RECESSION PROOF YOU!
Resourcefulness is one way of thinking that keeps the wheels of cash flowing into your household. The second way of thinking to recession proof you is the spirit of Exuberance, plentifulness, super abundance, going into every situation as if there is plenty for all. The danger of tough economic times is the instinct is to pull in, contract, be rigid and protective which shrinks energy and opportunities.
This report is a bit tardy because I have been in the Greek Isles with my daughter (using up miles and points.) One of the highlights of our trip was taking a cooking class with Stella at the Margarita Restaurant and Studios (her mother and daughter’s name) on the island of Paros.
My daughter, Gillian, and I arrived by ferry in the dark and the taxi let us off. Stella came bouncing from her late evening guests to greet us, show us our room and invite us back down to the restaurant “to chat.”
After settling in, we arrived at the restaurant. Stella was pouring us a pitcher of local red wine and had a plate of homemade stuffed grape leaves (which were amazing, I think it was the mint.) “So, when would you like to start cooking and what shall we make?” she asked with a big smile rubbing her hands together.
Our whole visit was touched by her spirit of exuberance, from clipping rosemary, parsley and mint from her garden to arranging rides for us, to serving fresh Greek yogurt with honey in the morning, to offering to give us a lift to the ferry because she was “going that way.” She doesn’t need to take a customer service course or read a book on business practices, she just beams her love for what she’s doing.
Easy for her, she’s doing what many of us may dream of, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have uncertainties, disappointments and challenges to keep her business afloat. But those challenges have not dampened her spirit.
Take Andy, an IT guy who I had in a presentation skills program a few weeks ago. I ask the group as an ice breaker and introduction to “present” themselves including some pieces of information. When it was Andy’s turn he jumped up onto a table and did his introduction four feet in the air! (Scaring me half to death afraid he’d fall and crack his head open.)
“Ever since I was a kid all I ever wanted to do was be a forest ranger,” he said, “but my parents insisted I go into business.” He has two children in college and even though IT isn’t his first choice he likes it enough and finds ways to be exuberant. He’s also very resourceful, to help cushion his financial income, he works on the weekends at L.L Bean teaching demonstrations on kayaking, hiking, rock climbing etc. His weekend job stokes his spirit to have exuberance at his IT job.
Exuberance is bursting at the seems, filled with joy, freedom, humor and humility. Many folks have one degree at a time let their spirit get boiled just like the boiled frog, and they may not even realize they have become the office downer, the one leadership is just looking for an excuse to get rid of. A partner of a company I know said, “This recession is a good excuse to get rid of dead wood.”
The problem is you can’t fake exuberance, it comes off as “Pollyanna” and is just plain annoying. So, how do you capture and sustain a spirit of exuberance? Here are 5 Sure Fire Ways to Keep Your Energy Jumping On Tables:
1.Make a decision. It’s as simple as that. Are you going to be “that guy” or “that girl” that looks at everything with a downer view or are you going to look at the upside the risks and possibilities, see the big picture, acknowledge the intent, look for common goals?
2.Seek Passion. Find something about your workplace that you can get passionate about, the people, the goals, the mission, the humor, the possibilities, your growth opportunities, something!
3.Mitigate Downers. Rather than exasperate downers, feed downers, talk about them, linger on them, chew on them like a dog on a bone. Mitigate the disappointments, the mixed messages, the challenges, find a way to (1) deal with them, (2) delegate them to someone who has the power to deal with them or (3) just don’t take them so seriously and let them derail you.
4.Feed Yourself. Like Andy who is getting his “inner forest ranger” fed on the weekends at L.L Bean, find a way to feed your inner chef, musician, photographer, interior designer, travel writer. There are lots of ways to either take classes, or contribute to local venues to feed what makes you feel alive. The reality is most of us aren’t doing our “first choice,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t fulfill some of those desires.
5.Look for Lifts. If I asked you to look around the room you are in for anything the color orange, all orange items would pop out at you. Your day has lifts, people, situations, opportunities that lift your spirits, be on the look out for them so you don’t unconsciously miss them. And, why not be a source of lifts for other people?
Obviously following these 5 Sure Fire Ways to Keep You Jumping On Tables, will help you create a work experience that is more fulfilling, but as, if not more importantly, leadership is very reluctant to get rid of someone who lifts the spirits of those around them, which Recession Proofs YOU!
Look for Be the Go To Person as the third way to Recession Proof YOU coming October 1.
Sharon Hoyle Weber
Cohasset, Massachusetts USA
PDF Version of Special Report: September 2009