By Seth Lusk
In the face of economic uncertainty and challenging times, such as a recession, it’s quite common for us to worry about the future and the impact it may have on our lives. It can feel impossible to not fall into worry, anxiety, or even panic. It feels even more difficult when everyone around you is slipping into reactions to panic, fear, and anxiety. This seems to be the case in these times, as politicians, economists, and social media influencers begin talking about the possibility of a recession in 2023.
So, today I want to talk with you all about recessions a bit. I want to offer you a new way of approaching the circumstances we are facing right now that will recession proof your mind, and life. By understanding recessions, and what is ACTUALLY happening in a recession, we can begin approaching a recession, or the prediction of one, in a way that makes us unstoppable in our growth, and movement forward. It might even propel you forward faster, and further than you have seen in your life before.
So, let’s talk facts first, because this is the first step to understanding any problem and solving it. We want to separate fact from beliefs, thoughts, conjectures, and stories. Keep in mind, as I have talked about before, that our brains live from stories that exist within the brain. Our brain is not good at living within reality, because it cannot process reality as it IS. It does a very good job of interpreting and processing information, in a very amazing way. But when we understand the FACTS of reality, we begin to see the bullet holes in the stories our brains live from, and can see that our brain has limitations that keep it from living in reality as it IS, and cause it to live from stories, or interpretations of that reality.
This is so important to see first, especially in times like this. You might be wondering why. The answer is both simple and complex. It is important to understand because it is important to see that what we are watching happen around us as people react to fear, anxiety, worry, or panic, we can see that they are reacting to an interpretation, or story, NOT to reality itself.
The fact is, that recessions happen regularly. They are not a fluke, or a sign that something is or has gone wrong. That is crucial to know. They happen regularly, and are necessary for a growing economy. A recession is basically how a growing economy checks itself, and resets itself to continue growing. You can think of this in terms of human cells.
When human cells grow and replicate, it is great. But there is a system of checks and balances. Older dysfunctional cells get removed and discarded to ensure space for younger healthy cells to grow and thrive. When the old dysfunctional cells are not removed, and are allowed to just continue replicating, we end up with disease in the body. In an economy, a recession is how the economy spots the old, dysfunctional cells that could hold back the economy as a whole from growing and thriving. A recession is the process of the economy removing those old cells, and making space for new healthy growth. A recession is a good thing!
Here is another fact for you. Recessions typically (on average) last between 10-12 months. This is NOT a long time in the grand scheme of things. Since the formation of the USA, the American economy has seen 48 recessions. As time goes on, they (on average) decrease in their duration. The economy is learning to identify, and slough off the dysfunctional a lot more effectively, and efficiently as time goes on. So, the dread of a recession causing permanent issues, can be put to ease. 10-12 months, and the economy picks back up into a cycle of rapid growth again.
One last fact that is crucial to this article, and its purpose is this… A recession is NOT happening right now. There is even debate of whether one will happen or not. But this is a future prediction, which means a story. It is not reality. So, we see people around us reacting as if something IS happening. But really they are reacting to other people’s reactions, and the stories they have about them. And seeing this might cause you to feel a bit confused or disillusioned, so I want to offer you something here.
Seeing this brings you so much power. It does this because when you realize that what other people are doing, and what you have the urge to do is react to a fictional story in the brain, you realize that you have the opportunity to make a decision. Where we have opportunity to make a decision, we have opportunity to create change in our life, and in life around us.
In this case, you have the opportunity to make the decision to slip into reactions to fear, doubt, anxiety worry, and panic. When a person does this, they slip into a part of the brain that is responsible for the fight or flight response. It is the smallest part of our brain, and is not capable of logical thinking. It is there to react with speed, using pre-programmed reactions.
In certain circumstances (you are being chased by a bear) this CAN benefit you. However even here, studies have shown that people who can avoid slipping into fight or flight reactions, and instead take action that might appear a little counterintuitive, end up with better survival results. But, say you can run fast enough to outrun the bear, your fight or flight response might come in handy here by causing you to react quickly, and with adrenaline induced strength or speed.
The issue is that in the modern world, we are rarely running from a bear. And in the case of a recession, or possibility of one, we are not running from a bear. We are facing a complex circumstance that asks of complex solutions, and therefore complex thinking to find those solutions. When we allow ourselves to fall into that fight or flight part of the brain, we miss out on those solutions, or opportunities.
As we watch the prediction of a recession create reactivity all around us, we feel the pull to slip into that part of our brain too. So, you might think that it would be the smart, reasonable thing to do to follow what those around you are doing, right?
But studies have shown how this sort of mod mentality ends up creating some disastrous effects later on when we realize that masses of people were reacting without thinking, and creating results that they did not even think about before creating them. People get trampled, people leave other people for dead who could have been saved, people heighten intensity of emotions like rage and create more violence, instead of diffusing it. Mob mentality is historically not the option we want to take.
So, why do we do it?
It goes back to our brain. Our brain is a biological organ. It is designed to try to fulfill urges that evolution has taught it will increase its chances of survival. And thousands of years ago when there was limited shelter, certainty, safety, or resources, what better way to increase those chances than to react as fast as possible to the possibility of danger with quick and intense action (screw everyone else… right?).
In the 21st century however, we have solved for a lot of what created the evolutionary demand for our brain to evolve in this way. Unfortunately, evolution does not work quickly, so our brains are thousands of years behind the reality of life as it is now.
One urge of our brain is the urge to feel connected. Connection means safety. Safety means survival. And one of the ways our brains attempt to connect with others is through shared emotions. What this means is that when we see people around us experiencing intense emotion, our brain urges us to connect with them by slipping into the same emotions, OR might urge us to strongly resist that emotion to increase chances of survival, and to try and get the other person to feel the emotion we want them to feel instead (connection).
When masses of people are all feeling a similar set of intense emotions however, the brain does not see the advantage of resisting that emotion, and trying to get the masses to shift. This could me rejection, and being left out of the group, and this could me the end of survival. So, when we see masses of people experiencing intense emotion, our brain urges us to follow along. Our brain gets to work fabricating a story about life that allows us to join in on the collective emotional experience.
Right now, that collective emotional experience is a lot of frustration, fear, anxiety, panic, worry, etc… And this means that either your brain already has urged you to follow, and created a story to help out… Or your brain is urging you to now, and you might not know yet what you are going to think about the situation.
Either way, you have power in being able to see that this is happening. It does not matter if you have already slipped into a worry, or panic inducing story. If you can see that you have, you have some power to shift what is happening. And today I want to suggest that shifting this, is your best option. This is the path to recession proofing your mind, and therefore life.
Instead of slipping into fear and anxiety, and reacting to it, there are proactive steps we can take to recession-proof our lives and continue on a path of personal growth and fulfillment. This article aims to provide valuable insights and practical strategies to help you navigate through recessions, or the possibility of one, while maintaining a sense of purpose and achieving your most fulfilling life.
During a recession, it’s crucial to adopt a growth mindset – the belief that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through decision and intention. This mindset shift allows you to view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than insurmountable obstacles. By focusing on personal development and continuous learning, you can build resilience and adaptability to thrive in any situation. You will also join the ranks of people who did extraordinary things when everyone else was reacting. These people seemingly did the “impossible”. The reality is, they just hit the pause button on reacting, and chose to see the circumstance in front of them as having possibility. And they got to work looking for it, where everyone else was running, reacting, and distracting themselves from the strong emotions they were feeling.
Embracing a growth mindset means being open to new possibilities, challenging your own beliefs and assumptions, and embracing the learning process as a steppingstone to success. It involves developing a curiosity and thirst for knowledge and opportunity even when everyone around you is suggesting there is not any. It means seeking feedback, and actively seeking opportunities to learn and grow, even when the seemingly obvious interpretation of life suggests that falling back, hiding, running, or escaping with distraction is your best option. By cultivating this mindset of growth, you position yourself to adapt and innovate, even in the face of economic downturns, like a recession.
Relying on a single source of income can be risky during a recession, especially when it is a source of income that some CEO who you have never even met (probably) is in charge of calling the shots for. Consider exploring additional income streams or diversifying your existing ones. This might involve starting a side business, freelancing, investing in stocks or real estate, or acquiring new skills that can lead to higher-paying opportunities. Having multiple sources of income provides a buffer against economic downturns and increases your financial stability.
Creating additional income streams requires careful planning and execution. Start by identifying your skills, interests, and market demands. Research potential business opportunities or investment avenues that align with your strengths and interests. Evaluate the risks and rewards associated with each option and develop a strategic plan for implementation.
I always find it interesting how people shy away from the idea of following their dream to start a business, or be self-employed. When I ask why, it is usually because of a fear of lacking security. They want a company to pay them a salary, and pay for their health insurance, etc… Somehow this appears on the surface as security. But again, this is a story, not reality.
COVID-19 pulled back the curtain on this one, as when the virus hit, and businesses had to shift their methods of staying in business, many employees were let go. The truth is, that many large companies operate like this. They are not even thinking about the individual employees, except maybe C-level executives. So, when life is life, and something unexpected happens, these C-level executives make decisions to keep the company afloat, not keep their employees employed.
Tell me… Does this sound like security? Because, to me it does not. But what does, is ME being in charge of the money I make, and what options I take to make it. It also sounds like security when I set up my own business to navigate financial down times in a way where I know I will still have business and therefore income. I will not let me go in times of economic downturn. I will get to work harder finding solutions. That is security, because I make the decisions, not some C-level executive who sees me as a number on their payroll graph.
This does not mean that you cannot work for a corporate company. I am not saying that at all. What I am saying, is that COVID-19 revealed to us the illusion of security in working for these companies. There is not any, not really. Not any security that you have power over.
So, work for them, but create security for yourself, not relying on someone else to provide it to you. That is real security. Build that dream business idea, and launch it. The certainty and security excuse does not work any more. And during times like a recession, these avenues of income security, are what you can turn to and create more opportunity, and solutions when the corporate world begins pulling back, and laying people off.
Building a strong financial foundation is essential for weathering economic storms. Evaluate your spending habits and identify areas where you can save money, by removing spending in areas where money is not serving to build what is truly important for you in life (think cheap distractions, and sources of short sighted pleasure). Create a budget, and establish an emergency fund to provide a safety net during challenging times. Seeking the guidance of a financial advisor can also help you make informed decisions and optimize your financial strategies. Working with a coach can help you establish a clear vision of purpose for your life, so you know in what direction you want to focus your finances, and how.
Financial planning involves setting both short-term and long-term goals, and this is why working with a coach to see your long term vision of purpose for your life is beneficial to your financial security, and growth. Start by assessing your current financial situation and developing a clear understanding of your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Create a budget that aligns with your financial, life purpose goals, and allows you to save for unexpected situation. Create a budget that aligns with purpose so that you can begin making investments that are aligned for your purpose, and future milestones.
Surrounding yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, coaches, and like-minded individuals (solution, and growth mindset oriented) can make a significant difference during uncertain times. Collaborate, share resources, and exchange ideas with others who are also striving for personal and professional growth. Share fears in environments focused on leaning in, and finding solutions; not eliminating the fear, resisting it, or hiding from it. Together, you can navigate challenges more effectively and provide each other with encouragement and motivation, and solutions that you alone might not consider.
Building a strong network requires active participation and genuine connections. Attend events, join professional associations, or engage in online communities where you can meet like-minded individuals. Seek coaches who can offer guidance and support based on their expertise, and insight. Remember to reciprocate and offer support to others within your network, as relationships are built on mutual trust and support.
Remember that the brain wishes to feel connected. So, while we do not want to connect with emotional reactivity, we can find people who are choosing to stay aware, conscious, and responsible during times of a lot of emotional reactivity. We can connect emotionally with those people, and seek solutions together.
Amidst economic turbulence, it’s vital to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Engage in activities that promote physical and mental well-being, such as regular exercise, meditation, quality sleep, and pursuing hobbies that bring you joy and relaxation. Taking care of yourself ensures you have the resilience and energy to tackle challenges head-on.
Prioritizing personal well-being means setting boundaries and allocating time for self-care activities. I want to provide some caution here though. It is common these days to see self-care as being about pampering, pleasure, etc…
Self-care is often NOT this. Self-care can feel challenging. It is about doing what is best for your life fulfillment, and purpose. It is not about escaping discomfort, or avoiding challenge or pain in life. When self-care becomes about pampering, and comfort, it can lead us to distracting ourselves from the truth of life. This leads us into a slippery slope that inevitably ends with emotional reactivity, and not exercising our power to make aligned, empowered decisions. During a recession, we want to stay aware, conscious, empowered, and making aligned decisions.
So, what kind of self-care am I talking about prioritizing here? Create a daily routine that includes dedicated time for exercise, and intentional relaxation (not escape or distraction), and pursuing activities that bring you joy (not temporary short sighted pleasure, that comes at a price later). Practice mindfulness and stress management techniques to maintain mental and emotional well-being. Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish but necessary for long-term success and fulfillment in life.
A recession can be a time of great innovation and transformation (I know this is not the popular way of seeing it). Look for emerging trends and industries that are thriving despite the economic downturn. Identify gaps in the market and consider how your skills and passions can be aligned with these as opportunities to step in and fill. Look for avenues of opportunity, that are difficult to access during times of speedy growth and competition. During a recession as everyone begins pulling back from these, often space is left open that is much more accessible. Take advantage of those spaces. Embracing change and being open to new possibilities can lead to unexpected avenues of success.
Exploring new opportunities requires a mindset of curiosity and adaptability. Working with a coach is going to help you understand how to cultivate that mindset, and call it forward when everyone around you is shrinking back, and shutting down into distraction due to fears.
Stay informed about market trends and emerging industries by reading industry publications, attending conferences, and engaging in continuous learning. Assess your own skills and consider how they can be applied in different contexts or industries. Be proactive in seeking out opportunities and connecting with individuals or organizations that align with your interests and goals.
Investing in your skills and knowledge is one of the best recession-proofing strategies. Working with a coach to be able to clearly see the skills and strengths you want to grow and focus on to build your most fulfilling life, is a great way to do this.
Stay updated with the latest trends and advancements in your field and acquire new skills that are in high demand. Work with a coach to help you cultivate that growth mindset and guide you to move into that process when your brain urges you to fall back and feel like it’s too risky to try to learn a new skill. This not only enhances your employability but also positions you as a valuable asset in a competitive job market. It also positions you to create more streams of income that YOU are in charge of, not your employer. Seek out online courses, workshops, or certifications to expand your expertise.
Continuous skill development requires a growth mindset and a commitment to lifelong learning. Identify the skills that are most relevant to your life purpose, industry, or desired career path and seek opportunities to acquire or improve them. Leverage coaching, online learning platforms, professional development programs, and industry-specific resources to enhance your skills and knowledge. Remember to apply what you learn through practical experience, and action (what coaches help with), and seek feedback to refine your abilities. This is a sure way to recession proof your growth.
While recessions may bring uncertainty and challenges, they also present opportunities for personal growth and transformation. By adopting a growth mindset, diversifying your income, prioritizing financial planning, cultivating a supportive network, focusing on well-being, exploring new opportunities, and continuously upgrading your skills, you can recession-proof your fulfilling life and thrive during challenging times.
Embrace the journey of personal growth and fulfillment, knowing that you have the power to shape your own destiny and create a life of meaning and fulfillment. Step out of the current of the societal mindset, and choose to be conscious, aware, aligned, and intentional about looking for opportunity while everyone else is ducking for cover. Change the course of your life to one that will ALWAYS move forward, even when the economy might slow down a bit to check itself.
Are you ready to recession-proof not just your finances but your entire life?
It’s time to take control of your future and create a clear vision of purpose that will guide you through challenges and financial uncertainty. As an authenticity coach, I specialize in helping individuals uncover their true purpose, values, vision, and goals for their life. By working together, we can develop a roadmap for your life that aligns with your authentic self, empowering you to navigate any storm with confidence and resilience. Don’t let circumstances dictate your path; instead, choose to be proactive and empowered. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together. Visit https://www.lifecoachseth.com to learn more about my authenticity coaching services and schedule a consultation. Invest in yourself today and embrace a future filled with purpose, fulfillment, and financial resilience.
Seth Lusk, Founder, and CEO of Authentic Life Connection: coaching services. He is also the podcast creator and host for the Authentic Life Connection podcast. He is a published author of the book What I really want is… But I’m Just too full of… . This book is available on Amazon for purchase. Seth is a Life coach as well. He works with clients one-to-one as well as in groups to help them create their most authentic and fulfilling life, from the inside out. Seth is also the founder and CEO of Lusk Holistic Health Services (the umbrella company for Authentic Life Connection: coaching services). Under this umbrella company Seth also provides guidance in fitness and nutrition for his clients. This comes from his background and education in exercise science and nutrition. Seth has worked with hundreds of clients to get clear on their authentic goals for their life, fitness, and health, and helped them create unstoppable authentic action to actualize these in their lives. For more about how to get in touch with Seth or hear more about his work, you can find him @ https://www.lifecoachseth.com . There you can access his podcast, book, social media, as well as speak with Seth directly about working with him one-to-one as coach/coachee. To access the “Authentic Life Connection” podcast, follow the link below