Sometimes there is no way out - but there is a way through;
The dawn of the great recession in America for the housing and development industry was July of 2006. I can still remember the eerie feeling that came when the calls for new business literally stopped and existing contracts began melting in value by the millions. By the spring of 2007 I realized that, in comparison to all the past downturns I had seen in 25 years in business, this one was very different. Still I was confident that a turnaround would show up as it always had. By late 2007, on one of my walks around the neighborhood, the realization came to me that there would be no turn around big enough and soon enough. There was no way out of this one.
Our business, though very healthy financial for the last 15 years, was also very complex and tied to everything that the economy was about to regurgitate. In good times it would have taken about 4 years to land the plane and bring the business enterprise to a complete and pleasant stop. In bad times, when suddenly a huge portion of your assets are worth less, and some are even worthless, there is no way to know how much time it will take to unravel it all. You can’t see the end from where you stand. That was five years ago. Here is what I learned.
1. There is no way out of these things, but there is a way through them. We really don’t like pain and hard things. They hurt. We resist them with everything in us. Unfortunately for us, we miss the value they bring when we resist them. The way through is a growing and learning time that will work valuable things in us that cannot be obtained any other way. Trying to get out of them means missing out on the person you can become for going through.
2. Face the fear and make a plan. Make a list of the things you fear. All the bad things you think will happen. Write them down whether they are foreclosure on your house, bankruptcy, embarrassment, lawsuits, angry creditors etc. Then write next to them what you would do in the event that they happen. You will notice that there are solutions and that life will go on. Now put that plan in a drawer and have the confidence that if the worst happens, you have a plan and you can stop worrying about it.
3. Get on offense. You need a new plan to succeed and the excitement that goes with it. Your mind, emotions and attitude need this. Find the new career or start the new business. Be positive and look for positive things. Things are bad and you can’t just forget about them, but every time the fear shows up remember that you have a doomsday plan, and can execute it anytime. Most people run to the bunker and hide there until things get better. That is the best time to take advantage of the job market or an entrepreneurial venture, when the competition is in mental lockdown.
4. Attitude matters. Realize that your worst day as an American or someone in a developed country is still 100 times better than most of the world’s best day. Realize that God has blessed us way beyond anything we could ever deserve. Realize that you have things way more valuable than money and work on being grateful for them. Nothing will cheer you up like encouraging your forlorn friends, helping someone that is destitute, giving more to God and His mission, and spending more time with your family. By the way, your kids are watching and learning how to deal with adversity from you.
5. Learn a lesson about wealth. Wealth is not how much money or net worth you have accumulated, it’s your ability to earn. Check out Deuteronomy 8:18 if you want to know where that ability comes from and why you have it. Losing all your money or possessions but still having the ability to earn is not as scary as you think.
Finally, remember that God is in control of all the events of the life of a Christian and He wants to do more in us than for us. Learn to praise Him and thank Him for every event that comes along knowing that He is working all things together for our good.