7 Steps to Find Your Way Out of a Crisis

Some seem to do well in times of financial crisis and others never have been as poor. Some are devastated by forced changes in their job situation, the weight of accumulated debt, consequences of long term sickness or under-financed retirement or old age.

Others quickly adapt or even anticipate the changing paradigms of our time and face without fear what threatens their lifestyle.

Those who thrive in times of crisis, surf on the waves of opportunity and there are 7 things on their to-do list they keep working on.

Step 1

Never stop studying all your life.

Become the best in whatever area you are interested in. They will always need you. And you will never lack employment (or means to create your own business).

But where do you find the time to study?

Denis Waitley wrote his bestselling book, "The Seeds of Greatness" by not watching television 5 evenings a week for six months. (Can you imagine the sacrifice?) That gave him an extra 10 hours a week, and over 6 months he invested 240 hours to get back the rest of his life. What do you think you can do with an extra 500 hours available in a year? Denis was able to retire from his job thanks to the royalties from his books and had all the time he wanted with his family from there on.

Step 2

Do what you have to do,

When you have to do it;

If you want to or not.

No one gets anywhere without a bit of discipline. Do more than the minimum required. Put your weight in the balance.

We work from 8 'til 5 to pay our bills, and from 5 'til 9 p.m. to pay for our projects. A good work habit is to work hard for the boss during the day and work even harder for yourself during the evenings and weekends.

I told my salespersons who sold innovative office supplies Business to Business to work hard until 5 o'clock. Buy a do-nut or something to eat, and then prospect another 3-4 clients or until you get the last sale of the day. The commissions from that last sale were to go into a 'special project' fund. Would you believe that the last sale was often the biggest of the day?

How many of you would find a pay raise of 10 to 15% a significant change for your finances?

Step 3

It's not those who give the advice who will also pay your bills if you don't make it.

When I was 19 years I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life except I wanted to travel the world. I lived in Canada.

My mother told me to go back to the Netherlands, where I was born, to meet the family. My uncle was in market gardening; cucumbers and tomatoes. He showed me his red-ripe tomatoes, ready to be handpicked in his glasshouses as well as several of his inventions.

And like a good American, I drooled with complements telling him how smart he was. But in the middle of it, he interrupted me briskly. "Shut up! You don't know what you are talking about. If an expert in market gardening came here to say something nice, it would be a real compliment. But you, just shut up! You don't know anything about it"!

At that moment, I really felt hurt by his words.

The hurt I felt by his reaction had me miss an opportunity to become a millionaire by the time I was 25. My uncle saw I was a hard worker and he had a proposition for me. He would finance and have me benefit from his experience. And I would do the work in his glass houses. We would share the profits 50/50. But I had no desire to work with a tyrant.

Nevertheless, I learned a very important lesson for life. From that moment on if family or friends gave me advice about something; I always asked myself the question:

Do they know what they are talking about?

Do they know something about what I'm about to undertake?

If I take their advice and it doesn't work out, will they pay the bills?

Don't waste any time with negative counselling coming from those around you without checking that they are qualified to do so.

Step 4

Find a mentor!

You need to stick close to the person who can teach you the 'plus' that will give you the 'unfair advantage' over your competitors. Anybody can learn the 95% of a new type of business but it is the last 5% that makes you a reference in your industry. Everyone will want to buy from you (or hire you).

When I was 50 years old, I was looking to drive less than my 80000 kilometers per year in my sales job. I met a guy who said he represented a Spanish floor tile factory and that he sold the floor tiles in the home.

"What! You don't have a floor tile store? Well I have my samples down in the basement. But when I go to see my clients, I put them in my old Renault 21 (the doors didn't shut and the suspension was on the ground).

I looked at him with disbelief wondering if he made any money with this activity. When he showed me his (old) warehouse, he showed me at least 50 palettes of floor tiles under plastic with the names of the clients written with a permanent marker. "All this is paid for and I stock their floor tiles for free (even if it's a year) until they get around to laying them. This service helps me make the sales". (Oops, I just gave you the secret). I asked him what his profit margin was and how many square meters there were in a palette. I soon was able to determine that he was making a lot of money every month.

I decided that this kind of activity would allow me to work closer to home. I found out that the clients came by word of mouth. They saw beautiful Spanish floor tiles at someone's home available at factory prices, plus personalized counselling from an interior decorator (me).

And I often went to his place, (3 and a half hours drive), to learn how he answered questions, how he closed sales of fairly big amounts (10000$+). Working evenings and weekends the 4-7000$ I made part time helped immensely to keep the heads of our family of 7 out of the water for several years.

Be curious! Most people that are coming to them are telling the mentor their truth instead of listening to him. Take notes, record their sales pitch, if needed, memorize the way they answer the questions of their clients.

Today you can choose your mentor on Internet. You can study everything without leaving your home: the Stock market, a language, how to build your own house, how to build a-money- making- blog, everything! The mentors may sell you the information but can you imagine the time you save studying those who have already gone through the trial and error system?

Step 5

Protect yourself from negativity

We need to learn to do 'selective listening'. Choose who you want to listen too. Do not trust your financial future to those who may not take care of it as well as yourself.

We can't do much for the macro economy. Leave that to the experts. As for the micro economy that concerns our family directly, it depends on what is going on in our head.

Henry Ford said: "If you believe that you can, or if you believe that you cannot, in both cases you are right".

So we need to protect ourselves from the negative environment surrounding us.

If someone would come to your living room and tip over their garbage bag with watermelon rinds and what's left of their fish dinner, would you accept that? Some don't hesitate to pour all their trash in your garden. There are contaminations that are far worse than that of Fukushima (nuclear plant devastated by a tsunami) which contaminate the fertile gardens of our spirit every day.

Step 6

Do what you have to do, right now! Do it now!

Often we put off until tomorrow what we should have done yesterday. The only way to make it is to take 3 minutes every evening to prepare the next day.
  1. Write up a list of ten things to do tomorrow
  2. Determine the tasks that are the most important for you to do with a priority level. Don't hesitate to delegate to others the more routine tasks. It's important not to major in minors.
  3. If you only get 3 things done, out of your top-ten priorities, at least you will have done the things you had determined as being the most important.

Instead of managing what seems to be urgent, you manage what is important.

Step 7

It is never too late to do what needs to be done

Do you think it is too late for you? It's just a matter of following a recipe that has a proven track record.

Have you heard how Kentucky Fried Chicken got started? The legend says that Mister Sanders just retired at 65. He sold the gas station business he had, paid off all his debts and found he was penniless.

"I'm going to have to find a job. What do I know how to do? I have a family recipe for fried chicken with 11 secret herbs. People tell me it's 'finger lickin' good'".

He didn't feel like starting up a new restaurant so he got other restaurants to put it on their menu. Every time they sold it, five cents were sent to Mister Sanders account. And the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise business model was born. And Harlan Sanders became millionaire after 65!

You already have rich ideas inside of you!

All that is lacking is a competence that needs to be developed, a hidden talent that needs to be found, or the meeting up with someone who will help send your idea into orbit.

It is a matter of monetizing what is already in you!

You have experienced failure? Everybody who has any success has first failed a lot.

If you live in Europe you may remember the final of the Champions League (soccer) between Bayern of Munich and Manchester United.

Bayern scored at the 6th minute and led throughout the match. There were only 80 seconds left and you could say that Manchester had run a lot for nothing and all tentative to score had been in vain.

But in the last 80 seconds they scored twice, once to equalize, and once to win. They just never gave up!

You may have struggled long and hard. Or maybe you never were really in the game 'til now.

But as long as you haven't heard the final whistle, you can still score the winning shot. Funny thing is, no one will remember your failures. You are playing the game of your life. Don't judge it before the game is finished!

And you will find, though no one gave you a helping hand during the fight, people will say: "I always knew you would make it".


How to make your way out of a crisis

  1. Never stop studying all your life
  2. Do what you have to do, when you have to do it, whether you want to or not.
  3. It's not those who give the advice who will also pay the bills if you don't make it.
  4. Find a mentor!
  5. Protect yourself from negativity
  6. Do what you have to do right now. Do it now!
  7. It is never too late to do what needs to be done.


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