Not everybody was depressed in the Great Depression. There will be victors and thrivers from our own rough economic times. What are you doing to make sure you are one of them?
Are you waiting to be bailed out of your life, your job, your family? Whom do you expect to swoop down and make the changes that need to be made? What changes are required in your work/life to create the balance you need to live a fuller, more satisfying existence? Are there warning signs you should be heeding? Are they signaling changes you need to make so you don't end up hoping for a bailout that you are never going to get?
Are you running a bankrupt business and work/life? Are you overspending both financially and emotionally?
As I spend time mentoring other businesses and running cSubs, I see each of the bailout, bankrupt, and Great Depression mentalities abounding. For example, a neighborhood yarn store operates with little regard to the needs of its customers. While the owner sits on the sidelines, about to close her doors, waiting for someone to bail her out, Creative Knitworks, the yarn shop around the corner, is expanding and thriving. What could be the differences in those owners' thoughts that create the differences in their realities?
A mortgage broker associate spends his days whining about the current "Great Depression" and how there is no hope. He is losing all for which he worked to a lament that nothing can be done. But another mortgage broker looks at life differently, and works each day knowing his best days are yet to come. The second broker looks for ways to reinvent himself, his industry, and his relationships. He knew that the housing party wouldn't last forever, so he prepared contingency plans for a depression in that industry and he is successfully working his plan.
The local bagel store is spending money expanding to a new location by the train station — spending money in times that require savings. With layoffs, fewer people will be boarding the train and he is bankrupting his other successful store by depleting its resources. By contrast, the owner of the Cheese Shop is hunkering down and using her resources to create new markets for her products. She is now offering gourmet cheese plates to local bars, very successfully.
You see the same models for success and failure in big business as well. Take the Big Three. Rather than overhaul what doesn't work — benefits they can't afford, management that's uninspired; too many car brands; too little productivity and too much overhead — they jet to Washington for a bailout handout. And they don't even fly coach.
From bailout to bankrupt, consider the banking system, which ranges the spectrum of hopeful to the hopeless. But when it comes to Great Depression, Silicon Valley is reliving the depressing 1999 bust.
Except not everyone in Silicon Valley is depressed. While many are predicting self-fulfilling prophecies of gloom and doom for the entire technology industry, select sectors are profiting. Energy infrastructure may even boom. Robotics and cloud computing show great promise. And industry icon Apple continues to float on a prosperity driven by visionary product lines like the iPod and iPhone.
You need to emulate the best of these businesses by continually thinking out of the box. Through creativity and positive energy you can avoid getting trapped by the three business mentalities of bailout, bankrupt, and Great Depression. Failure is not inevitable, it's a choice.
You can choose to redefine your own future by revitalizing your thinking, re-examining your relationships, and reinventing yourself.
Julie Sue Auslander, M.Ed, WPO, WBE
Chief Cultural Officer/ aka President
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