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In Times of Crisis, in Times of Change, How Do We Re-frame Our Life?

In my life, I have been through at least 6 transitions that implied personal life choices. 

That is, some were planned transitions – by choice – some were forced transitions – situations around me changed, and I had to deal with change.

In this time of the unprecedented pandemic and economic crisis, we all face change. It is a forced change, combining life in lock-down, critical health matters and loss of work. New ways of communicating with our family surroundings and in our business. 

We have learned how to re-prioritize what is important, what is financially feasible and what is possible.

The concept of security, broadened: 

  • Financial security in terms of our earnings, debt and savings; 
  • Health security for us and those around us; 
  • Emotional security as we faced unprecedented limitations in who do we see, where to go, how to do things; a foggy outlook of life;
  • Physical security as the pressures cause violence at home, in the neighborhood, in our country, on our borders.

This blog proposes certain steps to deal with change.

  • In times of change it is important to pause. Pause allows time to think and re-frame our priorities.
  • There are things we can control, things we can influence, and things we can do nothing about because they are out of our control but admittedly still influence our life.
  • Make a list of the things that are important at the present moment.
    • Staying healthy. This means having a routine, exercising to keep our mind clear and our body moving.
    • Steady finances. Having an income that covers the necessary expenses for the household and rent. This implies an exercise that clarifies the must do expenses from the wanna do living expenses. 
      • If salary and earnings are secure, then plan savings for the short term and the long term in order to alleviate anxiety of prolonged change
      • If salary and earnings are minimized or terminated, then consider the option of tapping into savings for a while, or drawing unemployment benefits to cover the basic living costs.

Resetting goals

Frame the situation you are in: In a journal write down the situation you are in, how you feel about it. Describe your skills and experience. If you are clear of the goals you would like to reset and aim for, list those too.

Informal board of advisors: Make a list of people you would like to talk to and seek advice from. Contact them, and say you are looking for their advice. Schedule calls, meetings, whatever is the best way to exchange thoughts and ideas. Take notes. It would be useful to remain in touch with your advisors, describing your progress. They may be able to open new doors for you or continue engagement as an informal “board of advisors to you”

Research and Read: dig deeper into what the market trends in your industry are, or whether new industries require your skills. It would be useful to research and listen to experts speak on industry and market developments

Life-long learning: in addition to your conversations, your research and your assessment of your goals, it may be useful to consider new learning, either to deepen knowledge or broadening it with new skill-set. There are many affordable courses online that can offer credentials for your new career and stage in life.

Understand how money works: one key learning in order to manage your money, wellbeing and alleviate money related stress is to understand the basics of earning, saving, investing. Spend some time to understand what are the steps you can take to ensure you have ease of mind with money. 

Stress and money management are emotionally linked. Once money issues are set on a path of saving and investing, whilst paying off debt (debt is the biggest expense of a personal cash flow) then, quality of life can be balanced and quality of choices can be broadened.

From my experience I have found that once debt was resolved, cash flow was under control and forward looking so that I could anticipate expenses, then change was easier to manage. I can’t hide though that it took courage to confront reality, make tough choices and focus on achieving quality of life.

It takes courage to ask questions, perseverance to learn new and seek opportunities, discipline in living with less (less is more, and what an enlightened moment!), hard choices for cutting expenses, large and small luxury. 

Living the moment, feeling fulfilled in a balanced life, ready to tackle what life brings is a blessing. One that can be earned with hard work, focus and gratitude.

– Cleopatra 

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