“Generations come and generations go.
But the earth remains forever.
What will be done will be done again
There is nothing new under the sun”
Technology comes and goes while the earth remains, what we do will be done again as history does repeat itself and for every idea, story plot and theme there is nothing new under the sun.
I started drafting this blog post last month after reading a story carried in the Dallas Morning News by Lorraine Mirabella titled “College grads find rough sledding in job market”.
What caught my attention was the quote by Heidi Shierholz, a labor market economist. She stated “it’s just bad luck, their misfortune to be born in a year that dumped them in this labor market.”
What? Born at the wrong time? Misfortune?
The quote struck a nerve, how dare her pigeonhole these young adults into a category of misfortune. We’ve had economic downturns in the past when unemployment was considerably higher. Did she fail to do her research?
Why should she determine their status before the graduates even had an opportunity to prove her wrong?
When I graduated college, Texas especially Houston had suffered a huge economic blow when oil prices crashed and the real estate market collapsed. Half my family experienced layoffs in Houston and it took over a year for me to secure a marketing position with a Fortune 500 company.
One year later, I was laid off as the result of a hostile takeover. I networked, talked with people and sent my resume everywhere and landed another marketing position within three months. Once again, I was caught in a massive layoff when the company outsourced its entire marketing department.
Was I born in the wrong year? Was there a veil of misfortune hanging over my Texas A&M graduating class? None of the advisors at the career placement center ever talked about layoffs or how to change your career expectations three years out of college.
Two layoffs back to back was a surprise. In college you never think about having to search for a job over and over. This experience taught me to take action instead of waiting for something to happen.
I write a lot about how digital technology is impacting our businesses, careers and lifestyles. Yet, there are four key principles that I believe hold constant over time. If you want something bad enough you will figure out a way to make it happen.
Four Key Principles That Never Change
Evolution and Adaptability
We are changing and staying the same simultaneously. Adapting to new technologies is nothing new. However, this next wave of technology innovation has the potential to have a greater impact on society than in the past. In the very near future, we will have the ability to alter our DNA and change what makes us human.
If and when these changes occur, then I am unsure if these principles will hold true. With every new evolution in our world’s history from the Middle Ages till now; we found a way to adapt.
In the past, we had a longer lead time to adjust and learn new skills. Today, the grace period is considerably shorter and continues to shrink with each new innovation.
If we continue to let the fear “of being born in the wrong year” shut us down then we have little incentive to adapt. We are living in a digital pioneer era which will require all of us to be more self-reliant. We must take control and be responsible for our businesses, careers along with our retirement needs and healthcare.
Learning to adapt goes beyond technology, we must also learn to live with different lifestyle arrangements as we change and evolve. What was important to the Baby Boomer generation is less important to the Digitals. These changes will influence a shift in our spending habits including the services and products that we purchase now and in the future.
The Need for Action – Keep the Ball Rolling
To adapt you must take action, as without action there is no success. Period.
I am still amazed at how many people think success will appear in their email inbox. Achieving goals takes time, effort and action every day.
Successful companies that sustain over time were not built in a day. It took hours and lots of hard work. The daily grind of developing a concept or building a business is not sexy. Very few young entrepreneurs get rich on their first venture.
My grandmother was an entrepreneur and launched a business at the end of the Great Depression. Very few women worked outside the home or started a business. She often reminded me “to keep irons in the fire”. I have lived by her wisdom of keeping multiple options open and working to ensure I was never dependent upon one income source.
Fear of what may happen if we call someone; send an email requesting a coffee meeting or introducing ourselves to new people at an event.
We miss opportunities big and small every day because we are too afraid to take action.
Action leads to more action, remember you are running a marathon not sprinting across the finish line.
We tend to use excuses or delay tactics when faced with a difficult situation. Back a hundred years’ ago, individuals were asking and thinking about how to get something done because they faced greater risk than we do today.
Any miscalculation would lead to serious hardships, now we just make another charge to the credit card.
Figuring out the “How” part of a problem seems to difficult, laborious and time consuming. Regardless of the economy, there are individuals who will do the hard work, devise a plan and figure how to change their lot in life.
I believe “How” has always been a separator; you either take action or wait for something to happen.
Which group are you in? The How Group or the Waiting Group?
Focus every day on what actions you can take that will move you closer to achieving your goals. Think in the terms of marathon training, you build mileage over time. Work towards being more self-reliant with the goal of longevity for your business or career.
Hard Times is the Best Teacher
Good times teach us very little about our internal strength. I have worked with more than ten startups and can determine very quickly how serious the founders are about their concept. Individuals who live, eat and breathe their vision are more likely to succeed than the weekend entrepreneur.
2008 was five years ago. Yet we still think about the recession and down economy. Each week, at least one person will mention or say when the economy gets better I will do ___________. You can fill in the blank.
If you wait for the right moment, the planets to align and the world to be perfect will you always are waiting.
Are you seeking employment? Use this time to explore, learn new skills and meet new people. Opportunities appear in the strangest places sometimes. Trust me; I have secured new business projects standing in line at the grocery store.
A family friend of ours has launched and sold two very successful businesses. Both companies were launched during economic downturns. Frank was never afraid to visit with people everywhere he went and would always follow up afterwards. He worked at building a strong network of people he knew and trusted.
During hard times, we tend to let our pride and prejudices prevent us from potential business or employment opportunities. I loved the book and 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. When we accept the concept of misfortune, we circle our wagons and do ourselves a disservice by making snap decisions about people or opportunities based on our pride or prejudices.
Through the years, my company Dillon 5 has accepted projects that were not glamorous or sexy; I secured these projects because they provided needed income for the business.
Next time you think about waiting, go run a minute or two and take action. Hard times offers a great learning opportunity if you are willing to listen and let go of your pride and prejudices.
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