Surviving in Tough Economic Times

Surviving in Tough Economic Times

I have learned through my Business executive coaching with clients, that this topics in particular evokes various emotions such as anger, anxiety, hopelessness, stress, despair, frustration, etc. and all this, is totally understandable because as Humans beings, our first reactions are almost always emotional until we are forced to start acting rational in order to find solutions.

Today with the technological advancements and greater competition, business demands more from executives and women. Finding what is called a balance in life with the ability to stay focused, motivated, productive and ahead of the curve can cause undue stress and uncomfortable pressure. According to a “Regus Group survey of over 22 000 business people across 100 countries: six (6) out of ten (10) workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage their stress”. This leads to a myriad of questions: Who am I? How do I grow or save my business in todays times? How do I overcome the demands of the economical downslide? How do I get noticed as a professional when I enter a crowded room of competitors? How do I face my fear? How do I interact with others and gain more confidence? How do I become a powerful leader?

Life is never a smooth ride. Life is designed to be a massive rollercoaster and one rollercoaster is never the same as another. The engineer of these rollercoasters has made sure of that. Hopefully the rollercoaster that you are on has more than one seat.

Similarly, the economy, which is a major part of Life, is also a massive Rollercoaster. There will be ups and there will be downs. As you will experience, the upward movement takes much longer to reach the top and the downward movement gets to the bottom much faster. All that we can strive for, is that our visit at the top lasts much longer that our stay at the bottom. However, be rest assured, with every fall there will be a rise and with every rise there will be a fall. I for one can attest to the challenges and losses I made both in South Africa and abroad. Particularly because I didn’t spend enough time on research and credibility of potential and signed partners. Our ability to successfully adapt and LEARN from these rise and falls is what defines our success and survival.

Now, in South Africa, we are on the downward cycle as far as the Economy is concerned. So, what can we do to navigate ourselves through this down cycle effectively:

  1. First and foremost, Breath. Stop whatever you are doing and take a few deep breaths. Get rid of all the emotions. As human beings we often take the emotions of Trauma and forget to take the learnings from it. Cry if you need to cry, scream if you need to scream, go and punch a punching bag if you need to. (just don’t injure yourself or others). Go through the emotions as they come, however ensure that you equally taking the learnings with you. Try and get rid of as much emotions as you can because you cannot find effective solutions and a way forward while been in an emotional state. Get yourself in a state of calmness before making any further rash decisions.
  2. Stop the blame process. There will always be someone or something to blame (sometimes rightfully so) for the situation you find yourself. So yes, blame may lie with the Government, corruption, capitalism, our bosses, etc, etc. Here is the thing, we cannot change what has happened, so rather than wasting precious energy in the blame process, let use the energy to find solutions so that the light at the end of the tunnel becomes more and more prominent. Be at Cause rather than on Effect.
  3. Many will say this time of the year, is a quiet time and we don’t have business from November to January. For me, this is a “cop-out”. Again, we are at Effect and not taking the responsibility for our development and growth. Rather use the end of this year to initiate discussions with potential clients for early meetings in next year. It is the time of the year for socialisation, however we should see the benefit of looking for potential clients for discussions and meeting in the new year.
  4. Take stock. Sit down and do an honest budget. In order to plot a way forward, you need to know where you are. I will be the first to admit that doing a budget can be very scary because honestly admitting where your money is been spent can be very daunting. But you have to get it done. You have to find out where the “wastage” is. How else are you going to prioritise and get rid of the “wastage”? Peter Drucker says, “you cant manage what you haven’t measured”.
  5. Have the conversation. Yes, another challenging thing to do. You have to have the conversation with all the persons that is occupying seats in the car on the rollercoaster. An honest, non-judgemental and blame free conversation with all the members of the organisation and family, especially the kids. This is essential and must take place. The budget needs to be tabled and explained and a collective, collaborative way forward needs to be plotted. You need the support, guidance and effort from all to ease the pain.
  6. Prioritise, Prioritise, Prioritise!!! Make two lists. Name one “ESSENTIAL AND IMPORTANT” and the other “NICE TO HAVE-NOT ESSENTAIL”. Unfortunately, in tough conditions, the “nice to have” things need to go. So slowly, day by day, get rid of spending that is not essential nor important. The question that helps me make those decisions easier is “Do I need this, or do I want this?” as soon as it is a “WANT”, I get rid of it or do not purchase it.

Finally, While these are my lessons, the six tips that I would like to leave with up-and coming entrepreneurs and Business Executives are:

  1. In order to pursuit your purpose, you need to start with a plan and work at putting that passion into practice. Never lose sight of your vision and higher purpose in life.
  2. Ask for help and set up a support system whom you can trust and who applies no judgment on your character or actions
  3. Fear is natural – taking the first step is the easiest way to take control. Remember the first step is always the hardest.
  4. You are responsible for you so continuously invest in yourself.
  5. Consult you internal GPS and make sure you always input the correct coordinates – i.e. keep manifesting the positive outcomes of what you want, not what you don’t want. This is the power of manifestation and the need to focus, focus and focus.
  6. Life is about making a choice – only you can make the best choice for yourself. Don’t give up

As the adage goes, tough time call for some tough decisions. But I am a firm believer in “with every pain, there will be ease”. I also believe that with every pain, there are lessons to be learnt. So, while going through this pain, reflect on what lesson are you supposing to be learning so that the mistakes of the past should not be made in the future.

Through Training Excellence, my personal coaching and through this blog/article I will provide answers as I share, guide, inspire and help you to move from the depth of the valley to the top of the peak. It is only when you are comfortable with who you are that you can become successful. It reminds me of a quote by Oprah Winfrey who said, “As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.”

I leave you with this affirmation and prayer

“Day by Day in every way, your life continues getting better and better because your life is wonderful, your life is beautiful and its yours to enjoy”