I spent part of the week in Chicago, and had had the privilege of spending some quality time discussing the current situation with a group of experienced traders and industry professionals. A couple of things struck me immediately.
- First, even these pros were rattled by the state of the economy and the prospect of recovery taking longer than expected or wanted.
- Second, even for those in the room who had well-crafted theories about why they were expecting an intermediate-term rally, it didn't take much discussion for them to admit the same sense of uncertainty that others have expressed.
- Finally, and most importantly, once the obligatory fear, uncertainty, and doubt talk was on the table – the conversation quickly turned to the best ways to make money in this environment.
Are Times Uncertain – Or Is It You?
I also went to a Strategic Coach quarterly planning session this week. Not surprisingly, the topic was primarily about best practices during uncertain times. Dan Sullivan recounted that many of his clients expected a tough year, but still expected a recovery to follow that. Then, he posed these questions.
- How long will this turmoil last?
- What if the recovery doesn't come as quickly or as fully as you hope or expect?
- What if things stay like this?
- Who do I have to become for this to be okay?
Good questions, and it made me think:
Mastery isn't measured by the number of bad things you eliminate …
but by the number of times you eliminate calling them bad.
Many of our biggest innovations or course corrections took place after a seemingly disastrous occurrence or bad thing happened. That's why lots of psychologists and self-help gurus encourage people to focus on the hidden gift that many of these experiences provide.
Examining several instances from my past, I came up with this list of the seven steps I use to transform almost any situation.
Seven Best Practices for Uncertain Times.
- Accept Reality: We are where we are. Focus on being complete with what happened before this; and think about this as a new beginning with an even bigger future.
- Do Something Positive: Take action and build momentum and confidence. Big wins are great. Yet, in scary times, even small items are worth noting and building upon.
- Take Care of Yourself: Increase your physical activity, meditation and massage. This is the time to eat and sleep well. Many studies show decision-making suffers when you're stressed. Taking care of yourself goes a long way to making a lot of other things better.
- Communicate More: The natural tendency is to hide or to recuperate in private. Instead, be open and receptive to help and ideas from friends, partners, or wherever it comes from.
- Creative Destruction: The old game and the old ways of thinking are over. Shift energies to what is working.
- Increase Your Options: It often takes a different level of thinking to solve a problem than the level of thinking that got you into the problem. So, be open to new opportunities and new possibilities.
- Choose a Bigger Future: Instead of resigning yourself to playing small and doing with less, recognize that the clearing creates the space for something even better. Choose what you want, plan it and stick to your process.
They say everything happens for a reason. The secret is that you get to choose the reason, what it means to you, and what you're going to about it. Choose well, and someday you could look back on this time as one of the best things that ever happened to you.