled with energy-draining people, you have a perfect excuse for not being as successful as you could be. Take a look at who’s siphoning the energy around you. Make the choice to personally amputate anyone who doesn’t believe in or support you. And keep in mind what Mr. Miyagi once said, “The best way to block a punch is to not be there.” Where do you need to NOT be?
4. Cancel your cable. Television is the devil. Period. It’s not relaxing – it’s assaulting. And your negative attitude about the crappy economy is only grower stronger with every wasteful minute you spend in front of idiot box. Think of it this way: How much money did you make last year by watching TV? Exactly. Zero. How much inspiration did you receive last year by watching TV? Exactly. Zero. And how much personal growth did you experience last year by watching TV? Exactly. Zero.
Do yourself a favor: Walk away from meaninglessness. Call your cable company right now and tell them to disconnect your signal. I actually canceled my cable about a month ago, and I’ve never felt more liberated. Plus I’m saving ninety bucks a month. That’s sushi money, honey. How much happier, healthier and more productive is your life because you watch television?
5. Create a force field of aliveness. Start by developing a totally honest relationship with yourself. Clear out the underbrush of your own mind and climb more readily into the reality that absolutely terrifies you. Namely, that the economy is in the worst state since the Great Depression.
Sure, that requires that you become more vulnerable. But it sure beats evading the truth. What’s more, that which is denied by the mind becomes trapped in the body. And the last thing you need in a down economy is another ulcer. Blech. How alive are you willing to be?
6. Direct and regulate your own becoming. Release your energies from the struggle against what you don’t want to be. As I read in The Act of Will, “The individual is not fixed and immutable but is in a continual state of becoming.” Allow yourself to fully and confidently face responsibility for your life.
And remember that the ONLY three things you have any control over are your attitudes, your responses and your choices. That’s YOUR economy. Have you precisely determined what you will be?
7. Music is the healing force. I saw that written on the marquee of Vintage Vinyl last month, and I couldn’t agree more. Spending money on music that moves your heart is never, ever a waste. Here’s the plan I live by:
*Go to one concert a month (Leonard Cohen next week!)
*Buy one new album a week (Monsters of Folk is a great pick)
*Sing for five minutes a day (My neighbors hate me)
*And make seasonal mixes or playlists of your favorite songs several times a year. (Mine depend on weather.)
Meanwhile, don’t punish yourself for spending that time or money. When it comes to music, it’s always worth it. If you want your economy to rock, start by rocking OUT. What’s the soundtrack of your life?
8. Double the dosage of inspiration. Refresh your spark. Fire inspiration into yourself. Read The War of Art. Watch Shawshank. Listen to The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale. Or dig up that old Tony Robbins DVD you haven’t watched in years. I guarantee you’ll learn something new this time. Not because the material changed – but because YOU changed. What inspires you?
9. Foster a pervasive tone of gratitude. Don’t make yourself an enemy of the universe. Don’t be a stranger or an intruder – become part of it. Here’s what I want you to do: Buy a new journal. Get a nice pen. Then, every morning, spend five minutes physically listing things you are grateful for. I’ve done this for years and I guarantee this ritual will put you in a great mood every morning. Not to mention, what you appreciate, appreciates. You can expect to attract more of whatever you write down into your life.
Sound cheesy? Well, you’re right – it is. But that doesn’t make it ineffective. Get over yourself. Cheesy works. Ramp up your thankfulness. Otherwise negativity will infiltrate and radiate into everything you do. And people will avoid you like a kindergartner with swine flu. What if you celebrated Thanksgiving everyday?
10. Stop investing energy in your fears and let them go. Just because everyone else is freaking out about the economy doesn’t mean you should too. So, free yourself from the overwhelming sweep of collective panic. Don’t let widespread negativity infiltrate your outlook. Negativity is a form of resistance, and it will creep into your attitude if you’re not careful.
Here’s an idea: Save the time and energy you would have spent worrying about things you cant control and reinvest it in making yourself stronger and smarter. Otherwise, by fixating on someone (or something) beyond your sphere of control, you lose unrecoverable time that could be devoted to becoming uniquely great.
But, if you remember the credo of Optimists International, you’ll be fine: “Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.” When was the last time the economy stayed up all night worrying about YOU?
11. Decide how you’re going to decide. Physically write out your core operating values. Then, create a governing document for daily decision-making. This exercise builds congruency in your behavior and assures stronger, more consistent and more aligned choices.
Who knows? This document might help you make a profound change in the way you approach everything. Or enable you to activate and utilize the best aspects of yourself, bringing your normal capacities to a higher level of effectiveness. It certainly did for me. Are you willing to reorient yourself in new directions?
12. Learn to disappear. Customize a personal system for getting away from everybody and everything – including yourself. Build structured AND spontaneous mini-vacations into every week. Examples: Turn your Crackberry off for two hours on a Tuesday afternoon. Drive across town to a Starbucks you’ve never been to before.
Or, take your lunch hour in a secluded corner of the company warehouse where nobody can bother you. Whatever approach you choose, learning to disappear is about creating an open space from which to create a new way of being. It’s a powerful practice that will change your life for the better, guaranteed.
All it requires is a splash of discipline and a dash of self-control. Remember: If you don’t establish healthy boundaries for yourself – other people will set them for you. And then they will violate them – and it will be YOUR fault. How do you refresh yourself?
13. Be body smart. The absolute stupidest move you could EVER make in a down economy is to lose sight of your health. Period. Physical, mental and spiritual. All three. Now, I’m not going to waste your time telling you how to do that. You know what you need to do be healthier – you just need to do it. If your health were perfect, how would it be different from your health today?
14. Keep pulling your triggers for joy. For me, that means three-hour sushi dinners with people I can act like a complete idiot in front of. Or going to concerts where I can sing as loud as I damn well please without having to worry about other people wondering whether or not I’m a mental patient.
Or watching movies like Superbad, Pineapple Express and Knocked Up, all of which make me laugh until my face hurts. These things are good for the soul. They aren’t luxuries – they’re necessities. How often are you pulling your triggers for joy?
FACE IT: It’s glaringly evident that the economy isn’t going to make a full recovery any time soon.
But YOUR economy, on the other hand, might.
I challenge you to dance in the rain of this economic storm.
I challenge you to wake up from your negative self-hypnosis.
I challenge you to stop trying to control things over which you have no control.
I challenge you to erase the lines on your preconditioned roadmap and make yourself available to new possibilities.
REMEMBER: Just because THEE economy sucks, doesn’t mean YOUR economy can’t rock.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How’s your economy?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
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