Today I received a link to an article in the New York Times by neuroeconomist, Dr. Gregory Berns, that hits the nail on the head about what people are going through in this economic downturn:
"Everyone I know is scared. Workers' fear has generalized to their workplace and everything associated with work and money. We are caught in a spiral in which we are so scared of losing our jobs, or our savings, that fear overtakes our brains. And while fear is a deep-seated and adaptive evolutionary drive for self-preservation, it makes it impossible to concentrate on anything."
He goes on to discuss the neurlogical roots of fear and what we can do to avoid getting sucked into this fear mentality:
"This means not being a fearmonger. It means avoiding people who are overly pessimistic about the economy. It means tuning out media that fan emotional flames. Unless you are a day-trader, it means closing the Web page with the market ticker. It does mean being prepared, but not being a hypervigilant, everyone-in-the-bunker type."
I found it an interesting article but not really much help, in that it failed to address the source of our fears. It's not the economy. That's just an external circumstance that triggers the fear. It's our thoughts about the economy. And that's really the only thing we have any control over.
Several weeks ago when the bad news on the economy started spewing out of the evening news, Internet and newspapers, I found myself thinking fearful thoughts: "We might go broke; nobody will buy my products in this economy; times are going to be bad for my business, etc."
And feelings of fear, insecurity and scarcity followed the thoughts. This was about a week after the September 29 stock market crash of 778 points in one day. Things didn't look good and I was worried, along with millions of other people.
But I had an ace up my sleeve.
No, I didn't have millions of dollars stashed in a foreign bank, waiting for a rainy day. I had something better.
I had The Work (of Byron Katie).
I pulled out a worksheet I call the "Getting Unstuck Worksheet" and spent fifteen or twenty minutes examining my thoughts, "Is it true we'll go broke? How do I react when I think that thought? Who would I be without that thought?"
Pretty soon I discovered that I didn't even have fear to fear! That was just another story, another thought. It was just all thoughts triggered by the external events in the economy. I was fine. I was completely OK. I would do well as I always had in my 24 years of being in business.
But the great thing is that in this simple realization, and with the release of the negative thoughts and feelings, I was flooded with very positive, uplifting feelings. I suddenly felt that I could do anything. I had nothing to lose.
Dr. Berns confirmed this: "The most concrete thing that neuroscience tells us is that when the fear system of the brain is active, exploratory activity and risk-taking are turned off." But when fear is not present, the exploratory system of the brain is active, free to discover, invent, create, and risk.
My usual creative drive went into hyper-drive!
In less than a month I launched the Action Plan Marketing Club, my best work ever, and enrolled over 300 new members in only a couple weeks. I also launched the Marketing Mastery Program (the most expensive program I've ever offered) which is now half full.
I don't think about the economy much these days. At least I don't worry about it. I observe it dispassionately and then get back to my work of making a contribution.
It's certainly a better way to live.
P.S. Thanks to my friend Gary White of Pacific Crest Marketing who forwarded me this article. It got it one minute before starting to write the eZine (with no idea what I was going to write about.) I call that synchronicity!
The More Clients Bottom Line: The economy will do what it will do. It will go up and it will go down. Are you going to let these external circumstances completely control your life and the way you feel? Use The Work (or whatever technique works for you), to get past the fear and take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that are sitting right in front of your nose.
Are you ready to stop blaming the economy for your fear and start examining the real cause: your thoughts? Please share your insights on the More Clients Blog.