Thursday, April 09, 2009

Adjust our expectations?

On the second page of the pamphlet inserted in our retirement portfolio, it says that with our declining investments we need to “adjust our expectations” and re-examine our time horizon. Has your retirement resource brochure been that creative in saying that since you are losing money by investing with them, you should keep your money in the account and not expect a return on your investment? Just work longer. It can all sound very disheartening.

But in this new age of enlightenment many of us are finding that we can live better, spend less, and do work that is meaningful. We chased the money to corporations, retirement accounts and home equity. If that’s all there is, then there is reason to feel angry and anxious. But our attitude and the energy we put into our feelings can work for us or against us. As Nicholas Boothman says in his book, “How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less,” you can choose a ‘Really Useless Attitude’ or a ‘Very Useful Attitude.’ Do you want to be angry and anxious in reaction to your current situation, or do you want to approach your challenges feeling resourceful and relaxed?

For some reason, I believe partly genetic, I tend to naturally get tense and anxious when faced with challenges. I continue to take on difficult tasks, learn through experience, and build up my resilience, but my natural reaction is tension. When I read Boothman’s description of a ‘Very Useless Attitude,’ I realized that I was experiencing some useless attitudes and really didn’t need to. Whether the economy is up or down, you are young or old, jobs are scarce or plentiful you can choose to have a ‘Very Useful Attitude. In my experience excellent jobs have always been scarce. It takes planning, strategies, a positive attitude, and determination to do what it takes to get the job you want. You also need to re-evaluate your goals regularly to see if they are REALLY what you want.

Most of us are going through withdrawals, especially if we are trying to spend less money on junk food, eating out, and frufru coffee. We may be experiencing more than a loss of expectation. We may also be experiencing withdrawal from sugar and fat. Not a bad thing! Leaner is usually healthier and more productive. The same is true for your job search and career development. You may be forced to do what you needed to do all along: Focus on your values, vision, and goals. If you know your strengths and values, have a vision for your life and work, and hire a professional to keep you on track, you have nothing to fear. More than ever, you are your business. Take charge!

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Copyright LWD © 2005 Nancy Miller