I’ve spoken to several people during this current crisis: clients and non-clients… and there is one thing many of them have in common…
Fear is our natural response to a perceived threat and triggers our body to go into what is commonly referred to as the “fight of flight” response. Fear itself is not a bad thing. Quite the contrary, it is an indicator, not unlike pain, that tells us something is wrong. The question we need to ask ourselves is what do we do with it?
In a very real way, economic insecurity is hitting many of us as we make our way through the COVID crisis.
Some of us have businesses that are closed.
Perhaps we’ve been laid off or furloughed.
Maybe we’re still working but not as much, and so we’re under employed.
This can lead to feelings of inadequacy or failure… These I addressed in my last article, You’re more than your paycheck.
But, there’s also this other issue… fear. Dark, menacing, brooding, and foreboding. It seems to hover around us and to keep us from moving. And it’s that I’d like to address right now… because, it doesn’t have to be that way!
Reaction #1 – Fear
You really have two options with fear. The first one is very typical. We react to the situation with fear… and we hide, we flee. Perhaps our response can be understood as:
This might not be everybody, but when financial troubles visit, there are a good number of people who “don’t even want to open” their bills, or look at their checking accounts. They pretend that nothing’s wrong, all the while the pressure builds within.
How long can you keep that up?
At some point, we will need to respond to the situation. Here we can use fear as our motivation and model. Just like when we put our hand down on a hot burner and jerk our hand away before we get really injured,so too, we need to use the fear reaction to spur a real response to the issue. Here I would suggest the word “fear” can tell us how to overcome itself.
Rise to the occasion.
It is simple, but it isn’t always easy. But there are some straight forward steps to help you move forward, and as you do, you will not only overcome your fear, but you will also start beating some of those other negative emotions as well.
So where do I start?
- Take stock of what is… that means get all your financial information together: any and all income as well as any and all debt.
- Make a spending plan… that’s right a budget, but only spend off of what is coming in… do not use credit or loans to get through this. You will end up worse off.
- Protect your 4 Walls: That’s right make sure that you put first things first, eating, shelter, utilities and transportation.
- Meet other obligations as possible: Pay minimum amount due…and no more than that, unless your employment is secure and you have a good emergency fund in place.
- Make the hard calls: It’s important to communicate with your creditors. I addressed this last month in my article on financial health during the pandemic.
- Find ways to boost income and cut costs: This I had also addressed in that previous article.
You will find that as you step forward and start to exercise control in an uncontrollable environment, you will begin to feel better, and hope will be reignited within you. It doesn’t necessarily mean that economic insecurity will be alleviated immediately, but fear has far less power when we respond to it rather than react.