As I turned on the news this morning to check the weather the first sound bite I heard, "The political season is off and running. The contenders are no longer throwing mud at the President but are now taking shots at each other. We can expect the flurry to continue."
Boy, on top of the hurricanes, tropical storms, and earthquakes on the East Coast and fires in the South, the economy and news of a divisive political race, (which seems to be the norm these days), it is enough to leave you shaken.
Here is what I am telling my clients and network now.
The economic situation: All the money has not been sucked out of the universe. Money is still changing hands. Customers still need your services. If you step back and hold your breath, you will create a self fulfilling prophecy to support your belief that no one is buying.
The climate and natural disasters: Yes, crazy things are happening in the world. Now is the time to be prepared. 1. to take care of yourself and your family, 2. to take care of your neighbors. It is in the times of shaking that we are reminded we are all on this planet together. You get to decide if you are going to be the one who needs taking care of or one that will reach out and help others.
The political environment (which consequently effects our economy and outlook): Left, Right, Liberal, Independent, Tea Party, Conservative...labels we take up or put on others to separate, assign value or blame depending on where we personally align. We've degraded this benefit of living in a democracy so it divides us rather than unites us. I would hope that whatever your political views you have sound reason for choosing them and could discuss them dispassionately and ultimately agree to disagree with others who do not share your point of view. Imagine if we all could take this approach and play fairly how different each political season would be. We are all in this together. I challenge you to listen to another's point of view without judgement. Do it again. And again. You could be the change you wish to see in the world. (I think someone said that already. -Ghandi)
Being grounded during times of shaking means having faith and personal accountability.
Faith is defined as "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see*."
Todd Smith, author of "Little Things Matter"defines Personal Accountability as follows:
It’s about you holding yourself accountable.
When you take 100 percent responsibility for holding yourself accountable, your performance will improve, your relationships will flourish, your market value will soar, people’s respect for you will skyrocket, you will be a great example for others to follow, and your self-esteem will grow. (Excerpt from this blog post.)
This is true regardless of the circumstances. Todd talks about this ability in terms of achievement. I'd like to view it from its benefits of providing a sense of being grounded. When you take 100% personal responsibility for your life, you shift the locus of control from external (what happens to you) to internal (what you do with it). Mastering this ability will serve you well in EVERY area of your life, in EVERY season, and EVERY circumstance.
Faith is believing in things hoped for. What do you hope for? Can you hold yourself personally accountable to do the things YOU can do to make a difference?
In conclusion, when the world shifts...
economically: Your customers need you to be the voice of reason. To take the long term view of trends and help them through this season. Step into the void that is created when your competitors step back.
physically: Your neighbors need a hand. Reach out. Next time you are at the store pick up something for the food bank. Even one or two things. Shopping at a department store? Pick up blankets on sale. Everyone reading this blog has the ability to give either of their time or resources. Do it today.
politically: Don't let someone's political persuasion divide you. Choose to see the good in all parties and people then decide to make the best of any outcome. It's time like these that strengthen our EQ** (Emotional Intelligence).
Don't let fear shake you. Have faith and take action.
*Hebrews 11:1, NIV*
*Emotional intelligence (EI) is an ability, skill or, in the case of the trait EI model, a self-perceived ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups -Wikipedia