Renaissance for LEADERS

Peak Performance Resources for Leaders by Leaders

Author: Anjou MacPherson

Financial Crisis and the Speed of the Zone

For many people, the financial crisis has caused a paralyzing amount of fear. A question on many people’s minds is how to cope with this gripping emotional state at a time when action is necessary. Perhaps this is the most relevant conversation as our emotional state is what determines the speed at which we are able to take action.   Also, it is our emotional state that determines the accuracy of our perception and the mind’s ability to solve complex problems.  At this very moment, the pace of communication and information is accelerating at incomprehensible multiples.

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Financial Crisis: What to Say to Your Loved Ones

Many people have their self-worth hardwired to their net-worth. I referred to this phenomenon in Towers of Glass, Feet of Clay.  Perhaps this is the single biggest reason it is a good idea to build a glass tower around yourself in the first place. So, what happens when the waves of impact touch your reality and this tower is about to blow apart from the tension, shattering everything within its shadow?

For those of us that are fortunate enough to free ourselves from this thought form, it is easier perhaps to keep our sense of self and our self-worth in tact as these waves impact our net-worth. This is not easy, not comfortable, not separate from the tension, and not immune from the judgments of others.   Rather, it is perhaps more objective in the way we are able to view ourselves through the process.

Psychiatrists and psychologists report that 80% of their clients who are seeing them for stress related issues are stressed the most about finances and the economy.

Chronic stress leads to many physical problems, and some of these are life threatening. The way you manage this emotionally is everything. BBC News reports that the wealthiest people have been impacted in “Rich List Hit by Economic Crisis” http://budurl.com/64e6.  It states, “The financial crisis is taking its toll on the world’s richest people, wiping 332 names off Forbes magazine’s ‘rich list’ of world billionaires.” This represents about one-third of the list and the average loss for those that remain is 23% of their net-worth. Only 5.5% of those remaining on the list increased their income over the past year.

This is truly a reversal of fortune.

How do you communicate to spouses, life partners, children, parents, friends and family what is going on? How do you reassure those that are close to you in the middle of such uncertain and volatile circumstances? It’s challenging, especially when you need reassurance, too!

How do you cope when those closest to you failing to stand by you in your moment of vulnerability when they are used to leaning on you?

How do you communicate the truth without scaring and terrorizing the people around you, when you have been bred to be silent or angry when things are not right? What do you do when they only know you as the provider, the hero, the one who is strong? What happens if everyone close to you has abdicated financial responsibility to you and you have taken it, leaving him or her powerless to fend for himself or herself in this area?

Step one is to re-build, re-negotiate and redeem these relationships from the foundation of who you are, separate from your net-worth. Establish your self-worth as being most important, and free from the highs and lows of the marketplace.

Truthful, honest communication requires a quiet confidence that allows you to be authentic and natural, safe and secure like an oasis in the middle of a dry desert. The challenge is that if your self-worth is hardwired to your net-worth then you will feel ashamed and fearful, and these feelings will suppress your expression, your truth and your spirit.

The other option is for you to get frustrated and angry and this will cause you to be over-expressed and reactive. Regardless of the words you say, the positive attitude you force upon yourself and the feeling you exude is what people respond to. Your feelings are what creates the oasis, the re-assurance and the support. Your feelings are what allow those you are used to supporting to either support you or abandon you as quickly as your cash.

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Towers of Glass, Feet of Clay: What Is the Quest?

I was going throughdubaipaster my travel photographs and saw this picture of a poster at the Dubai Airport advertising the world’s tallest building, which was under construction at the time. The Burj Dubai is very impressive and I was inspired to write more about the towers of glass.

I love beautiful, expansive and extraordinary things and am a patron of the arts. Architecture is particularly captivating because of its ability to inspire and uplift. My title is only an analogy and not meant in any way to be critical of any building.

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Towers of Glass, Feet of Clay

royal_bank_building-smallI have been reflecting further about the “financial crisis,” and recalling a book I read in 1982 called Towers of Gold: Feet of Clay – the Canadian Banks, by Walter Stewart.

In a conversation about this with my colleagues I happened to say towers of glass, and perhaps 27 years later, Glass is more descriptive. In 1982, I was working in the oil and gas industry in Canada and this book was written about the Banking Industry, the mortgage crisis and the oil prices. These themes are again relevant in 2009.

In Towers of Gold, the title was based on the Royal Bank in Canada with a gold colored glass tower in Toronto. Gold had more relevance then as some of the money (not much even then) was actually backed by gold bars. Many eons ago, most of it was either made of gold/silver and later backed by it. Now most of our money is floating around electronically in bits and bytes, and the cash is made of plastic, paper and mostly cheaper metals. I have a special account (premier customer – which means more money deposited) with a major international bank, and the interest on this was very low and now has dropped to 0%.

I used to have judgements about people who keep their money in or under the mattress. Now I can laugh at myself because there is not much difference. Judgements are often like that, what goes around comes around. I wish I had some gold bars.

I feel this title reflects what is happening very accurately. Now there are even more towers of glass. There is competition between top cities about who can build the tallest tower, one about half a mile into the sky. Now most of these projects are compromised, and construction financing has been choked almost to death. Containers of steel and glass which were in such short supply (some orders 3 years ahead) were turned around from China and returned to their origin. Each one of these events has an impact on multiple people, industries, and countries. These really are the waves of impact. The waves move around the world faster than the earth spins.

These towers are built to be earthquake proof, tidal wave resistant, fire resistant and all these events are insured. This is where the foundations (the feet of clay) are being stretched beyond anything imaginable. And most will fall short in the test over time… I am refering to the financial foundations and also that of people, relationships, organizations, communities, and countries.

Like the banks, we all have glass towers that we build (what we show the world: the act, the ego, the stuff) and feet of clay (what we are at the core of our being: the real self, the essence, the ordinary humble person). Glass towers are fragile, and someone can always build a taller one.

I see all this as an opportunity to lead where it matters. When the waves of impact hit us, we cannot control the wave, only our response. By building personal foundations that are deep, strong, resilient and mostly invisible to everyone else, we can withstand the waves and even become better human beings. We can choose right action no matter what prevails.

Waves of Impact

underwater3

Nearly everyone is feeling the financial crisis, not all at once, but rather in waves.  These waves or fluctuations go in and out like the ocean. Each one brings more insight, more truth, more change, and with each contact, ever greater connections that impact our reality. The illusions and ideas that we took for granted are eroding.

We once thought ideas, like banks, are stable and real estate is a safe bet.  Ideas about the hedge funds, insurance companies, and finacial gurus, to name a few.  Ideas about government and capitalism and private business.  Ideas about retirement and security. All of these ideas are being challenged, exposed, and the bottom line, once so clear, is a hazy blur. No one seems to know exactly when and how the whole experience known as the financial crisis will end. As quickly as solutions appear, another wave appears, and the impact keeps growing.

More than ever it is time to lead, not follow.  Calling this a financial crisis does not do justice to what is really going on and how many areas of life this will impact.  Relationships are being torn apart, stress-related health issues are prevalent, mental illness is on the rise and lives are in transition.  There are more things than I can write about. Money or lack of money is not the core cause, and neither is it, by itself, the long term solution.

People and organizations will have to go through transformations to win. Getting by is not enough.  I believe this is an extra-ordinary opportunity to step out of the trance of mediocrity and into the ideals we desire. Cooperation, harmony, compassion and truth will have a greater audience than competition, greed, self-interest and illusions of reality designed to serve a few.  We can choose to evolve to our highest potential together and rise above the waves. Or, we can choose to do nothing, step into fear and denial and eventually drown in them.

Now is the perfect time to re-define who we are.  To internalize our self-worth as seperate from our net-worth. To find fulfillment in life and not just on paper (bank statements, share certificates, etc). Time to play the game no matter how challenging…play to win!

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