COVID-19 has spurred a global culling of livelihoods, leaving millions of families facing dire economic realities.
Cheryl Benadie, Managing Director, Whole Person Academy
How do you “retrench-proof” your life so that you come out of this pandemic stronger than before?
Accept the new normal
We didn’t ask for the COVID -19 crisis to upend all our plans and goals for 2020. But here we are. When we face a time of crisis, what makes it most difficult to manage is the fact that we didn’t have control over it in the first place. There is often a tendency to resist making necessary changes that need to be made in order to survive this time, because we don’t like what’s happened.
Our feelings of being out of control creates an internal resistance that prevent us from thinking clearly about how to best deal with the situation at hand. According to psychologist, M Scott Peck, who wrote The Road Less Traveled, “once we truly know that life is difficult, once we truly understand and accept it, then life is no longer difficult.” Emotions are messengers. Find ways to process the pain and frustration you’re feeling (be it through a therapist, coach or family member) because if you ignore what your emotions are trying to tell you, you will not be able to take positive action.
Become globally competitive
The marketplace will only become increasingly competitive, so it’s in your best interest to make yourself more marketable. It’s probably time to make peace with the fact that relying on a single source of income is no longer an option. As you explore new ways of working, you will also need to consider how you can build multiple streams of income in order to strengthen financial security.
Instead of aligning to a single job description, your new work life may look like juggling multiple clients, across various industries, that pay you for tasks performed and projects completed. Be mindful that this new way of working will take some time to adjust to, so just be patient with yourself.
Examples of this developing sector of the workforce – those that are employed on a short-term basis for a specific project or task – are contractors or temporary workers, freelance workers, gig workers and crowd workers. The shifting job market might mean that you need to take on contract or gig work for a while. Do what you can to upskill, cross-skill and re-skill yourself so that you can stay competitive and remain in demand. You will need to cross-skill if you want to translate your current skills to be relatable to a different industry. For example, you might want to explore how your ability to work with software programmes can be adapted to learning new software tools that will be valuable in the IT industry. Or you might decide that this is the perfect opportunity to pursue a professional field that you didn’t get the chance to when you were younger. In this case, you will need to re-skill. You will probably need to do this part-time as you continue work in your current industry.
Master your money
If you heeded sound financial advice pre COVID-19 and lived below your income levels, eliminated or minimised debt and had a three to six-month emergency fund, you’re in a better position than most.
If not, it is never too late to establish healthy financial habits in order to navigate through the current challenges. Learning to master your money so that you live below your means and stay debt-free will help you to be more resilient in facing the challenges of the new world we find ourselves in.
What is resilience and how do you know if you have it? Simply put, it’s the voice inside your head that tells you to try again when something didn’t work out as planned. It’s that inner resolve that kicks in when you realise that the path to the goal you’re trying to attain is more difficult than originally anticipated. It’s holding onto the hope that even though you find yourself facing obstacle after obstacle, better days are coming
The characteristic of resilience is developed when you make the decision that you will not quit – even when you face circumstances that are difficult, disappointing, or discouraging. Encountering failure is inherent to success. Resilient people see failure as something they can learn from, not as a determiner of their worth.
Return to the fundamentals
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that in times of crisis, life always returns to the fundamentals. The health of our family, the quality of our relationships and our appreciation of being able to meet our basic physical needs.
The key to becoming retrenchment proof is to maintain a strong internal locus of control. When you truly believe that you will be able to overcome any situation you face in life, you’ve already won the war.