Model Citizens Magazine

How to Start Your Life Over after a Crisis. Featured Story Sept 2020 Model Citizens Magazine

Eventually the quality of our society will be judged in history by the care we give to each other, not just on a local basis, but on a “country by country basis”. This is the first generation of the world to be living closer to three quarters of a century to a century. Most or at least at some point in our old age we become just as dependent on our societies as we once were on our own families. Not only when we “return to the cradle” in our older age, but also during the crisis we know we are going to have to face in life. From injury to disease, even world wide pandemics. 

We could throw in their global warming, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, poverty, recessions and depressions, but at the end of the day learning that crisis are a part of life, no matter how much you plan or save, one day you can find yourself out of resources. You may even be limited in your ability to work, and have to choose what are the bare necessities you need in order to live. To put my health first and everything else on hold is not in any way easy. It seems that not only are our societies aware of this, but now this has become the most important aspect of politicians and the political system in the united states. How far are we going to go even taking advantage of others to get what we want. Isn’t that supposed to be a better quality of life for all of us? For our  families! So how do we get there. 

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately what we have learned by this pandemic and EVERYTHING that has surfaced as a result, is that we are clearly dependent on each other. The Me, Myself, and I has really become (maybe since the first time since world war II) the we. The us, the entire American Society is so connected online that it has enhanced our ability to communicate with each other and learn that we have a voice, a real voice. (when we are not being censored) I believe as a result there are two distinct rules of thought.

One is the belief that,  “Why should my work disproportionally be taxed to support your lack of work or even your refusal to work” and on the more compassionate side of the equation, we all know that there is risk, we should have national systems in place for them, for everyone.  We know that our country and our society will be judged by the quality of life we give to each other, and the quality of life we leave to our children. Right now we are lacking in the area of health care for the middle class and how and what quality of life you are entitled to at least in the eyes of many of the lower income part of our society. In many cases even the middle class and lower upper class. Or are we truly in the era of entitlement? The debate goes on….

Aren’t both of those items so important that they “Trump” everything else? That same voice in our society will point to the fact that only 3 people billionaires have more wealth than half of the entire population of the United States. They say that something is wrong with the tax system or the way in which we use those tax dollars. Some would say that there is too much being spent on the military. While others would say that the wealthy should be paying a great deal more in their share of the taxes to support this. The position that “ the wealthy have a much better way of life because of the system we have in place” so why shouldn’t they pay more has been around since the beginning of the recognition of classes in society.

No matter how you cut it, that argument between the have’s and the have-nots has been going on throughout history. So you just have to be prepared for less compassionate governments and more compassionate governments. I do believe that the government has done a great deal and has shown its value even more than it every has. Even to the point where society may again realize just how important a functional government is.  So how do we rate?  How do you get through those crisis in between the safety net we put in place for ourselves and the extent to which our governments assist us, and the in-betweens?

Well you learn how to survive and make the most out of the least. Most have families that they can turn to, but what happens in those extraordinary circumstances like when their are pandemics? Ok so I gather I have set the stage to share that even with families, societies safety net, your own safety net, you are just on your own. It is you and you alone and you need to have that SOS plan in place. You many need to drastically reinvent yourself or even just start over working from home or even becoming self employed. Self employment or entrepreneurial existence is terrifying to most but now in an age where there is relatively NO JOB SECURITY at all what’s the difference? 

The “connected world” is the best thing to happen to poverty and crisis moments to the self employed and entrepreneur. Use the library as it has a ton of resources and the library staff is always extremely helpful. Go to Starbucks and make sure you have business cards out all over your desk. Bring your laptop and put in a full ‘social day” of course ware a mask but when all shit hits the fan and you are getting new clients you need to use every excuse for human contact for business. If you can not get out in person, or do not feel safe, work from home. Make calls every day, texts, emails, comments on social content, real time messaging is great for immediate responses. 

No matter what your preferred communication method, be active, extra active, and do not feel that you cannot ask for help. Ask for the opportunity you are seeking and share the value proposition and competitive advantage you have to offer quickly, passionately, and honestly. You would be surprised that even at times like this there are tasks and there is value you can create just by being willing and enthusiastic. 

If you are in a field or a position that simply is being replaced by automation and artificial intelligence, then it very well may mean it is time to re-evaluate. Time to reinvent your business and at times even a time to reinvent yourself. 

PLEASE do not panic and do not let fear drive your decisions and make sure to have faith in yourself. Take time to ground with nature and to walk, plan, and get feedback from those you trust the most. Let your friends, family, and immediate trusted network know that you are thinking about making a big change and let them act as your sounding board and focus group. When you have a product or service you want to put yourself behind see if anyone in those networks will actually use that product or service, how much they would pay, and what resources you need in order to launch. Obviously most cannot start over in a capital intensive service or product so be smart as to what you are planning on doing. Makes sure you keep capital for additional emergencies or for life true necessities. 

Believe it or not many who have quit their jobs or who have been furrowed are making a living doing things as simple as dog sitting and walking. Others are using their skills in the same field to freelance and help the thirty-million plus unemployed start their own businesses or run support systems for new entrepreneurs. The idea is to hang your shingle all over the internet and be authentic and only promise what you can deliver. Make authenticity, honor, actual value, and flawless execution your passion. Be as perfect as you can and always do what you say you are going to do. 

If and when you actually make a mistake take ownership of it. Try to do almost everything yourself and if you need your own vendors or support people make sure you are on a “pay as we go” plan without major financial commitments up front. Pay a little more if needed to have the flexibility of only paying for what you need. And for GOD’s sake be careful with the promises of marketing companies and social media marketing companies as you can do it yourself, you just need to put in the work and get world class content created for you. Great content is worth its weight in gold to new businesses. 

Even if you are in a medical emergency, you can work from your hospital bed. Trust me I did. 

In between do not be afraid to invite yourself for dinner with your family, to give business cards to everyone you know, to use trade and barter to offset expenses, and to pay it forward.  Yes, those are all modern tools in building a new business, and some as old as trade and commerce themselves.   

No matter what your crisis remember to live in gratitude. There is no better “medicine” for fear, uncertainty, and anxiety, as gratitude. The more you are grateful for what you do still have or haven’t lost, the better you will feel during the times of added stress and uncertainty. 

Crisis are an opportunity to grow, to face adversity, to prove to yourself that you are more resilient and capable than you might have ever thought. Do not let the challenges get you down. And when it is your time to pay your bills do not re-negotiate after the fact. No one likes to do business with people or individuals who cheat others. You may think you are simply negotiating but those who negotiate from stress after the fact never get referrals, are quickly put aside by others and burn bridges over time. 

If your clients cannot pay let them pay over time, let them do sales or business development to pay you, or let them trade something of value. Be Creative, be fair, be calm and make it happen!  

John Dowling Interviews- Jones Beach Long Island West End II

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