I come across a lot of people who ask me how they (and their businesses) can survive in an economy that’s hit by recession. I want to share with you what I usually share with them. It has to do with a much abused term. Value.
Firstly, I believe there are two economies. The Actual Economy and Your Economy. They are both real, yet they are parallel to each other. It means.. one has nothing to do with the other.
Yes it’s true we’re living in recessionary times. Jobs are scarce, sales are sluggish, inflation is high. I guess a whole lot of other things aren't looking bright either. I’m sure you know. I don’t… because I don’t watch or read the news as much as most others do. Largely because it’s full of negative stuff, that is uninspiring and dis-empowering. A lot of people accept the media because it’s a reflection of reality.
Yet, I believe that you can create your own reality. To do that, the first step is not to look at the world around you, but the world within you. That includes your thoughts, belief systems, habits, patterns.. your conditioning.
Over the last five years, I've been really watching myself. I've also closely watched a whole lot of individuals succeed despite the tough times. I kept asking, ‘What is it about them that makes them succeed? Do I have in me what they have?’
Here's the first thing I've come to learn from people who succeeded right through the recession. They keep creating value regardless of ow much (or little) they make.
Napoleon Hill once said,
If you do more than what you are paid for, one day you will be paid for more than you do.
They follow that principle, come what may. They make ‘creating value’ an end in itself. Not a means to an end. They don’t create value SO THAT. They create value. PERIOD.
Value creation is not really difficult. Especially when it’s a way of life. It’s not necessarily expensive either. When you smile at someone, you create value. When you thank or appreciate someone, you create value. You create value when you show love, compassion, empathy, support. Often you create value by simply showing up. How much does that cost?
A lot of value can be created when you look at what others overlook. When you have an eye for detail. When you do what you’re supposed to do with such care, such commitment that the end product is fabulous. Value is created when you make excellence a habit.
When faced with rising costs and depleting profits, a lot of people and businesses are ‘forced to’ cut back on value. Successful people don’t do that. They know it’s just a phase.
Imagine that your competitors are ‘forced to’ cut back on value, but you choose not to. Who do you think the customers will go to? Who would YOU go to if you were a customer?
Value creation is all about making yourself ‘valuable’. Like your $1000 laptop that’s worth more than $1000 to you. That makes it more valuable. Ask yourself, ‘How much am I worth?’ If you’re getting, say, $1000 a month as salary or as fees from an employer/ client, ask yourself, ‘Am I giving $1000 worth of value or am I giving more than that?’ If you’re giving more, you’re more valuable. If you work out a plan and give what you think is almost $5000 worth of value to that job/ that client (all within the same cost) you would be creating PHENOMENAL value. You think that employer or client would ever leave you???
When you give value to people, you magnetize yourself. More people are attracted to you. People start to like you even more. Prospects to whom you have given value start considering you. They ask themselves, ‘This person is not even asking for business from me, yet he/ she is giving me so much value. What if I were to PAY him for that value? I guess he would give me even MORE value. Why wouldn't I want to do business with him? Why wouldn't I want to recommend him to someone else?’ When you give value consistently to people, they begin to trust you. And then magic happens!
Here’s what I learnt about how successful people take that magic to the next level. They REACH OUT to as many people as they can. They expand their network. They focus on what they can give to their network than what they can get from their network.
They meet more people. Their curiosity about how they can touch large numbers of people drives them. They are visible online in a big way. They harness the power of the internet to reach out to thousands, even millions of people. They touch people’s lives at virtually ZERO communication cost.
Their value goes viral. Their value gets a massive multiplier effect. So does their income!
If you’re a salaried person, ask yourself ‘ How much MORE value can I give to my employer, my clients, my colleagues.’ Instead of asking ‘What can my company do for me?’, ask ‘What can I do for my company?’ Keep adding more value. So much value that it will defy people’s imagination. Keep adding value to people outside your company as well. Especially to people within your industry.
If you ever ask yourself, ‘I've been giving so much value, to so many people, how come I haven’t got a pay hike or a promotion yet?’, just believe that the operative word here is ‘YET’. That one word changes everything. Believe good things are on your way. Either from your employer or a competitor of your employer. How does it matter who the goodies come from? They both deserve the best. YOU!
Here’s a small exercise for those of you who have active networks on Facebook or LinkedIn. For a day, AT LEAST for a day, don’t focus on how many likes you get for your posts. Don’t look out for how many endorsements or recommendations you could get. Instead, focus on how many posts of others YOU can ‘like’. Or how many people YOU can endorse. Or how many LinkedIn recommendations you can write for your connections without even being requested for them.
Get your satisfaction from how THEY will feel. We’re human. Everyone wants appreciation and recognition. Even you do. JUST FOR A DAY suspend that need and focus on giving that appreciation and recognition to as many people as you can, online. Do this exercise whole-heartedly and you would have created more value in one day than many others will do in a week!
This is real simple stuff. But not necessarily easy to practice..
After all it comes down to one’s mindset and thought patterns and belief systems and conditioning. It comes down to your decision to suspend your thoughts about the ‘real’ economy and your willingness you create an economy of your own. An economy where your security and success comes from your ability to keep giving value to large numbers of people, not from how much money you made last month or how much you’ll make next month. An economy where you don’t just survive, you thrive.