I'm a freelance consultant and for the past 10 years that's meant finding the delicate balance between getting the work done today that needs to get done and finding new work to do once my current projects are finished. People who work for organizations think that their situations are very different from mine, but in reality, the only difference is that I'm always aware of the fact that I have to constantly be looking for my next opportunity.
At the end of June, a few major projects of mine will be ending and I'm now in the process of trying to find new business to replace them. This is a scary thing, I don't mind telling you, especially when I'm the primary breadwinner and we're buying a new house at the end of the month. Work has always come to me, so on some deep level I have faith that it will all work out in the end, but in the meantime, there's a lot of angst going on inside me. After reading this article on the fourth straight month of job losses in the US and this one on Philadelphians pawning their valuables to buy food and gas, I know I'm not alone in my anxiety.
Fortunately, as a friend mentioned to me this morning, the universe has a way of bringing you what you need when you need it. This morning I found The Scary Times Success Manual via Pam Slim's Escape from Cubicle Nation. It's 10 tips that I think can serve us well in scary economic times, but also in other times of our life when we're gripped by fear and anxiety. In a nutshell, they are:
- Forget about yourself, focus on others.
- Forget about your commodity, focus on your relationships.
- Forget about the sale, focus on creating value.
- Forget about your losses, focus on your opportunities.
- Forget about your difficulties, focus on your progress.
- Forget about the "future," focus on today.
- Forget about who you were, focus on who you can be.
- Forget about events, focus on your responses.
- Forget about what's missing, focus on what's available.
- Forget about your complaints, focus on your gratitude.
These were written for individuals, but a lot of organizations could benefit from this advice, too. How many companies, schools and nonprofits are operating primarily from a place of fear and anxiety, rather than a place of optimism? It feels to me like there's a lot for us to unlearn and forget so that we can focus on the important things that will move us out of our fears and into a brighter future. I have some forgetting to do myself right now.
Photo via BGLewandowski