Thriving…

thrivingIn Australia, we are facing two natural disasters – the horrific bushfires in Victoria and the devastating floods in North Queensland.  No one is unaffected by these horrendous tragedies and our hearts go out to the hundreds of victims and their families.

Globally we also are being weighed down by the world wide economic crisis.  If you are one of the thousands of women in Queensland who have taken the challenge of starting up a new business in the past 12 months, you might be feeling a little shaky right now.

Grief, doubt and uncertainty are coming at us from all angles.  How do we move forward with our lives and in particular our businesses, in the face of such adversity?  I spoke with Business Coach Lisa Murray about the plethora of women starting new businesses.  She has some wonderful advice about putting our best foot forward during these challenging times – in particular thriving in the current economic crisis.

Money and Empowerment

“Watching the global economic meltdown and the many and varied responses to it over the past few months has started me thinking about how much of our power we give away to money – making it, spending it and losing it.

The economic bubble has burst because the foundations were not solid – the unprecedented growth we have experienced in recent years has crashed because the underpinnings were lacking – in leadership, integrity and sustainability.

Keep stretching a rubber band and it will eventually break.  New structures now need to be built.  As intelligent women, we now have a phenomenal opportunity to participate in rebuilding an economy and a society with a different set of values.

For many people, the next twelve months will be a time of consolidation.  As a business coach, I see many businesses still doing well, but there are plenty that aren’t.  For women, it is time for us to consider where our real power comes from.  Do our economic circumstances (and our status symbols) really dictate who we are?  Or is the source of our power (and empowerment!) within us?

It is easy to get caught up talking about the doom and gloom, or to feel depressed about what we have lost.  It takes a lot more courage to make the decision that our outer circumstances are not going to control the quality of our lives.  It takes conscious effort to decide that we are not going to waste our life or lose sleep worrying about the million and one ‘what if’s’ that could happen.

It takes a strong sense of our own empowerment to reach out to others and help them through this difficult time.  Each one of us has a caring heart.  Each one of us knows others who are doing it tougher than we are.  Empowerment comes from within.  Here are three simple steps each of us can take to make this time of consolidation easier for ourselves and everyone around us.

The first step in consolidating is to develop a support team.

Women often have a sense that they have to shoulder their burdens alone. Often our needs come last. Many of us have grown up in times when it has been seen to be a good thing to be independent (and it is!), but often we have misidentified this independence with never asking for help, no matter how bad things are.  Just like the economy, that approach just doesn’t work anymore!

Just before Christmas I had lunch with my dearest girlfriends – we’re moving towards 25 years of friendship – but still, we often forget to ask each other for help.

We hadn’t seen each other for months and there were lots of big discussions on the table.  At the end of that lunch we made a promise to each other to pick up the phone and ask for support when we need it – not to wait until our busy lives allow a small window of opportunity for a catch up.

Sometimes it is these small but incredibly life-affirming commitments that give a greater sense of empowerment.  What could you do if you knew your support net was available any time?  So, create and maintain a support network of likeminded women.  There is strength in numbers!

The second step is to find someone to help – at least once a day!

Do you remember the last time someone offered to help you out… gave you some kind words…unexpectedly made a connection for you…?  How did it make you feel?  And, how much pleasure do you get from being able to help others?

Aren’t all of those feelings worth way more than spending your time worrying about money?  You can change how you feel daily just by being willing to care, being willing to risk that the person may reject your help, being willing to really look at how others around you are coping.  All of us have special gifts and talents – now is the time to really share them.

I have a regular book club commitment with some amazing women I met when doing my masters.  Book club is our “excuse” to get together once a month or so, have a few wines and share the ups and downs of life. (And yes, although our partners disbelieve, we always have a book on the go – really!!)

At our last catch up, my book club gals were asking me about an upcoming workshop I’m running.  I hadn’t even thought about having someone else in the workshop for support, but they not only voiced this idea, but offered their presence, their time to review materials and most of all their emotional support for my new adventure.  How can you even consider failure as an option when there is that much love and care on offer?  Women are so perceptive – go find someone to help – NOW!

Thirdly, consider the one biggest fear you have right now.

Work out a simple plan of action that you will undertake should your fear or worst case scenario come true.  Write your plan down and put it away.  Then stop worrying.

Your empowerment is not in the future.  You cannot live in the future, so focus on now.  Is there anything you can do right now to alleviate the potential for your fear to come true?

There is plenty of money to be made in recessions and depressions.  Some of the world’s biggest companies were started during dire economic times.  There are winners and losers in every economic environment.  What are you choosing?  Personally, I’m choosing for 2009 to be my most phenomenal year yet! "

Lisa Murray is a specialist small business coach focusing on peak performance, business startups and helping stressed business owners regain control of their life and business. Lisa recently got her life back after completing an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Leadership.

Your thoughts

Have you used any of these strategies?
What has or has not worked for you?
Is your business thriving or surviving currently?

If you would like to suggest a topic or provide feedback on this blog then I would love to hear from you. 

5 Responses to “Thriving…”

  • Jackie:

    I think it is very true. There is a lot of doom and gloom in the world at the moment and while we can feel that pain, especially when you see the devastating footage of the bush fire victims, we have to focus on the positive things in our lives to pull through. One way not to feel so helpless is to offer help as Lisa says. There are plenty of groups wanting volunteers, especially to help the fire victims.

  • Kate:

    I could not agree more with this article Kylie. It was not until I started to ask for help that my business really started to take off. There is nothing more isolating than running a business from home when you don’t have the right people around you for support.

  • Lyndsey Biagent:

    I used to think that independence was a sign of strength and that asking for help was a sign of weakness. Over the years I’ve come to realise that my fear of rejection was holding me back and stopping me from asking for help. The thought of being turned away was worse than the struggle of going it alone. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, admitting when we don’t have all the answers and reaching out in times of need is where our real strength lies.

  • Susan Living:

    I’ve definitely “gone it alone” for most of my life and I’m just beginning to recognise the beauty and support of other women that is always available around me. If I choose to tap into it, of course.

    I’m starting to enjoy reaching out rather than being so fiercely independent – to bounce ideas, to share myself and to really listen to the struggles other’s have – they are so similar to mine. I love it.

  • Kelly:

    I totally agree with this – even extending beyond our business lives to our personal life.
    A problem shared is a problem halved!

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