Business Tips for Living and Selling in Tough Times

By Eric Albertson, Corporate Coach

Most people will keep their jobs, most people will keep their homes, and most people will have worried for absolutely nothing, during these economic times. Even during the great depression, a huge number of people came through it just fine.

Will it be me?
Life is certainly unpredictable. It can be better or worse than you expect. How can you know? My method is simply to take stock of what is true in my life, and in my clients' lives, by writing out as many of the objective facts as I can. Try not to put a spin on it; neither to the positive nor the negative. As Nike says, "Just Do It."

Given history
This is a powerful concept: Given history, things are as they should be. You got where you are through your action, inaction, choices, and your intersection with life's uncertainties. After taking stock of your situation, you might be relieved, or deeply concerned. The key is to know and be honest about your current situation; save the blame or congratulations. Both are distractions.

It all depends
If you are in great shape, you could be in a position to maintain yourself, and help others. If you are in tough shape, it could be time to get real about prioritizing your actions, and then by getting busy and taking action.

The first stall point
It's easy to get outcomes confused with actions. For example, getting a new job is an outcome, while sending a resume is an action. An action is a step you can take on your own (sending a resume) while getting a job is dependent upon the actions of another (being offered a new job). You can't fully control outcomes, but you can control actions. Take action.

Getting real
Are your actions the most logical and appropriate for what must be done today? If you just take care of the next five minutes, the next hour, and the next day, you can take care of your life. Don't dither. No action will be perfect. Trust that you will learn as you go. Consider taking God's lead and forgive yourself. Pursuit of perfection is one of the most destructive default modes humans can get into.

Possibly missing
So now, you know where you are. Next, jot down where you want to be. Then, start jotting down what is possibly missing to get from where you are to where you want to be. Try not to judge; just jot. Finally, choose from the list of possibly missing items, one that looks like an opportunity for action. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just take the action.

The fog blows away
The route from the fear of the moment to the future you desire will likely not be clear at first. Through taking one small step, your next action will likely become clear. I believe that God and life remove the fog, in part, through our willingness to take one action at a time, with each new action lighting the way to the next. In my experience, clarity comes through innovative action.

My definition of being a victim is waiting for others to disclose the future. Being responsible for your life, I believe, is all about taking innovative action to close the gap between today and the desired future. As my mother used to say, "My extremity is God's opportunity."

Know where you are today. Get clear on where you want to go. List the possible missing items and fill the gap between the two. Discern your opportunities for action. Take the action. Learn and act again. This is being responsible for your life.

Operating from a perspective of choice is critical in tough times. "No choice," is the catch phrase of the victim. Nobody promised that you would like the choices, but you always have them. The top choice, in my opinion, is, "Am I going to be a victim? Or am I going to be responsible (read that response-able) for my future"?

Top six things today
So chart out the top six things that you must do to bring about the future you desire. Start with number one. If you have a different approach for coping with challenging times, please send them to me at

Reprinted with permission from Eric Albertson's Newsletter (Copyright, 1998-2008, Eric Albertson,

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