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Success in Scary Times

Scary I'm a freelance consultant and for the past 10 years that's meant finding the delicate balance between getting the work done today that needs to get done and finding new work to do once my current projects are finished. People who work for organizations think that their situations are very different from mine, but in reality, the only difference is that I'm always aware of the fact that I have to constantly be looking for my next opportunity.

At the end of June, a few major projects of mine will be ending and I'm now in the process of trying to find new business to replace them. This is a scary thing, I don't mind telling you, especially when I'm the primary breadwinner and we're buying a new house at the end of the month. Work has always come to me, so on some deep level I have faith that it will all work out in the end, but in the meantime, there's a lot of angst going on inside me. After reading this article on the fourth straight month of job losses in the US and this one on Philadelphians pawning their valuables to buy food and gas, I know I'm not alone in my anxiety.

Fortunately, as a friend mentioned to me this morning, the universe has a way of bringing you what you need when you need it. This morning I found The Scary Times Success Manual via Pam Slim's Escape from Cubicle Nation. It's 10 tips that I think can serve us well in scary economic times, but also in other times of our life when we're gripped by fear and anxiety. In a nutshell, they are:

  1. Forget about yourself, focus on others.
  2. Forget about your commodity, focus on your relationships.
  3. Forget about the sale, focus on creating value.
  4. Forget about your losses, focus on your opportunities.
  5. Forget about your difficulties, focus on your progress.
  6. Forget about the "future," focus on today.
  7. Forget about who you were, focus on who you can be.
  8. Forget about events, focus on your responses.
  9. Forget about what's missing, focus on what's available.
  10. Forget about your complaints, focus on your gratitude.

These were written for individuals, but a lot of organizations could benefit from this advice, too. How many companies, schools and nonprofits are operating primarily from a place of fear and anxiety, rather than a place of optimism? It feels to me like there's a lot for us to unlearn and forget so that we can focus on the important things that will move us out of our fears and into a brighter future. I have some forgetting to do myself right now.

Photo via BGLewandowski


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I don't understand this recession stuff anyway. Last year, when things were supposedly going well, I had my worst year financially. This year, things are picking up.

When things were slow last year, I kept blogging and got some articles published. This year, that effort is paying off.

Good luck finding some new gigs and make sure your network knows what you're looking for.

I know I should only comment if I have something to add to the conversation but I don't, other to thank you for reminding me about these truths. I comment and break the rules or not comment at all? Have decided to comment and say 'thank you'. A very relevant reminder to me at the moment because I am prone to sink into a viscous cycle of negativeness.

It's important to keep a glass is half full philosophy especially in these days of doom and gloom reporting on everything from the economy to movie popcorn. Keep your mind positive and your options open, as what might now seem to be a "work" opportunity just might be one.

You're right Harold about the whole thing with "recessions"--and in fact one person's recession might be another person's golden age.

Sarah Stewart--I'm glad you commented. Don't take that "be sure to add to the conversation" too tightly. On my blog at least, "me too" adds to my conversations! :-)

And Sarah Curtis, thanks for reminding me to keep the "glass is half full" approach. I tend to be more of a pessimist, so part of the reason I write about these things is to remind myself not to sink into doom and gloom!

Scary times are also times of transformation. The challenge here is to both forget AND focus. Forgetting is the set-up and focusing does the heavy lifting. In every situation, there is something to say "yes" to beneficially and something we could negate at our own peril. When we focus on "yes", we bring very different ideas, possibilities and projects to our minds than when we "don't forget" what's wrong.

This use of our "abundance mentality" is valuable to others when they are depriving themselves of "yes" to the opportunities, changes and learning in their scary situation. They can benefit from our ability to transform their "cannot do that", "no way out of this", "gotta live with this problem" INTO "can do" and "gotta solution to try out". The way our minds work at focusing AND forgetting when we're around their negatives -- gives us work to do for others. This changes our minds in a way that changes our world of people who cannot forget their misfortune and do not focus on their immediate abundance. We create "times of transformation" and make it easy for others to join in.

Thanks for this - I found your blog via
and I really liked these 10 tips so thanks for passing it on! :)

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