Reading an article in the latest Audi magazine in a chocolate factory cafe yesterday, I came across a quote from Audi chairman Rupert Stadler talking about his time working for the firm as head of Finance & HR in Spain:
“And that was during the crisis of the 90s.”
Reading it, I wasn’t sure exactly which crisis he meant.
In this part of the world the Asian Crisis broke hearts and sparked fire sales in the early 1990s as currency exchange rates crashed, consumption plummeted and money needed to be repatriated urgently.
One of my authors, Tony Steindle documented the hard edged experiences some property buyers, developers and sellers faced at the time in our book How to Survive and Prosper in a Falling Property Market.
But the thought Herr Stadler’s casual of-course-you-know-what-I-mean comment provoked in me was this:
When it’s time to look back, I wonder how I will see the hardships or challenges which fixate and pre-occupy me now — some of which would almost qualify for the ‘crisis’ monicker at times?
How will today’s ‘crisis’ and stresses be seen with the benefit of time?
There’s a saying that 99 percent of what we fear never actually happens. It’s probably also true that we worry (routinely) about the various challenges that afflict us (or threaten to do so) out of proportion the the real threat. Whether in business or in private life, pressures will show up. Demands will be made on us, which it may appear we cannot answer. But jeez, worrying about it won’t help us find a way through.
One of the most useful affirmations I ever heard was in Susan Jeffers’ book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. It was:
“I’ll handle it.”
That calming internal voice replacing the squawk of panic and self-doubt can do wonders for our alarmist-survival reactionary feelings. I know in my own case I can build up a sense of unease into a tension that just makes me want to submerge.
I’m not a believer in ‘the universe will find me a carpark’ petty mysticism with respect to the ‘power’ of affirmations, but over the years I have and do observe my own reactions — and notice there are useful and less useful responses to various stressful stimuli. (Of course I still stuff it up and overreact, or react thoughtlessly, all the time! Doh.)
No matter the severity of the present ‘crisis’, chances are we will look back, as Herr Stadler did, and see it all as just a part of our personal history or CV. Without falling into cock-eyed optimistic folly, I find it’s worth telling the alarmist little voice in our heads that it’s possible, at the very least, that we’ll dodge the current oncoming train, get off the tracks — and find a way through to a better place.
In five years, maybe less, this crisis will be just a memory.
That’s a relief, isn’t it?