This is a defining moment for us as a society, but it is also a defining moment for you as an individual. You can give up like everyone else, or you can see that when everybody else is giving up, there is a huge window of opportunity for those who have the courage to persevere.
What that means is you run ten times faster than you have ever run, knowing that it is your moment to break from the pack and win. Think about it. If everyone else is wallowing in negativity, their performance is going to stink. If you don’t buy into that defeatism, you can create a moment of tremendous success. Few companies are doing zero business. Make it your business to go after what opportunity exists.
If you aren’t in sales but are in a company that is stalling, you can use this as a moment to expand your skills set and pitch in to help solve problems or lead others through crisis. Whatever you learn will help you later on, so this is really a chance to grow and shine. There are three options when things begin to sour: 1) Give up 2) Follow the leader 3) Take the lead. Who will collect the rewards once the tough times pass? The one who showed courage and vision and was relentless in trying to make a difference.
These tough times will pass. They will. The more we buy into the negativity, the easier it becomes to believe that our nation is moving into the dark ages and the prosperity we’ve always known is gone forever. It is not. Things will turn around eventually. Better days are coming.
The question is, are you banking on some politician or the government or the winds of change to make things better for you, or are you banking on yourself – the one part of the equation that you can actually control?
Look around. Be visionary enough to see where you can make the difference that will either propel you financially or give you more experience or clout to help you later on.
Shut down the negativity. If you see bad times, you will experience bad times. You don’t have to live in a world of make-believe, but put the negativity off to the side and train yourself to always see the opportunities that arise out of adversity. Be first on the scene to grab those opportunities.
Work harder than you have ever worked. Whatever you were doing before won’t be enough if you want to profit from these challenging times. If you were already overworked, you may roll your eyes at this suggestion, but don’t. All of us have been through times when we have had to exert Herculean effort in order to either make a deadline or master some challenge. This is a time for that kind of effort.
Stand out. By working harder, delivering excellence and taking the lead, you are a valuable player – either to your current boss or to some other company that is looking for good talent. Those who blend in risk being dumped on when there is more work to assigned or cut when cuts are called for.
Be seen as part of the solution – not the problem. That makes you valuable to others who can’t lead alone.
Overdeliver. You don’t want to be seen as below average, because you will be punished for it. You don’t want to be seen as average, because you’ll be dumped on and pushed until you are viewed as valuable. “Above average” is good, because the powers that be will, at least, think twice before messing with you. But, if you are seen as consistently excellent and productive, you will emerge as a go-to person who will help create a stronger future for your company.
Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books, including an Oprah pick. She speaks to corporations and organzations on courageous and creative leadership strategies that she learned through her personal interviews with more than 200 world-famous leaders.