Ailing From a Sick Economy?


There are no guarantees in life, and this includes career and financial stability.

One way to face problems, say experts, is to embrace them as our friends. Author Jane Honeck (The Problem With Money? It's Not About the Money!) emphasizes that if you dwell on negatives of the economic downturn — even if commiserating with like-minded friends about similar problems — you become stuck and risk missing out on unexpected or unplanned opportunities.

Much of our anxiety on money comes from the mass of messages we hear on the news or read on the Internet, and we let that fatalism feed into our fears, says Honeck. "I advise people to shift their focus away from the sense of loss and toward using their newfound spare time to pull together a picture of where they want to head in the future."

This way, "you go into problem-solving mode and develop a mentality to work toward those goals. When you do this, you feel energized and will notice anxiety falls away, because you are generating forward movement rather than keeping yourself stuck."

Honeck suggests a simple list of steps people can use to get themselves out of financial paralysis and into building new money muscles:

· Share feelings with someone and get their perspective. Without shared perspective, she argues, we magnify negative speculation. With sharing, things become more balanced.

· Stay in the moment: Did you make it through yesterday, last week, last month? Staying in the moment and not getting too far ahead of yourself puts a stable foundation back in place.

· Be honest about what is at the base of your concern; today's financial fears keep us worrying about things we can't change. Become empowered by transforming those we can.

· Take the next step; keep your eye on your financial goals, shifting from emotion to motion.

Michael Y. Brenner, a business coach and consultant based in Jeffersonville, Pa., looks to Abraham Maslow — the late founder of humanistic psychology and the "hierarchy of needs" — to pinpoint why it is often so hard for so many people to shake a victim mode.

When a source of income falls away, the famous psychological pyramid espoused by Maslow is primed to topple, he contends. One of the reasons why people are so upset about the current economy it that it threatens their ability to satisfy even their most basic physiological needs at the bottom of the pyramid, he explains.

The next level up involves security of self, family, property –all threatened by a lack of financial stability — followed by esteem needs, which include achievement, self-respect and respect of others.

The bottom line, he says, is that the erratic, confused state of the economy does compromise our ability to satisfy basic needs.

The solid common-sense economic message of What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired! by sisters Tina Pennington and Mandy "has numerous time-management lessons," says Williams-Black, "but one that seems to make sense to everyone is that they may find the time of day influences their scheduling.

"Everyone seems to know when they are most productive, but rarely take that into consideration when they are planning their day," she concludes.


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