Did You Hold Up Or Fold Up?


I hear a whisper that the recession is almost over. I think we all thought this was going to be more depression than recession, so a huge sigh of relief all round that we seem to have come out of the doom and gloom fairly quickly. (Fingers crossed).

My 2 questions are:

1.    Did we learn anything so we won’t get into the same mess again?
2.    Did we use the time wisely to toughen up; sharpen up; smarten up?

I’m at that age and stage where I have seen several recessions. I personally refuse to subscribe to them. Yes my income as a speaker/HR consultant tends to be affected for a few months – but I quite enjoy the time to clear out the cupboards, tidy my filing cabinet, dust off the shelves and catch up on the mountain of reading matter that piles up in a dusty corner of a my office. It’s good for my mind and my spirit – though not so great for the bank balance – but that’s OK – some things are actually more valuable than money. And time to reflect is one of those incredibly valuable things.

So did you hold up?

Did you use the time to do some of those things you had been putting off? If you are a sole trader, did you decide that this was a great time to look at your next new products or services so that when things improved you were ready to hit the road running? Did you use the time to catch up with clients or take friends who had just been made redundant out for a cheer-up coffee? Or were you one of the people who actually became a casualty of the down-sizing? For which I would say ‘that’s sad’ and ‘YEAH – fantastic!’ What do you want to do next?  Is this a great time to learn some new skills – to prepare for something completely different – would you like to revitalize your life with a completely different career path – or how about that dream you’ve always had to write a book?

Sadly as humans we tend to get sucked into the ‘boom and bust’ emotion that happens with alarming regularity every 7 years or so. We let outside forces affect our health and relationships and sense of ‘self’. We hand our power over to some greater force and let it shape our mood and our life.

I confess, I fell into the pity pot when I experienced my first economic downturn. I’d only just started my own business and went round worrying and fretting doing my ‘woe-is-me’ rant. Fortunately I had salted away a few dollars (a really good idea if you are a sole trader), so I didn’t starve and I didn’t have to start selling my jewelry; though my kids were on the short list for anyone willing to make me a ‘knock-down offer’. Only joking.

Or did you fold up?

Did you give up; quit; put it all in the too-hard basket? If you were made redundant, did you take things personally and say ‘Why me?’ Or if you had just started your own business, did you throw in the towel; close the doors and say ‘It wasn’t the right time’ or ‘I never have any luck’ or ‘I knew it wouldn’t work’?

The Dalai Lama says ‘Easy times are our enemy, they put us to sleep. Adversity is our friend, it wakes us up.’

What did you do? Did you wake up?

There is a wonderful clip on Youtube called ‘Are you going to finish strong’ check it out. If you watch this you will never again go to a pity party or think life isn’t fair. Life is totally fair – we get back exactly what we put in. Simple as that.

Will YOU finish strong?


Ann Andrews CSP specialises in working with high performing teams and showing managers how to deal with poor performance.

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