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A Practical Guide For Getting Through Them




Theyre here, whether we want them to be or not. And since they are here, learn how to make the most of them: TEAR DOWN THE WALL OF WORRY that keeps you from facing tougher times and dealing effectively with them. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR MONEY and use it to TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE instead of vice versa. Find the HELP YOU NEED to help face your challenges and nd the strength that HELPS YOU HELP OTHERS. Get a HANDLE ON YOUR HEALTH and discover how good health habits make tougher times less daunting. Recognize and deal with the EMOTIONAL WARNING SIGNS that tougher times make more commonand more dangerous. Create an INVENTORY OF YOUR LIFE and realize just how well-equipped you already are to deal with tougher times.



Open this little book and begin learning how to


A Practical Guide For Getting Through Them
Hutt Bush and Keith Ferrell

Copyright 2009 E. B. Hutt Bush and Keith Ferrell First Edition All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written permission of the Publisher. ISBN-10: 0-615-27535-7 ISBN-13: 978-0-615-27525-3 Design and layout by Alec Ferrell Being Point Press P.O. Box 10926 Beverly Hills, CA 90213

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INTRODUCTION Tougher Than What? CHAPTER ONE Tearing Down The Wall Of Worry CHAPTER TWO Putting Money In Its Place (And How To Keep It There!) CHAPTER THREE Healthier Makes You Tougher CHAPTER FOUR Relationship Matters (More Than Ever!) CHAPTER FIVE Emotional Distress Signals CHAPTER SIX Growing Comfortable With Courage

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orewarned is forearmed: Tougher than what? No question that the global nancial crisis is tougher than anything our economies have faced in close to a century. But all of the dramatic events beginning in the late summer and early fall of 2008 most notably the constantly worsening global nancial crisis, but also hurricanes, wildres, and the usual array of disasters natural and human-causedremind us that already tough times can all too easily and all too quickly become tougher. What exactly is it, though, beyond the obvious, headline-making aspectsand in the case of the economy, the history-making aspectsthat makes tough times tougher? Fear Fear. Not just the anxiety or nervousness or concern to which were all prey in even the best of times, but real terror. Dread. Deep, draining fear that spreads from its source headlines, a doctors diagnosis, relationship troubles, nancial setbacksto color all the other aspects of our lives. FEAR. Specically, its the fear that, above all, things are never going to be the same again. Weve heard it before in times of challenge and transition: 9/11, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the bursting of the dot-com bubble, the tsunami or Katrina, and more: The world was changed forever A time of historic change Unlike anything weve ever seen Never before in history And countless, garish other examples, as a glance at any newspaper, news program or website shows.



If the changes are dramatic or dynamic enough, or the times bad enough, the fears they create can come to dominate every aspect of our lives, guiding us to make bad decisions, take bad actions, or become all but completely immobilized. Not for nothing did Franklin Roosevelt tell the nation The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Roosevelt understood that by addressingand facingfear, you take a large rst step toward facing and dealing with whatever circumstances youre in, and with the sources and problems that created or prompted or sparked the fear in the rst place. In other words, face your fear and youre ready to face anything. Easier said than donebut it can be done. And you can do it, no matter how tough your tougher times, not to mention the worlds, are. You already possess the most vital tool for dealing with those fears: Your SELF.

One ne more bit of history before we examine our present-day tougher times and how best to deal with them. Throughout the nancial crises beginning in the second half of 2008, commentators and pundits have invoked the 1929 Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression that followed, calling ours the toughest times since the Great Depression, worrying that another Depression loomed. Whether or not a new Depression proves to have begun in the late summer of 2008, the next Depression is going to be a different sort of Depression. Those differencesand how to handle them, deal with them, and approach them so that you still achieve the results you desire and needare what this little book is about. One of the few things that our contemporary tougher times do have in common with those of the early 1930s is the tone that colors most commentaries: The world has changed forever; things will never be the same again Our parents and grandparents and, for some of us, great grandparents, heard that in 1929 and 1930, just as were hearing it now. Only the media we hear it through have changed. But because we have a 21st Century perspective, we know something our ancestors may have only suspected:



Forever, like never, is a long time. Once you know that, it gets a little easier to live in the present, and from there a little easier to deal with the present, however much tougher it seems than the past. So lets get on with it. (Good advice in itself, come to think of it, for dealing with tougher times.) Lets look at some ways to make our tougher times into times were tough enough to thrive in.






Tearing Down The Wall Of Worry


orewarned is forearmed: Worry is a wall that separates you from your problems rather than helping you solve them. But its a wall that we can learn to climb over and, ultimately, tear down. How can worrying about things actually separate us from what were worrying

Simple: the worry itself all too easily can become the focus of our energy and time, consuming them like a slow ame when we most need the energy and time to be applied to solving the problems were worrying ourselves sick over. Sometimes literally sick: Well look a bit more closely in a later chapter at the devastating psychological and emotional effects of excessive, chronic worry and its even deeper and deadlier siblingsanxiety, depression, and other dangerous mental and psychological states. For now, lets look at the sorts of day-to-day worries that can wear you out and wear you down (and in so doing, make you more vulnerable and perhaps even more likely to experience severe psychological and emotional consequences). It would be a mistake to think of those day-to-day worries as average or garden variety or standard. Because worry is an intensely personal experience, each of our worries (and, for most of us, our collection of worries large and small) is unique in detail to our own, individual lives. That said, its worth reminding ourselves of some of the broad and general categories that most of those day-to-day, kitchen table worries fall into: Money Relationship difculties / family troubles Job / school performance



Health The future No surprise that many of these are precisely the categories this book examines. As well stress (youll pardon the use of that worrisome word) throughout the book, all of the aspects of our lives are both related and interrelated. Staying up half the night worrying about your health can not only affect your health in negative ways: it can also affect your performance at work or in the classroom the next day, which can in turn spill over into your personal life and relationships. Its worth bearing in mind as well that everybody worries about these things. Admittedly, those worries differ in degree and context. Warren Buffet, for example, has a cosmically different set of money concerns than the rest of us. But even a quick glance at interviews with Buffet shows that he does worry about money; he just does so in terms of investments, scal policy, philanthropy. Armed with our sense of those common areas of concern, lets examine what happens to our kitchen table, daily worries when times get tougher. Job performance and job security worries can grow more complicated when compounded by thoughts such as: If I lose my job, will there even be another job for me to nd? Health concerns? How can I afford to see a doctor now that Ive had to raise my insurance deductible sky-high? Relationships? Will my familys love for me diminish because I cant provide for them as well as theyre accustomed to? All perfectly natural, all completely humanand all working (sometimes constantly) in large and small ways actually to not only prevent you from dealing effectively with the issues and concerns, but also to distract yourself from even beginning to deal with the issues that youre worrying about. Distract yourself? Sure: by worrying over a problem, rather than applying yourself to its solution (or at least the beginnings of a solution) you actually may be convincing yourself on some level that your problem has no solution, that it cannot be solved. In other words, the real message that worry sends us is likely to be: Why bother? In tougher times, the daily concerns that serve as the focus of our worries can become dwarfed by the largerand even more worrisome!challenges tougher times bring with them. But those smaller worries dont go away: theyre either amplied by the pressures of the larger, tougher concerns, or they meld and mingle with the new problems, making an



already troubling situation worse. Our willingness to worry about smaller problemsor inability to stop worrying about themrather than engaging ourselves with approaches to their solution serves a dual, devastating purpose: not only do we fail to deal with smaller concerns, we sow the seeds for failure to confront the additional challenges that tougher times bring our way. In short: Worry begets worry Small worries unaddressed can grow into larger ones The appearance of larger problems doesnt displace the smaller ones were worried about: they combine to increase the size of the wall we erect between our problems and their solution. If it sounds like a vicious cycle, it is, but the important aspect to focus on it its viciousness. Worry gnaws at us ruthlessly and, in doing so, eats away at our condence, our energy, our ability to think clearly. Worry can have dire effects on every other aspect of our lives, even (and perhaps especially) those aspects that have been previously more or less worry-free. Weve all seen that happen, and most of us have had it happen at one time or another the small worry that, not dealt with, grows larger, spreads, and ends up exerting far larger and far more damaging effects than its original source would have seemed likely to cause. In this way, worry is like a disease-bearing germ or bacterium: a small scratch left untreated can become a source of infection that spreads throughout the body, ultimately threatening our lives. Whats the solution? Perspective. As well see throughout this little book, and as we can see in many aspects of our lives if we take the trouble to look, perspectiveour choice in the ways in which we look at thingscan alter both the nature of the problem were considering and, crucially, the nature of the ways in which we think about the problem. And the simplest way to gain that new perspective is to take a fresh look at the matters of most concernlarge or smallto us. That fresh look starts with a series of questions: 1. What am I worried about? 2. What can I do about it? 3. Whats the best solution I can choose?



Of course, its not just a matter of knowing which questions to ask. Equally important is knowing how to answer those questions. For example, if nancial concerns are at the top of your worry-list, the answer to the rst question isnt Money. Thats far too general and all-inclusive, and far too likely to make that worry-wall seem insurmountable because of its very generality and allinclusiveness. Broad, non-specic words such as moneyor other generalities such as bills or debtbring up an equally broad range of associations and triggers that can further distract us from the specic challenges we face. Forewarning: Be as specic as possible when asking What am I worried about? Get a pen and paper and make a formal list. In the case of money worries, such a list might most effectively begin with time-critical money issues: Mortgage or rent payment Tax bills Past-due credit card bills Insurance premiums And any other money-related items you can think of From that initial list of specic worries, you can work toward even greater specicity: place a calendar beside your worry-list and coordinate between the two. How much is due when? How far past-due are certain bills? Those simple actswriting things down, being specic and precise, combining different factors (money and calendar) that affect the worrycan be large steps toward dealing with a problem. We use the word simple advisedly: we know from experience how very difcult it can be just to get started with engaging with our problems rather than simply worrying about them. But we also know from experience, both our own and those of clients with whom weve worked, that those rst steps toward answering that rst question are also the rst steps toward building a ladder to scale the wall of worries. Beyond that, theyre steps to assembling the tools we need to demolish the wall. And they are steps toward replacing it with a clearer, more reasonable, more realistic, and far more rewarding view of horizons that are open to us rather than walls that imprison us. If your worries are relationship or family-oriented, the same approach and the same commitment to being as specic as possible will afford you a view of possibility and potential rather than worry. For example, Im worried about my marriage says little more than that your



relationships difculties are a cause for concern and preoccupation. What, precisely, are those difculties? We no longer talk We arent intimate My spouse doesnt understand the pressures Im facing Again, bringing in a calendar or other extra to your list-making can prove a valuable tool. Circle the date of an upcoming anniversary (and if one isnt due in the next few days, make one up: the anniversary of some silly thing the two of you did together perhaps). Consider asking your spouse for a date for that day. Use that time to bring up the aspect of the relationship thats been most worrisome for you. And dont be surprised if you discover that your spouse has had similar feelingsand probably many of the same worries. Youve probably already noticed that by carefully and realistically addressing that rst question What am I worried about? youve also already begun to address the second: What can I do about it? In the case of money concerns, youve taken a large step by putting together that combined portrait of obligations and time. Knowing how much time you have to deal with an issue before it becomes critical is itself a critical bit of information. If something is pastdue, you should know precisely how much time has elapsed since the bill reached the crisis point. This arms you with vital information. That information will, in turn, help prepare you to seek the resources or make the decisions necessary to begin bringing matters to a solution. That solution will likely be better expressed as a variety of solutions, some ideal, some not, many somewhere in-between the two extremes: Bankruptcy is a solution to severe nancial difculties, but so is the possibility of negotiating a less drastic resolution to your problems, or realizing that you possess resources that, liquidated properly, can bring the nancial crisis under control and make its longer-term consequences more manageable. The choice of solutionsfrom which youll choose the best solution for your circumstances, resources and time availablebecomes a resource itself: an array of possibilities and potentials that your worry kept you from perceiving. In other words, your worries arent in charge of the situation any longer: you are. And youve taken charge by following three simple steps: 1. Be specic about what youre worried about. 2. Be specic about the options you have for dealing with the problem that



youre worried about. 3. Choose the best solution from the options available to you. Which brings us to the next and most important of the steps: Immediately implement the best solution. Only by taking action from among the various courses of action available to you can you begin to climb that ladder youre building, lifting yourself rung-by-rung past the wall thats been holding you in place, holding you back, holding you in check. This critical step is also among the most fraught with risk. The risk is not that the solution youve chosen to implement will prove wrong. Weve all been there, too, and with luck and discipline weve all learned to adjust the implementation and design of our solutions as external (and occasionally even internal!) circumstances, conditions and factors change. The real risk is of creating and surrendering to additional worries as the implementation of the chosen solution gets underway. At which point you have another step to pursue:

Choose to refuse to worry.

Every one of the steps weve presented here is aimed at helping you create an environment in which worry not only cannot thrive, but also cannot continue to nd footholds. The essence of that refusaland the essence of every one of the steps and exercises weve outlined hereis the decision to Live in the present Act on the present And by doing so, prepare yourself and your life for

a less worried future.

During the financial crisis and warnings of far tougher times that spread like wildfire beginning in the early Fall of 2008, a great deal of commentary from any number of expert commentators sought to remind audiences that for many investments and investors, the losses of 2008 would eventually be replaced as the worlds markets recovered, renewed



themselves, as new economic opportunities developed. As time passed, in other words. Well see before the close of this book the many roles that time plays in every aspect of our lives (good and not so good) but for now lets take a moment (just a small bit of time!) to consider a specic time-keeping device: the hourglass. Most of us, today, dont have much occasion to use, or even see traditional hourglasses. Even simple egg-timers are now digital devices. But the old-fashioned analog hourglass still has a lesson or two to teach, and that lesson is found at its center. Literally: the waist of the hourglass marks the point between time available and time past. The waist permits the passage of a single grain of sand at atime. That waist, where time passes, is where things happen. That waist is where we live. The grains below us cannot travel back up into the mass of time to come; the hourglass must be turned over and the process renewed before they become potential time again. The grains above us are not immediately accessible: They have to reach the waist, one grain at a time, before they become part of the present. They will get therethe future will arrive whether we worry about it or noton their own schedule. So the present is not only where our actions must take place: its the only place our actions can take place. Some of those actions, as weve seen, may well involve dealing with the consequences of past actions or inactions. Whatever actions or failures to take action, we pursue now will themselves have consequences and produce results that will affect the nature of our future. Certainly those consequences should and, properly, must, be considered as we work our way from our initial list of worries to the implementation of the best possible solutions to our specic problems. The point is that now is the time to act. Effective action requires arming ourselves with specic understanding of the challenges we face, precise information about the choices available to us, including a thorough and detailed inventory of the resources we can draw upon. By allowing non-specic, non-detailed, general and broad concernsworriesto guide our actions, or guide us into inaction, were not only failing to deal with our problems and face our challenges in any constructive way: we may actually beand probably are making things worse.



Above all, were misusing one of the greatest and most powerful tools we possess: Imagination. Our imagination and creativity can propel us away from our daily troubles and toward that better future we all seek: imagination can help us leap over that worry-wall as well as helping us to build a ladder to scale it or a wrecking ball to demolish it. But worry has a way of co-opting our imaginations: worry feeds upon imagination because imagination can lend worries, even small ones, a power out of proportion to the nature of the problem the worry represents. Virtually all of us can remember at least one incident of imagination gone bad from our childhoods. The punishment, or bad gradeor other consequence we imagined as a result of some infraction or otherinvariably turned out to be far worse than the actual punishment we received. Allowing our imaginations to be completely subsumed and compromised by our worries can have devastating, even deadly emotional and psychological consequences. By understanding that our imaginations belong to our selves, though, and placing our imaginations in committed, constant and unagging service to our choices and their implementation, we enlist an ally of almost unbelievable force.

Choose to refuse to worry.

Now imagine yourself making that choiceand making it nowand imagine as well your worries becoming not the focus of your life, but the focus of your solutions to them. Do that and worry itself begins to become something else altogether: a learning experience, a warning sign, a memory, an aspect of your life covered by the grains of sand that have passed through the waist of your hourglass, a piece of the past rather than aor in the worst cases thedeterminant of your future. A real future that, tougher times or not, is shaped by your ability to control your response to it, not by your worries that your future is out of control. There are, its been said for millennia, only two categories of things in our lives: those we can do something about and those that we cant. The challenge, an even older saying goes, is to know the difference. The opportunity, we would remind you, is to know the difference and deal with the differences, without worrying about them. None of this means that by refusing to worry about your problems youve solved them or that theyll go away. Far from it. By taking steps to understand, confront and begin



dealing with the specic causes and circumstances of your worries, youll nd yourself living on far more intimate terms with troublesome aspects of your life than you ever did while internalizing and worrying about them. This is a good thing. And youll also nd that by confronting, understanding, specifying and acting on the sources of your worries they look different. You achieve perspective by changing your perspective. Much of thisand for some of us, all of thiswont be accomplished without pain. But youll likely discover that its the pain that accompanies effort, the ache that comes from beginning to use muscles in new ways, stretching and training them and yourself to accomplish more. The pain of getting in shape to meet larger challenges, to be better prepared to deal with tougher times and better able to make the most of better ones. You can do this. Dont worry: you can. And in the face of tougher times: you will. Imagine that for a changeand youll have begun to make the changes that tougher times require.






Putting Money In Its Place
(And How To Keep It There!)

orewarned is forearmed: When tougher nancial and economic times hit, concentrate on what you have, not what you had or have lost. Taking an accurate, clear-eyed and absolutely honest asset inventory as early as possible in your nancially tougher times is not only an important tool for helping you deal with the challenges produced by the crisis: its also a crucial rst step toward every other nancial decision and response youll make. Just as importantand in some cases more importantis an equally honest liability inventory. Know what you owe. Know what debts are in danger of default, and which obligations can be renegotiated or temporarily deferred. Be especially aware of liabilities that put you at legal risk. These are crucial rst steps that will affect subsequent decisions and actions. Above all, the clear eyes and honesty you bring to the inventories help you shift your focus from the crisis to its consequences and how youll deal with them. Youre taking positive action that extends to your mental state and anxiety levels as well as your balance sheet. Asset and liability inventories will also remind you that: A severe nancial crisiswhether whether global or personal personalisnt a death sentence no matter what theyre saying on TV, in the papers, and across the Internet. They are the pundits and commentators and analysts, the politicians and wouldbe politicians, the headline writers and bloggers, the experts and the informed sources, the marketers and advertisersjust about everyone, in other words, who has a microphone or megaphone. And thanks to the Internet, nearly everyone does have a digital megaphone. And what theyll be saying is that:



You should be scared. The world (as we know it, anyway) is coming to an end. Things are going to get worse. And worse Dont listen to them. Far easier said than done in our always-on, always-connected, always plugged-in culture.

In tougher times, the ability to tune out the doom-buzz is as vital (and more benecial) a skill as being able to tune into and mine the information-sphere.
At the very least dont listen to them without a healthy dose of skepticismand a healthier, in more than one sense of the word, dose of understanding. Understand that: They want you to be scared: Youre vulnerable that way. They want your money, your support, your votes, and theyll use fear to appeal for them. Times are tougher for them too, and as a consequence They are as scared as everyone else! What theyre after is keeping their market (and audience) off-balance. They want to put you in reaction mode, betting that for at least some of you, the reaction will be to buy their products or their arguments. Our rst reactions are nearly always impulsive, and thats what theyre counting on, too. Theyre betting that you will: Make a snap judgment in response to their appeal. React without stopping to think. Take action based on their manipulation of your fear.

Reaction is not response: Tougher times call for responses, not impulsive reactions.



Watch the headlineswatch them, dont react to themand the advertisements and marketing strategies that reect them, with an eye outand your guard upfor the manipulative strategies, tactics and language that will be used in attempts to liberate you from your money, support, patronage, membership, and so on. As times get tougher, youll see things like:

Indulge yourself!
You cant afford not to!

You deserve!
Nows THE time to buy / invest in!

There are plenty more. And were all seeing and hearing and being inundated with them, an absolute barrage of come-ons, appeals, and outright scare tactics aimed at turning your fear into someone elses gains. Your best defense against those tactics is your own head. Think before you commit which is good advice in better times too. An exercise that will serve you well as the assaults and appeals increase in number and volume, is the old student driver lesson: Before making a turn, look left, then right, then left again. That sort of approachbasically, take a breath and dont press the accelerator too soonreinforces itself and, youll quickly nd, reinforces the skepticism and critical thinking that put the hard-sells and scare tactics in their proper place, while helping keep your money in its proper place. Besides, as were about to see, there are plenty of good and valuable things you can do with your money that dont involve giving it to them.

CREATE THAT ASSET INVENTORY List the value of your property now, not what it was once worth. Identify the assets you most want or need to keephouse, carand those that could be liquidated if need be. Be realistic about what you think are your assets and their value: that collection that youre sure is worth a fortune may not be.



CREATE THAT LIABILITY INVENTORY List your debts and obligations by category: Mortgage Taxes Credit card and other consumer debt The Less You Owe, The More You Can Grow (Even In Tougher Times): Find ways to reduce debt, even by a few dollars, every month: Minimum monthly payments are permanent debt-traps (that are probably running at higher interest / penalty levels than when the loan or credit card was initially issued). Houses and cars should be paid for over time: virtually everything else should be cash-and-carry, defer the purchase, or dowithout. If your debts are overwhelming, which place your assets at risk, seek outside, expert advice and counsel: Financial advisors Credit counselors Attorneys Remember that their fees must be factored into your budget. Bear in mind that many of these services are available at reduced or nocost through community service agencies. Got A Budget? Make It A Better One! Know what youre spending and look for ways to tighten up. If at all possible, continue to include savings/investments as regular budget items. If you dont have a budget, get one; a written budget, regularly reviewed, is more effective than a general set of notes glanced at occasionally. GOING GREEN ISNT JUST CLEANITS FINANCIALLY LEAN! Change your light bulbs to CFRs. Turn down the thermostat or air conditioner, and your water heater, a few degrees. Maintain your car (keep your tires properly inated). YOU DIDNT GET WHAT YOU HAD OVERNIGHTYOURE NOT LIKELY TO GET IT BACK OVERNIGHT Make adjustments in balancing your savings and investments to reect your changed circumstances or those of the larger economy. Get-rich quick come-ons dont come-through. If global or national economic conditions promise to take some time to turn around, odds are your investments will require some time to recover as well. Dont look foror lose sleep overyesterdays growth rates and returns: concentrate on whats possible now. Whatever your assets were worth during boom times should be a memory, not a prison of regret. PLENTY OF LIFES BEST THINGS REALLY ARE FREE! Take a walkits good exercise (and it gets you away from those headlines and scarelines: Leave the earbud at home). Create something: draw a picture, write a poem, build a birdhouse; creative expression liberates other energies and provides



calming effects and benets. Make a list of ten things that enrich your life but cost nothing (and are thus priceless priceless)and keep the list with you at all times.

And those are just a few of the simplest and most basic of steps you can take to get your bearings and nd your footing when times get tougher. Because youre taking the time to thinklook left, look right, then look left again before you act (and especially before you spend) you create an internal attitude that reinforces itself. Youll nd, quickly, that each idea you have for adjusting your spending/saving habits to reect tougher times spawns even more ideas. Some will be good. Some, in fact, will be great, and youll wonder how you got so far without them. And some wont. The point is that youre thinking, not reacting and above all not reacting in fear. Reacting in fear is called panic! Dont panic, and, youll be on your way to putting money in its proper place. Money is a vital tool, but its nothing more than a tool. And its certainly not the ultimate denition of who you are and what you can do. Its not even close. As well see in the following chapters, the steps you take to respond to nancially tougher times will be reected in how you respond (not react!) to the anxieties and stresses, the relationship issues, the health and wellness opportunities (not problems!) and other ways that tougher times touchand too often try to put the touch onus all.






Healthier Makes You Tougher

is forearmed: Your health and wellness arent just rst things rst, theyre rst things always. The stress and anxieties that accompany tougher times can not only take a toll on our health: they can also amplify and magnify existing health and wellness issues, making every aspect of tougher situations even tougher to deal with effectively. More than that: too often our responses to tougher times, whether large scale and ongoing or personal and temporary, is to seek comfort in unhealthy and even destructive behaviors. What were really seeking is distraction and avoidance. We seek them through: Using alcohol, tobacco or drugs to excess Over-dosing ourselves with caffeine and other stimulants Turning to high-fat fast foods, junk foods and sweets for the quick lift they seem to provide Sleeping less, and less deeply Neglecting or abandoning exercise in order to be more productive Being unable to relaxor refusing to relax, again, in order to deal more constantly with the consequences of our tougher situations And other forms of self-medication In every one of these casesand virtually any others specic to your individual health and wellness historythe consequence is to compound the challenges you face, not manage or reduce them. Why take actionsor inactionsthat are all but designed to complicate the challenges we face? Because in nearly every casetaking a drink or lighting a cigarette, gobbling a candy bar or increasing our coffee consumption, name your personal poison-of-choicewere looking



for an immediate and instant gratication reaction, rather than applying ourselves (and the self-discipline required for the application) to making ourselves physically better so that we are better-prepared to improve our overall situation. There was an old advertising slogan that essentially promised, When youve got your health, youve got just about everything. Like most advertising slogans, the kernel of truth was followed by a pitch for a product that, taken daily, helped you get your health and, by implication, just about everything else. The ad promoted a relatively easy x which most of us know better than to believe (or fall for)but that kernel of truth is as accurate today as its always been: When we attend to our health and wellness, we are better ableand above all better prepared preparedto attend to the other challenges we face. More than that, the very acts of attending to the various aspects of our health and wellnessof eating better, exercising more frequently, resting and sleeping more fullyare constant reminders of the value of daily, or at least regular, attention and application. We feel better after we exercise or eat a healthy, balanced meal. After weve stuck to an exercise program or nutritional plan for a few days, we begin to feel better more consistently, more constantly. We have more energy, our powers of concentration grow sharper, our muscle-tone and our sense of our physical self improve simultaneouslywith a simultaneous and benecial effect on our emotional and mental health. Additionally, but not incidentally, that incremental, step-by-step approach to eliminating bad habits and addictions, and replacing them with daily, incremental, step-bystep good health and wellness habits reinforces a larger insight and principle:

Getting the results we want, whether in tougher times or better times, is rarely a race, and almost never has a quick-x or instant solution.
Once we understand that principle, and apply it to our daily health and wellness concerns and hopes, were better able to extend the approach to the other challenges we face. When youve taken a consistent, committed, ongoing approach to improving the state of your health and wellness, youve added profoundly to your ability to improve other situations in your life. Of course, the world, as always, has other plans for us. And many of those plans are aimed directly at exploiting our anxieties, worries and fears.



In the previous chapter we looked at some of the ways in which advertisers and marketers and headline writers and headline makersuse aggressive, fear-laden language to manipulate our responses to tougher times. When those manipulations are successful, were manipulated into reacting rather than responding, into letting impulse overpower intelligence. In tougher times, advertisers and marketers push those same tools and techniques into higher gear, appealing to our fears by: Telling us its all right to indulgeto give yourself a high-fat super-sweet treat to help you forget that things are tough. Promising ever more incredible instant results in ever more insistent ways. Implying that nearly all emotional, anxiety, insomnia, sexual, depression and related issues can be cured with a pill or a vacation or a purchase. Inviting us to party hearty and party on as though the worldsor our own tougher times were themselves the distraction from whats important. Encouragingurging, even beggingus to spend and spend some more on those quick-xes, instant solutions, decadent indulgences. See the pattern there? Of course you do. Theythe same they tackling your nancial fears mentioned in the rst chapterknow that your stress and anxiety levels have risen, and that tougher times are fueling the rise. They know that youre feeling battered, and they know even more clearly that a battered audience is a vulnerable audience. A market thats distracted and tired is a market that can easily make impulsive, reactive decisions to their benet. Weve spent some time on these issues because anxiety and stress levelsand the worlds manipulation/exploitation of themare directly related to your overall health and wellness, which are inextricably related to your ability to face tougher times of every type and variety. So before we move on to some more purely physical/mental/emotional health and wellness tools, tips and tactics, keep this in mind:

For your health, reduce the amount of salt in your diet for your mental and emotional health, add a healthy heaping of salt to the headlines and advertisements ghting for your attention.

Better health isnt just a goal. Its an achievable result. Heres a variety of approaches, tools, and tactics that, one (vibrant and aerobically benecial) step at a time will improve your health, wellness, tness, concentration, emotional stabilityyou name it, and better health will probably improve it. START AN EXERCISE PROGRAM IF YOU DONT HAVE ONE Check with a physician before starting an exercise program. Start small and build up in increments: if you havent been walking, try walking ve minutes. Tomorrow make it six; adding a minute of walking every day or two will bring you to 15 minutes of aerobic benet before two weeks have passed. Work your new approach to exercise into your established patterns of work and life: Take the stairs, not the elevator. Walk (or bike) to work or take mass transit. If you take mass transit, disembark two stops before your workplace stop. Walk the rest of the distance briskly. If you must drive, start parking a block farther from your workplace than you normally do. Rake the yard instead of using a leaf blower. Same goes for snow and any other yard and housework. Bear in mind that physical exerciseand the benets it provideshas a direct bearing on your mental and emotional health. INCREASE THE EXERCISE PROGRAM YOU ALREADY HAVE Within reasonand, if possible or necessary, with the guidance and approval of a trainer or physicianadding an extra amount of effort to your exercise program can produce results that exceed the minimal extra time and effort applied (with the caveat as always that overdoing it can undo it!). KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESSAND YOUR RESULTS A simple record of your exercise (and dietary/sleeping habits) is a powerful tool for reinforcing them: After just a few days youll be able to look at what is essentially a step-by-step map of your progress toward a healthier lifestyle. That map will, in turn, offer its own quiet encouragement for you to continue taking those steps and making the effort to reach that healthier goaland sustain it. If you backslide, make a note of that, too. But dont beat yourself up about it: just be aware that recording your (occasional and, with focus and discipline, rare) missteps are part of your map as well.



RESIST TEMPTATIONAND REWARD RESISTANCE WITH NEW INDULGENCES As you make progressa pound lost from your waistline, a pound added to your weight training, whateveryoure liable to feel the temptation to indulge yourself (and youll be further tempted, as weve seen, by advertising). Be careful! Consider giving yourself a spiritual reward rather than a physical one: Set aside a few extra minutes of quiet time just for yourself and your thoughts. Do a good deed such as helping an elderly or inrm family member or neighbor. And if you do succumb to your sweet tooth or other high fat temptations, make the slip worthwhile: get a good treat, not a drive-through one. SLEEP MORE REGULARLY AND DEEPLY Tougher times and the challenges they bring tend to stay with us 24/7, disrupting our sleep as well as weighing us down during our waking hours. This can quickly become a vicious cycle, viciously re-enforcing itself. Getting a good nights sleepat least seven hours, impossible as that may soundranks high among the central elements of a healthier and more wellness-focused approach to meeting our daily challenges. A few simple steps can at least better prepare you for better sleep: Go to bed at the same time every night. Turn off the television and music before you go to bed, not after youve gotten under the covers. Dont give up too easily. If you cant fall asleep, simply lie still and relax, emptying your mind of thought as much as possible. If youre having consistent trouble getting a good nights sleep, consider seeing a physicianbut if at all possible, avoid sleeping pills. EATING HEALTHY CAN MEAN EATING WELL There are plenty of good guides, many of them available online, to better nutritional habits: take a look at them and compare them with your own eating habits. Eat a low-fat breakfast Investigate local farmers markets and produce stands. Freshly grown (organically if possible) local produce not only tastes better, it is itself a reminder of the role of community in facing tougher times: buying vegetables from a local farmer helps that farmerand your communitythrough tougher times in a way that buying long-distance food at a mega-store never will. Grow your own: planting a garden not only sows the seeds (pardon the pun) of healthier foods, its also good exercise! CUT THE BAD HABITS AND BATTLE THE ADDICTIONS Well look at addictive behaviorsand substancesin the Emotional Wellness chapter of this book, but for now: Alcohol, tobacco and less legal drugs only seem to offer stimulation and relaxation: They can kill you. Any consistent over-indulgencechocolate or junk food binges, for instanceshould be eliminated and replaced with healthier alternatives.






Relationship Matters (More Than Ever!)

is forearmed: Youre not alone. Even if youre not currently in a relationship, youre not alone. Just as an asset inventory is a vital step toward taking control of your tougher nancial times, a relationship inventory can help remind you of the wealth of connections and support available to you (and you to them) when times grow tougher. This need not be as formal as the tally of your assets: what youre looking for here is a quick reminder of the network of relationships you can lean onand, in many cases, draw uponwhen tougher times arrive: Spouse / partner Family Friends Neighbors Church and other faith-groups Social organizations to which you belong Co-workers Classmates and alumni associations Online friends and social networks Simply taking a moment to reect on who you know and how you know them can be reassuring. A sense of how widespread and diverse your universe of friends is becomes a source of comfort and a reminder of just how far from being alone you really are. When times get tougher for everybodya widespread nancial crisis is a good exampleits important to bear in mind that everybodys under stress. Large-scale tougher times place stress on systems in every direction and, if you are not alert to this, you can add to the stress rather than helping to diminish it.



A system under stress does NOT behave in the same ways as a system free (or freer, anyway) from stress. When things grow more difcultwhether for the nation and the entire world, or just for your own householdits important that youre prepared for the additional difculties your relationships will face. Being prepared for those difculties doesnt minimize their reality or eliminate their sources. Preparation lets you take the steps and make the adjustments that can contribute to reducing them. Be realistic about expectations: People react to tougher times in different ways: understand that you may not be able to count on the sorts of support youve received in the past, no matter how much you need it. On the other hand, many of us rise to the occasions tougher times create: you may nd yourself receiving more and richer support. Be aware of shared fears: Your loved ones, friends and acquaintances are scared tooa fear inventory is an effective tool for your relationship. What are you scared of in common? And how can working together to face fears together help you deal with them? Grant a wider berth: Tougher times generally involve large challenges: dont over-react to small annoyances. Doing so only succeeds in adding to the problem, not reducing it. Offer positive support: You know youre going to get through tougher times: make sure that others know you have an equal belief in their abilities and capacities for dealing with the challenges you face. In the case of marriages and partnerships, including business partnerships, shared tougher times creates shared stress that itself risks becoming self-reinforcing. Already existing money concernsthe number one source of tension between spouses and life-partners even in the best timesare amplied by wider-spread nancial downturns. Worries grow larger and so can the disagreements, arguments and conicts (or those long silences that are themselves a form of ghting) can escalateall to little or no good effect. Tougher times can all too easily be made even tougher by reacting in anger anger. Anger, after all, often ows from fear, and fear is what were working to reduce, not magnify. Reaction, it cant be said too often, is not the same as response.



Respond thoughtfully to concernsand, especially, to fearsrather rather than impulsively reacting to them, and youll nd tension, stress, and fear itself responding to your attention and attentiveness rather than controlling your reactions. The same general approach and concern for others applies to our business relationships. If your employeror you as an employerface tougher business conditions, reduced circumstances, the possibility of failure, the internal climate of your company can quickly become dominated by poisons rather than positives. Fighting this climate change is among the most importantand most essential battles of your professional life. And, as with personal relationships, the tools for effectively confronting the fears and anxieties affecting the workplace draw upon your understanding, your ability to reect and respond rather than react, your empathy and sympathy for others in the same or similar boat to yours. Rising tides (to extend the metaphor) may lift all boats, but stormy seas batter all boats too. Maintaining, nourishing and nurturing solid, growing relationships is challenging in all times. The World War II acronym SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fouled Up) is as true or truer of Abnormal situations. The point being that every relationshipbusiness or personal or familialis always a balancing act and is always vulnerable to being tipped off-balance. Tougher times by their very nature start all of us teetering: the goal is to seek equilibrium, not ail our arms wildly in search of balance. Bearing that in mind in tougher times opens you to seeking, discovering and applying those tools, steps, techniques and just plain considerations that we all should be bringing to every one of our relationships at all times. Here are some steps and strides you can take that will help your relationships grow stronger during tougher times rather than being sundered or swept away by them.

TALK IS NOT ONLY FREE, ITS PRICELESS Share your fears and concerns with your partners and loved ones. Respond, dont react: take a breath before you say anything; take two or more breaths before saying anything angrily. Bring only honesty and openness to the discussions.



Talk about longer-term strategies as well as short-term or immediate tactics. Dont delay. Dont put off talking about until tomorrow matters that need to be addressed today. Dont forget or neglect to mention love and respectespecially if the tougher times have damaged the relationship. LISTEN CAREFULLY: YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOULL HEAR What your loved one or partner has to say is as important as what you have to say: no matter how seriously you disagree. Open your mind as well as your ears. Take seriously everything your loved one, partner or co-worker has to say. Even if the ideas arent practical or workable (or even particularly relevant) they do reect a state of mind that you should be aware of. Have the same conversation more than once: youll be surprised at how different a discussion of fears and concerns can be the second time you have it. MAKE NEW FRIENDS Support groups, online and off, can be rich resources for helping you deal with tougher times. Dont overlook the value of establishing (or retaining) new professional relationships: Job and employment counselors, nancial advisers, and, not to be entirely self-serving, coaches can offer expert support, guidance, advice and reinforcement that far outweigh their often minimal cost. Try an online social network, if youre not already a member of one: youll quickly discover just how not alone you are in your concerns and the challenges you face. GIVE BACK AND PAY FORWARD: NOWS THE TIME TO JOIN A VOLUNTEER GROUP It only seems like your tougher times are taking all of your time: nd an hour or two a week to volunteer to a local literacy group, give a Saturday to Habitat For Humanity, join an outreach committee or program at your church. Whatever the specics of the volunteer initiative you join, youll nd that you receive far more than the time and effort you give. Youll: Make new friends. Gain new insights. Discover that helping others through their own tougher times can have a startling and afrmative effect on how you deal with your own.

That short list of suggestions and strategies is a starting point. The nature of your life, career and network of family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances will guide you to others. And when you come up with those other approaches and strategies to turning relationships into resources that transform individual worries and anxieties into shared strengths that help tame tougher times, pass them along. Share your ideas as well as your time!



Doing so makes you into that proverbial better person your parents and grandparents told you to becomeand helps make tougher times better times right away.






Emotional Distress Signals

is forearmed: Stress, anxiety, depression and other severe emotional, psychological and other serious mental and behavioral disorders can kill you. Literally. This will be the shortest chapter of our book, but also the most important. As times become tougher and challenges grow larger, even small worries can amplify and multiply, becoming deeper and more difcult to face. Pressure mounts as nancial, personal, and professional worries make increasing demands on our time, our attention, our focus. Stress grows, exacting a toll on our health. Anxiety displaces worry, overwhelming us with panic, making even simple thoughts difcult to hold onto. Depression draws us in, miring us in a sense of the futility of our efforts, of hopelessness and defeat. Our responses to these conditions are as individualand as individualizedas our unique selves, but there are clear and well-recognized symptoms and manifestations of severe emotional and psychological distress: Panic attacks accompanied by shortness of breath and increased heart rate Paranoia and constant, unreasoning fear Avoidance and denial of matters demanding immediate attention Immobility brought on by depression and accompanied by an inability to attend to even the most basic daily responsibilities such as hygiene Cognitive dysfunctionthe inability to think clearly or maintain a consistent train of thought Shortness of temper, increased potential for angry outbursts or even



violence Dramatic and unexpected mood swings Maniain some people, stress can prompt wild, irrational exuberance and accompanying wild, irrational behavior (excessive spending, for instance, or excessive sexual desire) Retreat into (or surrender to) alcohol or drugs Suicidal thoughts

This list is far from inclusive and is deliberately general: we are neither doctors nor psychologists, and our catalog here is simply intended to alert you to some of the more common warning signs. The problem is that if you have already fallen into a clinical depression, or are experiencing severe and debilitating panic attacks, cant focus your thoughts, or any of the other symptoms and manifestations, you may not be able to recognize how dire your situation has become. Fortunately, if youre reading this, and are able to focus and comprehend it, youre poised to take the sorts of actions that can prevent matters from becoming critical. At the heart of those actions is a single, vital step: Seeking help: there are plenty of resources avail-able for precisely the situations you face. Doctors (who can refer you to specialists if need be) Psychologists Therapists Psychiatrists Pastors Community services Counselors Substance abuse support groups And, closer to home: Talking with and listening to loved ones, coworkers, friends whove seen changes in your behavior: their concern is another important warning sign, one that you may nd irritating and even a source for anger, but one which should be heeded. For some, perhaps for many, the rst step toward getting helpadmitting that you need it and that your circumstances demand that you get itis the hardest. It is a step that



requires determination and follow-through. It requires courage. And courage, as well see in the next chapter, is what tougher times are all about.






Growing Comfortable With Courage


is forearmed: Courage is at the heart of our ability to face tougher times, and our ability to face them is at the heart of our ability to deal with them. Courage. Tougher times draw upon and challenge all of our resources, but none more so than our courage. Whether facing desperate difculties, emotional distress, job or family problems, or a combination of all of those and then some, its our courageour ability to face our challenges openly and honestlythat provides the foundation on which we stand. Courage is also the foundation on which we make our stand. Yet how many of us actually feel courageous? How many of us understand the sources of our individual courage? How many of us can call upon that courage when its most needed, and know that its there to be called upon? Too few. In part this is a natural reection of our culture. Courage is not often spoken of, nor is it seemly to extol our own courage (nor are we recommending that). But in larger part, this failure to understand the role of courage in our daily lives is also a consequence of the way courage is too often presented by that culture, especially its pop-culture side which is in so many ways the dominant force in shaping ideas and attitudes. The feats presented in the cop, vigilante and superhero shows and movies are as mindless as they are protable. Too bad: courage as most often presented in the movies and TV shows that smother our perspective on and of the real world consists of impossibly muscular heroes and heroines doing battle with impossibly vile villains. Plenty of false suspense, loud noises, big guns and bigger explosions.



All of which has about as much to do with real courage as it does with real crimeghting. Not much. The courage were speaking of here is the courage it takes to face hard choices with the family budget, to broach a discussion of the toll tougher times exact on a relationship, to commit to a course of action aimed at remedying a challenging situation, to seek help when you need it, to help others get help when they need it. The courage, in other words, to continue living your life, and living it fully, even when the rest of the world seems to be falling apart. Ernest Hemingway famously described courage as grace under pressure. Its hard to think of a better description. Gracethe ability to keep our wits about us when others are clueless, to paraphrase Kiplingis a quality that often seems in short supply, yet its one of those qualities that multiplies itself the more its drawn upon and put into practice. One of the essential qualities of graceand hence of courageis engagement. True grace calls for living in the worldin the waist of that hourglass where the present is poisedwhatever the nature of the obstacles, challenges, problems and setbacks the world casts our way. Only by truly living in that worldadmitting the existence of our fears and facing them downcan we open ourselves to the opportunities and possibilities, the promise and the potential that can be found in tougher times as well as better ones. The truth is, of course, that those promises and potentials dwell within us, as surely in tougher times as they do in easier ones. It just seems that its tougher to nd them when things are themselves tougher. All that means, though, is that we have to look harderand we have to know how to look. Whether offering practical suggestions for how to improve your exercise and wellness regimen, or wrestling with intangibles such as worry, our goal throughout this book has been the same: to offer you tools, ideas and thought-experiments that are intended to stimulate your imagination. And courage is a function of your imagination. Imagine that! Were not speaking here of the sorts of limited imagination that fuels superhero fantasies, or the sort of wish-fulllment thinking that distracts us with if only I didnt have



all those bills sorts of daydreams. Rather, were speaking of focused, directed imagination. Imagination whose focus and direction are aimed unhesitatingly at the real world. At the real challenges and the real opportunities it offers. The ones that dwell in the waist of the hourglass. If only you didnt have all those bills? Imagine instead that your stack of bills was organized, categorized and collated; critical and past-due bills are separated, with calls and correspondence initiated in search of renegotiation or resolution. If only you and your spouse could talk about your relationship? Imagine instead the steps you would take and the words you would use to initiate such a conversation. If only you didnt feel so tired all the time? Imagine instead a different, healthier approach to sleeping habitsand to the waking habits that affect them. You get the picture. By imagining steps toward engagement with the issues that affect our thinkingin good times as well as tougher oneswe begin to free ourselves from the walls that a worried imagination erects to imprison us. We begin to climb instead of cower. Few things, though, are as self-defeating as imagination without follow-through. The longer that stack of bills remains disorganized despite the clarity with which you imagined it as tamed, the more likely you are to allow your imagination to be overtaken by worry, and defeated by it. The longer the words you imagine yourself saying to your loved one remain unsaid, the harder it will become to say them, the more likely that they may never be said at all. Once youve imagined those rst steps, take them! And thats where courage comes in. Organizing those billsperhaps even opening some of themor saying those rst words, or avoiding your favorite fatty foods, are all rst steps. Every other rst step is an act of courage. Imagining the next step after thatdealing with the now-organized bills, talking openly with our loved ones, losing weightbefore acting on our initial act of controlled imagination is a large step toward turning all of our effort into unproductive daydreaming. Seen that way, it becomes clear that the next step after focusing our imagination is to take the rst step toward transforming what weve imagined into what we can see, feel,



touch. Into reality, in other words. Were in the waist of the hourglass, which is where things get done. It takes courage to take that rst step. Theres a reason the old saying reminds that the rst is the hardest step: because it is. But its also a step that can be taken. Odds are you arent going to solve all of your nancial, professional, personal problems and challenges in a single step. The odds are even better, though, that by taking that rst step youll more clearly seeand thus more effectively imaginewhat the next step needs to be. And because youve found the courage to take the rst step, and probably found that it wasnt as hard as you feared it would be, youll nd that it becomes easier to draw upon the courage that turning the next step into reality requires. Can courage be created? Thats a question as old as philosophy, and one that is rewarding to wrestle with. But were not talking about creating courage here. Were talking about creating circumstances that enable us to nd the courage that dwells within us all. And once found, that courage, like our imagination, becomes a resource whose nature and qualities we understand more fully with each subsequent step. These are tougher times, globally, than have been seen in decades. Some feel that were on the brink of the toughest times in modern history, at least economically. None of which changes the real resources we possess for facing our times, unless we allow them to be changed. Imagination, the courage it nourishes, and which it nourishes in return, are the heart of those resources. They are resources no one can take away from you, but they are also resources only you can fully develop. By doing so at each step, with each challenge, each obstacle or problem, you enrich your imagination and strengthen your courage. You will nd yourself better able to face larger challenges, overcome more frightening obstacles, and take larger, more assured steps. And to do so with grace, whatever the pressures youre under. And navigating well, however tough the times become. Odds are they may become tougher for awhile. The global nancial crisis might seem as though it sprang into being overnight, but we all know better than that. The nancial



crisis beginning 2008 has roots that stretch back decades. The world will be dealing with the crisis, its effects and consequences, for years, at least. But tougher times, and this book, are about more than dire headlines and economic collapse. We are as liable to face large individual challenges in good times as in bad. A divorce, a business setback, a re or natural disaster is just as devastating when the stock market is soaring as when it is collapsing. Theres no question that a widespread nancial panic adds its own freightheavy freightto our concerns, nor are we trying to minimize that. What we are saying is that the same tools apply to dealing with challenges in tougher times as when times are more pleasant. And, as we have tried to show in this book, we all come equipped to deal with the challenges our times present to uswhatever those challenges are. It takes effort, concentration and determination to get that equipment in shape, but the habits, skills, and qualities of character we reap from: TEARING DOWN THE WALLS THAT WORRY BUILDS KEEPING A PROPER PERSPECTIVE ON MONEY DEVELOPING THE HABITS OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS NOURISHING OUR RELATIONSHIPS And above all GROWING COMFORTABLE WITH COURAGE are precisely the habits, skills, and qualities of character we most need all the time, good and bad, boom and bust. They are the heart of what makes us most able to cope, to solve problems, to face challenges, to lift ourselves up when were knocked down, and to move forward once we regain our footing. They are, in other words, the fuel that powers hope, and hope is what allows us to make tougher times into our times. And to make the most of them.



Hutt Bush is a Los Angeles-based business developer, strategist, writer, consultant and an early pioneer in the eld of executive coaching. He has extensive experience serving as a director on various boards and advisory groups. He has founded, operated and sold a number of successful businesses in various industries for the last 20+ years, and works with a wide variety of clients to radically improve their results. ( Keith Ferrell has written over a dozen books, ction and nonction, including the well-received novel Passing Judgment, as well as more articles and essays than he cares to count. He has written/co-designed half a dozen computer games, and from 1990 to 1996 was the Editor of OMNI Magazine. He lives on a small farm in southwestern Virginia and is trying really to get down to work. (