Staying Up in Down Times

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Times are tough. We are at war. The economy is down and unemployment is up. Trusting others is down, blaming is up. Optimistic outlooks are down and fear is up.

Staying up in down times requires a blend of energy, spirit, self-confidence and humor. Perception must change and include a broader knowledge and more comprehensive view. What is your perspective of life and the world? Do your lenses and filters of life and the world include a wide-angle lens or do you use a microscope with a narrowed view?

1. Energy: When precious energy is spent trying to control elements that are out of our control we feel down. We must expand our thinking to include new knowledge. I heard a broadcaster say this about the war; “If the peaceniks think the war is about oil, then maybe we should consider bombing Canada because they supply more oil than Iraq. Our second target should be Mexico – not Iraq.”

This statement may make you angry, so we must remember that we do not control the perceptions of others.

Here’s the rub. We must all clean our lenses of perception to increase our knowledge. Period. Do this by learning to find out more, ask open-ended questions and keep an open mind.

What’s the cure? Listen to people who motivate you again and again. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, but do you really apply these fine techniques on every speed bump of life? Times are hard and going it alone is lonely!

2. Spirit: Definition – Vivacity or enthusiasm. Do you have real enthusiasm in your interaction with others? Spirit is built by caring and learning from your environment and not being engrossed only with you and your opinions.

Tips for building your spirit:
– Stay hopeful.
– Take risks.
– Volunteer for two hours.
– Celebrate with your family.
– Enjoy the outdoors.
– Share a positive thought.
– List reasons for gratitude.

3. Self-confidence: When you feel that you can handle life’s challenges, you create the capability to move forward in a positive manner. This is self-esteem. The external application of self-esteem spills over into self-confidence.

Tips for building self-confidence:
– Maintain a strong belief in your own competencies to stop the thoughts of vulnerability.
– Review your talents and build from them. Check your weaknesses and if they are the problem, learn to change them.
– Cancel your membership in the whine and cheese club. “Oh, cheese, this is so hard being at war with the economy in the tank and our troops overseas.” (You can hear the tone can’t you?)
– Keep your focus on being problem-oriented rather than danger-oriented. Understand that there is a problem to be solved not a threat to your life or well being. This helps solutions appear quickly.
– Rise above it. Pretend you are in a hot air balloon and lift your thoughts over the issue to get a new view.
– Picture what you want vs. what you don’t want. Be careful of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Keep an anastrophic view rather than a catastrophic outlook.

4. Humor: We take ourselves way too seriously. The challenge is to put the humor back in your personal and professional life. Our perspective becomes so shallow that we lose a sense of happiness. Read on for the effects of limited perception and you will be laughing!!

Staying up in down times becomes a choice. Every situation can have a silver lining. Learn to blend energy, humor, spirit and self-confidence. This combination is marinade to make those turkey’s more palatable and for a happier you.

As a Certified Speaking Professional and best selling author, Marsha Petrie Sue is the Muhammad Ali of communicators. She can dance and look pretty, and she uses the entire ring, but she knows how and when to land a knockout punch. Get the smelling salts! Her presentations are charm school with live ammunition. Her # 1 Barnes and Noble best seller Toxic People: dealing with difficult people in the workplace without using weapons or duct tape has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal Christian Science Monitor, Legal Management, WorkWise, Reuters and more.

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