Let’s All Maintain Our Perspective

Posted 11.14.2008

So what was it yesterday, like a 700 point swing in the Dow as the market dropped 150 at one point and then closed up 550 in the last couple of hours?  Meanwhile, jobless claims are high and expected to go higher, the U.S. auto industry is on the ropes and the list goes on.  It can all take your breath away if you let it.  It’s easy to get mired in the belief that it’s always going to be crazy.

Great Depression newspaper headlines  Maybe so.  But, when you think about it, crazy times are what we’ve lived through our whole lives.  Same thing with our parents and grandparents (and theirs too).  I had two great reminders of this with clients this week.

The first was on Wednesday during one of our Next Level Leadership® group coaching programs.  Our executive guest speaker was a senior vice president in a computer services company who did a terrific job of sharing what he’s learned over the course of his career.  With a lot of humor, he observed that there are always crises and he’s noticed that they fall into three categories.  There are weekly crises that are usually resolved by Friday afternoon.  There are monthly crises which might extend from one week to another and there are annual “near death experience” crises that are the all hands on deck, stop the  presses crises.  Two points from my SVP friend:  1.  Crises are always with us.  2.  We always live through them.

1908100633_5cb5d51fc5_m The second perspective builder came with a senior executive client in a financial services firm.  During a quick break in our meeting yesterday.  I noticed that he had what looked like three rather old magazines on his credenza.  Two of them were copies of TIME magazine and one was a Newsweek.  The cover stories were “Banks in Trouble,” “The Deficit Blackhole” and “The Energy Crisis.”  In addition to dealing with economic issues, what each of these issues had in common was that they were published in 1984!  My client’s wife had insisted that he clean out his belongings from their attic last weekend and he had found these historical artifacts.

 What is it the French say? Plus ça change, plus c’ est la même chose.  (The more things change, the more they remain the same.)  The next time you find yourself feeling gloomy about the long term prospects, remember that you’ve been through tough times before.  It’s all about what you do during the tough times that ensures your success in the good times.  They will be back.