Thinking Beyond a Financial Rut

With the unfavourable prevailing economic conditions, people are undergoing a lot of stress. And if you live in Alberta then it has been magnified by ten fold so how do you think beyond this situation? The 2015 recession is going to leave its mark – in more ways than one and it’s not correcting itself anytime soon. In recent news, the major oil companies are now starting to lay people off. If you’ve been following the news, then you know it’s been an extremely crucial time for businesses, families, our children’s future, our parents who are going into retirement and much more. Suicide counts have gone up, crime rates have soared, foreclosures happening left right and centre, people are depleting their savings and RRSPs leaving them with major retirement setbacks, divorce has increased and because of this stress people’s health are being jeopardized and the only way to numb the pain is with a cocktail or four. Liquor stores have hit record profits and are busier than ever. This is not Alberta’s first rodeo and it is definitely not the last.

Through rose coloured lenses it has also proven to be a time of realization and blessings. It’s a time of creativity, uncovering new talents, new ventures, new visions, people are being forced to skill-up in completely different industries, and people are being forced to let things go – literally. There’s a saying that when you keep buying things you don’t need, one day you may have to sell things you do need. Economic contractions will always prove who was prepared and who didn’t prepare as well who lived beyond their means and who saved for a rainy day.

People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. When times are good, most people don’t think about planning for the what-ifs, they assume they are safe under the guise of a boss and one stream of income or all their skills in one industry. For some, it has been a difficult battle with Ego; however, for many it has been an extremely humbling time in their lives. Below are a few things that you can do to get through a difficult financial time and set yourself up so that when the inevitable business cycle comes around again you’re safe and in total control.

JOURNAL: Blue ink, white paper, 20 minutes. Psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker of the University of Texas discovers that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes and is a great benefit to your mind and heart. It helps clarify things, reduces stress, solves problems, gets your creativity juices flowing and allows  you to dream again. Go into your core, dig deep and write down your dreams, what you’re passionate about, and what you want your life to look like. If money was no object what would you do? Pain will also motivate you so write down some of the pain that you’re experiencing and what it’s costing you and your family by not being proactive or not having enough money saved during these hard times. Make your list compelling enough that you take one second to decide that enough is enough.

ALWAYS IMPROVE/RE-TOOL: The more you learn, the more you earn and as a result, self-improvement is a major key to your competitive advantage and market share. The world around us is constantly evolving and adapting and so should you to best hedge against future risk. Success is never achieved by staying idle; you’ve got to adapt and overcome challenges around you. When you’re proactive instead of reactive you have the power and are in total control, never blaming external factors for your happiness or unhappiness ever again. When times are tough you need to unleash the leader from within.

OPEN YOUR MIND: When you have an open mind your world flourishes, you free your mind from limiting thoughts, change happens, you’ll have less arguments with people and the need to always be right and that will allow you to have more fun. To absorb new ideas you need to get rid of old ways of thinking and equip yourself with new thoughts and be open to new opportunities. If what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working for you, stop holding on to it just because of the time you’ve invested. How much more time do you want to invest in something that isn’t working for you? Times have changed and so has the way people do business, raise children, purchase things, have relationships, etc. Un-condition to recondition – “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” Bruce Lee. You are what you think and it’s not about what you want to do or you limitations to what you can do it’s about what you want your life to look like.

MAKE MORE MONEY: It amazes me how people dig themselves into a deeper financial hole as they wait for opportunity to knock. Downsizing and changing your entire style of living is what some must do; however, your lifestyle should never be indexed by the economy. Be grateful and aware that you’ve been blessed with the power of choice, an abundance of tools and the ability to change your state with these incredible powers – become a chess player instead of a chess piece. Do whatever it takes to put food on the table and to ensure that you retire with dignity and never again have to go through hardships. Be open to new opportunities, and know this well – you do NOT know everything. One of Sir Richard Branson’s famous quotes: “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.” If you say no before checking things out, you may be missing out on a life-changing opportunity.

HAVE A FINANCIAL COACH: Your finances should not be complex. A good financial coach takes the time to sit with you and educate you to the right path for your financial goals and needs. How can you be sold a product if you don’t know what your financial independence number (FIN) is? Financial coaches can assist with the emotions that investors go through especially through challenging times like these. But most of all, you need to get a grip of your own emotions, seek professional help and find the people that are genuinely there to help you and not just make a buck from you. Learn, adapt, and keep reinventing yourself. Even when things are good the key is to constantly educate yourself, research, ask questions, figure out new ways, keep up to date on the markets and that way you can be in total control of your economy.

And most of all, BE GRATEFUL because someone else out there will always have it worse than you.

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