Updated: Apr 29
Just Another Manic Monday
March 16, 2020 was dubbed "Black Monday," and marked the largest stock market crash in history. Crashes often cause a recession or, in the worst cases, a depression. This event heralded the W.H.O. announcement days later, declaring COVID19 a global pandemic.
September 15, 2008 was the last Black Monday. It also happened to be my first day on the job for a national news network. I also happened to be placed - for some inexplicable reason - in the "Money & Economics" bureau. That morning, Lehman Brothers had crashed, producers were sprinting across the fifth floor, and I was Googling "Macroeconomics for Dummies" and "Who are the Lehman Brothers?" We were all in over our heads. And little did we know that we had a front row seat to the largest economic meltdown in modern history. Until now.
In 2008, we saw the collapse of major financial institutions, entire industries, and smaller companies around the world. We saw housing bubbles burst, and insecurity skyrocket. College grads stepped off the stage and into the job market with zero prospects and six figure loans. It was a time of massive job loss, corporate downsizing, and widespread uncertainty. Jobs were being outsourced, automated, or completely eliminated. And it changed our economy forever.
This pandemic is going to change things in an unpredictable ways. But the important question here is, do you see change as a source of new opportunities, or as a threat to the expected security? And what is “security” anymore? A guaranteed future? A company that provides medical benefits, vacation time, a parking spot, and a retirement plan? Not anymore.
Change Is Inevitable
Change is inevitable. It is relentless and non-discriminating. But there are upsides of change. For many people, mergers, downsizing, firing, forced retirement, and other forms of unexpected changes in the workplace will served as a wake-up call for dreams that had flatlined.
Change, even if unwelcome, forces us to reevaluate our best options. Many of us will be given the opportunity to take a fresh look at “who am I and why am I here?”
And yes, change can be scary. But do you know what's scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving, and progressing. You can't control change, but you can always choose how you're going to respond to it.
Each transition in life (even if it’s unexpected or unwelcome) is a fresh opportunity to realign your daily actions with what matters most - your ability to grow and contribute effectively.
This is An Opportunity
These times of transitions are great opportunities to look for recurring patterns in your life and make adjustments to build on the good and reduce the bad. These patterns will serve as a compass, and provide a sense of continuity in the midst of inevitable job changes and workplace unpredictability.
Making the economy better won't guarantee your success. Making yourself better will. The unemployment figures, the economy, or frankly—who is in the White House—are all small factors compared to being a person that people know, love and trust.
This isn’t just your opportunity. It is your responsibility. You were made to spend your waking hours doing work that raises you to your highest potential and transforms the world around you for the better.
The process of looking inward hasn’t changed. It’s a proven process for finding your unique talents, creating clear focus, and then finding - or in our case, creating - the ideal application for meaningful, fulfilling, purposeful, and profitable work.
Take Control in a Tough Economy
So if security doesn't come from a job, a company, or a government check, where does it come from? General Douglas MacArthur describes security as, “our ability to produce.” It comes from knowing what it is you do well that adds value to others. In a word, 'entrepreneurship.'
Richard Branson explains that "entrepreneurship is turning what excites you into capital so you can do more of it; Jordan Raynor describes it as "taking a risk to create something new for the good of others"; and Lori Greiner explains that '"entrepreneurship is the way we take control of our lives in a tough economy."
It’s time to consider the changing models of work. The opportunities have not disappeared; they just look different. Thousands are apply legitimate work models that afford them creative freedom, meaningful impact, and extraordinary income. The severe shock to the workforce in 2008 fueled a surge in entreprenuership, and it is likely to do the same as we face the economic impact of COVID19.
The opportunities in today’s work environment are endless. If you have a laptop, you can build a business; if you have a smartphone, you can create a digital product; if you have wifi, you can reach a global audience. Now you just need to decide what kind of difference you're to make.
Creating Work That Fits
Creating the "work that fits" is a very personal process. And you can shape your choices to fit what you know about yourself. You get to choose what vehicle blends your personality, talents, and experiences. You get to figure out who are you uniquely positioned to serve, and what causes and communities you care about. This combination is in a word, your purpose.
The power of knowing your purpose acts as a compass through change. Popular writer Stephen Covey said the only way we can handle change around us is to know what is changeless about us. You need to be so familiar with that unchangeable core -knowing who you are, how you were gifted, and what you value. With that knowledge you can forge through change with clear direction and unshakeable purpose.
This process of finding 'work that fits' hasn’t changed. It’s a proven process for finding your unique talents, creating clear focus, and then finding - or creating - the ideal application for meaningful, fulfilling, purposeful, and profitable work.
This isn't a one-time event. Whether you're 18 or 86, doing fulfilling work requires an ongoing understanding of who you are, and who you’re becoming. If you know your strengths, you make a plan, and you stay focused, you'll always have a sense of confidence and stability, no matter what change, uncertainty, or plague is thrown your way.