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Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
Winter 2009

Welcome to the Winter 2009 edition of Susan Robison's free e-mail newsletter for women business owners, executives, and professionals. Our goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and prosperous life while making a difference.

In this issue, you'll find:

  1. The Economy Blues
  2. BossWoman coaching
  3. Up and coming workshops


1. The Economy Blues

Everyone receiving this eNews has been affected by the changes to the global economy. With 2.5 million people out of work, if you have not lost a job in the last 6 months, you know someone close to you who has. At the very least your own investment wealth has likely been diminished in the last six months by 30-40% depending on how your investments were distributed across risk tolerance categories. In this newsletter I propose some short term coping strategies with the economic stress and some long term change strategies.

Short Term Strategies

  1. Keep perspective. Remember that the current economic situation is multi-determined by many factors but especially fueled by the heat of self-doubt. Remind yourself that U.S. and world economies go through cycles and things will get better. Experts say it is unlikely that the current crises will come anywhere close to the 1929 Crash which took the markets 25 years to recover. Instead, they compare the current crisis closer to the experience of 1973/74, a bear market with a 48% slump that took 64 months to recover and the tech bust of 2000-03, with a 47% loss which took 50 months to recover. The economists predict a total recovery in 5-7 years with a gradual come back over that time.

  2. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. You still have much to be thankful for. If you have lost your job, be grateful your spouse has one or that you have some leads. If you have lost your job and have no spouse, you have talents, a resume, or a degree, and support systems such as career coaches and resources from your local unemployment offices that you can take advantage of. If you still have a job, be very, very grateful for that.

  3. Restrict your exposure to upsetting news. Decide how much information you want or need about your own monetary situation. Of course you should examine your credit card statements carefully to see if the charges are legitimate but maybe you don’t want to spend time examining your investment printouts from your broker.

  4. Avoid “ain’t it awful” conversations. They drag everybody down and reinforce a sense of helplessness. Instead talk about new projects and business ideas. Emphasize what you can do to help the situation rather than the areas in which you are powerless.

  5. Help those less fortunate than yourself. Charities and non-profits are very hard hit at this time. Homeless shelters are overflowing their capacity and could use your help with funds and/or volunteer time. It may seem counterintuitive when you are worried about your own scarcity, but studies on altruism show that even a small contribution for a cause bigger than yourself will restore your sense of an abundant world.

  6. Get off the emotional roller coaster of worrying. Worrying eats up your energy and doesn’t affect your economic situation in any positive way. It may even decrease your ability to cope and restricts your problem solving and creativity. Stay sane by thinking sanely. An unemployment rate of 9% means that 91% of the people currently desiring to be employed are employed.

  7. If you still have income, manage your income well. Buy only after you have the money in hand. Don’t buy trinkets and junk. Instead, use the trinket money to pay down any debt you have at a rate faster than you have been.

  8. Continue to save and increase your rate of savings. Establish a rainy day fund for bad times and a sunny day fund for vacations or extra pleasures. Any financial strategy that puts you in control will increase your sense of security, fragile as it is at this time. For example, refuse to take on new debt until you have paid off what you owe. If you need to replace something big like a dishwasher or car and have the money saved, buy it as soon as your debt is reduced. When money circulates, the economy improves.

  9. If you have a retirement plan, continue to contribute. If you are nervous about investments, talk to you financial advisor about temporarily staying in cash vehicles that bring small returns such as CDs and Treasury strips instead of taking bigger risks with stocks.

  10. If you can go a bit “greener” on your house or business by converting to energy saving windows, insulation, appliances, etc. this is the time to do it. Changes related to helping the environment are tax deductable. Check with your accountant to find out in advance of a purchase how to take advantage of a tax credit for helping save the planet.

  11. Continue to create fun. It doesn’t cost much to take a walk in the park with your child or grandchild. Turn off all media and have game night with the family. If you like attending the theater, consider attending your local high school production. In our community the high school actors already have professional roles to their credit and the productions rival any good community theater at a lot less per ticket.

  12. Engage in random acts of kindness to bring more positive feelings into the world.

Long Term Strategies

  1. As I write this, the stock market is closing up. By the time you read it, who knows? But if it is looking good consider converting some cash into stocks. Buy long term good companies or take some risk with a small portion of cash invested in something new and exciting in biotechnology, environment, or medicine. When money moves, the economy improves.

  2. Vow to live better on less, now and in the future. Wrap a piece of paper and a pencil with a rubber band around your wallet. Every time you make a purchase, record where, when, what, the cost, and how much fun the purchase was.Watch your spending and match your spending to your values on what matters to your values. Use cash instead of credit cards. Save first before you buy.

  3. Pay down debt and promise yourself you will not hold debt except house and car payments in the future. Pay down the highest rate of interest loan or credit card first.

  4. Make contributions that matter. Concentrate your efforts on one or two causes instead of sending a little here and there. Consider contributing service by serving on boards of organizations that you value and contribute to.

  5. Aim to cut some surplus expenses on things that aren’t essential and save six months income in ready savings and save the maximum in your retirement fund(s).

  6. Use your smarts as a business owner or professional to dream big about projects that solve a problem. We particularly need solutions in education, health care and the environment. Your project can increase your financial security and provide jobs for others. Many of my readers are in a position to influence their communities with their creativity. The Federal stimulus package may have funding for research and development set aside in an area that you are interested in researching and developing.

  7. Connect with people in your community around environmental issues that save money while providing services. Maybe your product or expertise can make a contribution that gets noticed and builds your reputation as a professional who cares about the community. You might volunteer at first and then find a way to charge for your contribution when appropriate.

Conclusion

To overcome the Economy Blues, avoid worry, stay optimistic, and take action.

Susan Robison


2. BossWoman coaching

About the publisher: Susan Robison, Ph.D. is a professional coach, speaker, author and seminar leader. She loves to coach women who want improvement in:

  • work-life balance,
  • career transitions,
  • building your business or practice,
  • time management,
  • increasing productivity.

If you are feeling stuck on the way to your ideal life, give Susan a call for a complementary half-hour coaching session.

She provides keynotes and seminars to business and organizations on the topics of:

  • leadership strategies for women,
  • relationships,
  • work-life balance,
  • change.

She offers her audiences a follow-up coaching session because she knows that workshops don’t work.

Contact Susan for your coaching, speaking, or seminar needs at Susan@BossWoman.org or at 410-465-5892.


3. Up and coming workshops

I am currently accepting speaking invitations for work/life balance and leadership workshops for the spring and summer of 2009. Contact me if your group needs a speaker on any of the topics listed above.

********************************************************************
Title: “Peak Performance Practices Towards Human Sustainability”
Date: April 29, 2009
Place: TBA


To start receiving the BossWoman e-Newsletter send an email with “Please send BossWoman” in the Subject to: Susan@BossWoman.org. To stop receiving send an email with “Stop BossWoman” in the Subject to: Susan@BossWoman.org.

BossWoman e-Newsletter is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Coaching should not be construed as a form of, or substitute for, counseling, psychotherapy, legal, or financial services.

© Copyright 2009 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site without the publisher’s permission.

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Office: (410) 465-5892
Fax: (410) 465-5967

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