And then there are those who literally have nothing. Zero. No job, the cushion bank account is gone. No house. Soon no car. Families moving in together, out of state, out of country. For those who have tapped every network, every connection, applied to every job and still ending up with nothing…well it is mighty tough to stay optimistic. But that is what I want to talk about. Optimism. If your back is pushed right up against the wall and there is nowhere to go, one of two things happens. You survive. Or you don’t. And the human animal has an incredible will to survive. So, let’s, for a second, imagine that you are that 45 year old, 50 plusser, 65 and counting, and you know in your gut that you likely will not get your next job. What the heck do you do? Most of us don’t die. We don’t choose to die. We choose to survive. And in that moment of the back up against the wall, in that spirit of survival, comes a spark of something. Creativity. Inventiveness. Determination. Call it what you will, but underneath it all is the optimism of survival. The knowledge that if you just keep on putting one foot in front of the other, you will actually end up somewhere.
I’m so inundated by email, I don’t usually read my “Oprah” e-newsletter, but today, a headline caught my interest and I hopped over to the personal finance page. And darned if there weren’t some good tips and pointers there that got MY juices flowing.
I started my own business because I knew that I would need to, one day. And every day, as I build that business, I feel optimistic, that it will continue to grow, as long as I keep moving in the right direction. So I understand, deeply and sincerely, every letter that I get from someone who finds themselves at the end of their employment rope — either knowing they will lose their job, or realizing that now they HAVE lost their job, the odds of finding another one are more than challenging right now.
My business wears two hats — one is consulting for small business. The other is a growing pet care business. The consulting lets me see where businesses WILL spend money right now. The pet care business shows me who is working really long hours to hold onto their jobs, who is travelling, and how people are vacationing. From the grass roots hill where I sit, I can feel the tinglings of the coming together of the Obama plan. Even though my own credit card company lowered the limit on one of my cards for no reason I can see (I have a top FICO score) and pay on time, in other areas credit is starting to loosen up. A house around the corner from me just sold. Another leased out. Both at fair market values. Clients are starting to travel again…not internationally, but regionally and even nationally. Housekeepers that were let go are showing up again. As well as small home renovations.
What goes down has to come back up again, just as what went up came crashing down. No one, no expert, really knows how to deal with all this mess. But putting one foot in front of the other, whether in a straight line, a zigzag or a curve, as long as you keep moving in a somewhat forward motion, you’ll get there. If you aren’t sure how to get that first step going, then see if you can pick up a few tidbits from this one article… a recession rescue plan from the always exciting,and almost eternally optimistic Suze Orman.
It is impossible for me to look out over my garden and see spring blossoming all around me without feeling the optimism of growth. In my book, true value lies in relationship, not wealth. An optimistic outlook brings family and friends together, gets the creative juices flowing, helps with networking and with opening the window on all potential. And putting your back into it, giving your future a good hard day’s work — either to secure your job, find your new job, or start a new business (and really — it doesn’t matter if you were an exec and have now started a company washing windows…green is green), feels very good, even if your goal keeps eluding you.
I guess I had an Oprah day.