I am loving this business boom. Yet it feels like everyone is jumpy about the economy; I have not forgotten what’s it like to be laid off from a job where you’ve been a consistent high performer. [I was going to quit academentia, anyway.]
The time to fill your pantry (and wine cellar) is before they announce that schools are closing for bad weather. The time to hit the Last Call Sale is before it’s announced to the public. The time to buy tickets to Hamilton is far far far in advance.
It’s about being over-prepared or antifragile, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb put it.
What actually can a person do to prepare for economic downturn or the next “black swan”? Obviously build your savings and diversify your investment portfolio. Here are some proven suggestions about what you can do to prepare that do not involve money. Take these and add a dash of your own personality, talent, and flourish.
1. Your community is your cushion.
Take care of your community (or “network”), building a reputation of what you’re known for and reaching beyond your company and network.
Schedule a monthly luncheon or happy hour. Send notes. Send video email. Send cards. Create your own newsletter and send it out quarterly.
Keep track of the people you meet. Connecting on LinkedIn is helpful. Keeping your own records of what people in your community are up to is much better. That way when someone is looking for a job, for example, you can scan your list of people to see who could use this person’s expertise.
2. Ability is a form of wealth.
Descriptions for jobs in the future have not been written yet. Keep yourself sharp by marking off “learning time” on your calendar. Learning has never been easier: blogs, podcasts, youtube…not to mention all the courseware. For maximum effect, advance your technical skills AND your soft (power) skills.
Being a beginner is such a cool feeling and the new thing you learn usually helps you in the areas where you’re already an expert.
Attend events – inside your industry and out – from time to time. They are exhausting but exhilarating at the same time.
3. People love innovative events.
I was recently in Atlanta and attended a very cool event put on by Media Frenzy Global and MKTG. They put together a panel for what was called PRreimagined: SuperBowl Edition / Brands that Are Winning and featured marketing and event experts from MKTG, Surthrive, Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee and Mercedes-Benz.
The Renaissance-like mix of people came from different industries and discussion circled around brand stories, experience, authenticity…and of course, data.
Panels are fun to put together. Create the event you would like to attend and then invite everyone you know.
4. Be a dopamine dealer.
Great turn of phrase, right? I stole it from Bushra Azhar, who correctly identifies this neurotransmitter as the “Kim Kardashian of molecules”.
Dopamine hits make us feel good. You want people to associate good feelings with YOU so make the habit of asking good questions, being funny, cultivating your enthusiasm, calling people by their names….or even sending gifs (or gifts) to people. This is where you get to tap in and develop your creativity.
5. Stand out in the field.
What makes you different? Better? More interesting? The same questions that companies have to answer over and over again, are the same questions recession-proof leaders ask of themselves.
The success strategy you used to get where you are today, now requires new polish, energy, enthusiasm, flourish, and intensity.
They say the devil is in the details. Not that Satan is involved but you do need to pay attention. While your performance is always limited by constraints beyond your control, your success is not limited. It’s up to YOU to maximize what’s in front of you to become recession-proof, objection-proof and disaster-proof.