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EP31 | 3 Steps to Navigate a Recession

Uncategorized Jul 28, 2022

Recently there has been talk of a recession on the horizon. What feeling does that create in you? More than likely it’s one of fear. In this episode, Zach talks you through how you can choose to see this either as an opportunity or you can choose to hunker down with a fear response. Listen to find out Zach’s 3 steps to navigate a recession and how to make the most of a bad situation. 

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Zach Arend: Choose not to see things as a blessing or a curse. Good, bad, right wrong. And just stay present with what is, and then go back to step one, be responsible set intentions, and just stay in the process of creating more of what you want in your business recession or no recession. That's our jobs. Welcome back, or welcome to the Create Purpose Podcast.

So if you heard there might be a recession around the corner. Just the other day I got asked the question, you know, Zach, do you think there's gonna be a recession? And I just kind of smiled and said, I don't know, as we can't really know, there might be one, there might not be one, but it's a, it's a topic that is been coming up often.

I've been seeing it in leadership teams and some of my clients. The story about the recession. You know, we look at the media and the media tells us all of the, the reasons why there's a recession coming and, and all the, the negatives around it and, and all the doom and gloom. Right. And, and we take that information is as leaders and business owners, and we let it change how we show up and what I'm observing is it doesn't always change us in a way that I think is conducive towards.

Creating what we really want towards success. However you wanna define it towards winning, towards achieving, towards hitting your goals. What I inevitably see when the word of recession starts being shared is a very fear based behavior of battening down the hatches, not making any decisions, choosing to pause growth, choosing to not hire, choosing to delay.

The, the things we say we want and, and we just kind of get really tight and clinging to what we have, you know, that's what I see. Just there's that theme. And, and, and maybe I'm curious if you're listening, how have you been responding to some of the news? And we all respond. I've even noticed myself creating a story around all, if there's a recess, Maybe that might mean people won't have the need for coaching.

And, and I start creating this whole story of how all of a sudden my business is irrelevant because of the recession. And I just kind of shake my head like, whoa, whoa, whoa, what evidence do I have? That that's even true. And more often the, the quite the opposite is true. so challenge your beliefs in the stories you tell yourself.

There's an episode I did recently. Around the story you tell yourself, changes everything. And while the story that we can often tell ourselves during a recession is one of, oh my gosh, you know what very doom and gloom and what evidence you have that that's true. And oftentimes quite the opposite is true.

Have you ever seen a company actually grow stronger as a result of recession? I'm curious, you know, the, the pandemic was, you know, for, in a way recession, not probably economically, but. the, you know, situationally, it felt like a recession, but how many people did you observe actually grew through that time?

And actually was probably one of the greatest opportunities. And so that's the topic I wanna address today is like recession or no recession. How do we navigate the future as a, as a leader, you know, this term leadership, it's an overused term. And I find myself using it. and that will probably never change.

But for today's episode, let's refu refer to leadership as the captain of your ship. Cuz that's I kind of like that, you know, thinking of leadership as you're the captain, meaning you are responsible, you know, the captain goes down with the ship. If, if, if they must. You know, but we're responsible. And I think that's a cool life.

I want to be responsible. I that's. And I think you do too. I think that's why you're an entrepreneur. I think that's why you started the business. You wanted to be responsible for your own freedom, your own creativity, your own autonomy, and that responsibility stays there, whether there's a recession or not.

And so this is all about being the captain. And I wanted to spend some time here on this episode, just talking about, well, how do we navigate. The water's ahead. Not knowing what those, whether those waters will be rough, how rough they'll be, how smooth they'll be. We don't know. You don't know, but there is three things that we can all take control of that will set you up to be your best self, to put you in a position where you can be most conducive to create the results you most wanna see.

And the impact you wanna have and to best navigate and lead your team through whatever's ahead of us. And I, I, these are universal steps. I mean, whether good times, bad times, you're gonna be like, well, I think these three steps are gonna serve me regardless, but they become even more important during. The talks of a recession because what's normal is we grab those stories and we make them become our story.

And we start behaving even before the recession occurs as if there's a recession occurring. It's like they call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Right? If we keep reading the headlines and speaking it into existence, it's more than likely going to happen from our own perspective. Anyway, and, and reality. A recession is gonna affect different businesses differently.

Yeah. If you're a billion dollar business or industry, a recession will impact you when GDP drops it's gonna affect. And you're a large percentage of that GDP, it's going to affect things and, and you have a responsibility to kind of. Try to predict the future, the best you can to navigate that. But if you're listening to this, I don't think you're that.

I think more than likely you're a small, medium sized business that's growing very, kind of has a foundation in your passion. You're an artist, you're a maker. You're, you're creative in some capacity and this business has just come as a result of you expressing your passion into the world. And I think that's quite a different thing.

Well, the recession of impact a business like that. Sure. But I have been a part of an organization that went through the recession back and I don't. When, when was that? Oh, eight. We grew 20% year over year. It was some of the best times ever. We grew through the recession and part of what we had in our advantages, we were still really small and agile.

And so we, we weren't this big, big ship that took forever to turn. We were able to get creative and pivot and redefine ourselves multiple times over, over those three years. And con continued to go where the marketplace was going. And it was, it was the most formative years of the business, thankfully, because of the recession.

And so this is something, this is all about how you choose to see it. And that's what I wanted to talk about today. Because if, if recession, the talk of the recession is triggering in you a fear response where we're afraid and, and worried about a recession. How do we tend to show up when we're afraid and we're worried we don't, we play smaller than we really are.

You play smaller than you really are. You don't pursue what you want in your life. You put all that on hold. You start to negotiating away your dream and diminish it saying, well, now's not a good time. And that's why I wanted to do this episode. Cuz I think that is not, that's hurting you more than it's helping you.

All because you're telling yourself a story that has no evidence and has yet to come to pass. And we're anticipating something that we have no control over. And, and the reality is you can choose to see this recession as an opportunity. This, this foreseeable recession is an opportunity, or you can choose to.

Puts you into a fear response and you can choose to hunker down and, and not do much of nothing over the next 12 months. That's your choice. And if anything, I wanna encourage you as always is to play full out, regardless of circumstance play full out. And you know what, maybe it's because I grew up rural Nebraska, riding horses, doing the cowboy thing rodeo.

That was the only choice we had. If you played it safe, that's when you got hurt, you know, get on the back of a 2000 pound animal, you had only one choice and that was the choice to play full out to give it everything you got. And if you did that, that put you in the best position of safety you could possibly be in.

It was the times when I got fearful and I played it safe. Those were the times I inevitably got hurt. And I think it's similar for entrepreneurship. I think the entrepreneurs that play it safe. Tend to not thrive as much as those that continue to just choose to play full out, play to win, instead of playing not to lose, there is a fundamental difference.

So this is the question I want you to start asking yourself as we go into these next six months, 12 months, we don't know how long you know there, and I'm listen to me. I'm even talking as if this recession is happening. It's just a reaction to the, the media and everything, but we don't know the future's always uncertain.

We can either choose to play, not to lose, play it safe, Batten down the hatches, not really extend ourselves to what we believe we're capable of, but just kind of stay in our comfort zone or we can choose to play to win. And that means choosing growth over comfort. That means choosing to, to throw some caution to the wind, knowing.

That there's plenty of upside knowing that we're never really out of the game. There's always an opportunity to pivot and grow through any circumstance. So therefore there really is no such thing as failure, just an opportunity to learn and grow. We're gonna play to win, and that's a growth mindset. So you get to choose that.

I'm gonna assume that you're like, you know what? I wanna take the latter road. I want to grow through this. I wanna grow stronger through whatever the future. And I want to play to win. If that's you keep listening, if that's not you. And you're like, Nope, I fundamentally believe that that it's better to live in fear.

I'm saying this a lot. It's better to play, play it safe right now. That's just in my, that's what I'm comfortable with. I really don't want to lean into this. Don't listen to this episode because the rest will not land for you. You will fight it and you'll wrestle with it. So, but if you do want to play to win, you want to grow through this, whatever this is, we don't know.

Then hang with me for about 15, 20 minutes, because I have three things that I wanna share with you that will allow you to we'll say when the inner game, the inner game, the, the mindset of somebody who is playing to win. Which inevitably is gonna lead you to a stronger position regardless of the circumstances.

Always. So let's get into these. What are these three things that are gonna allow you to navigate these uncertain times better than most? And I actually think not just better than most, but will teach you things that will be invaluable and you'll take them into your journey. Onward, and you'll never not use these three skills.

And so let's get into 'em number one, if, if you're going to navigate uncertain times, number one is you have to be responsible going back to. You have to identify as the captain of, of your ship. You are the captain, the captain is responsible and that's a cool life. I think, I think we want to be responsible, but it's to really embrace that because whenever you're in fear or you're playing small playing not to lose, you're not being responsible.

You're playing more of a role of being a victim. Powerless will say that's not responsibility. Imagine a captain of a ship that was a victim that chose not to maintain his position, her position, and just threw his hands, her hands in the air. That's not a very strong captain and that, so we need to be responsible.

So number one is be responsible, but I want you not just to be responsible. I want you to be responsible for your most valuable asset. What is that most valuable asset? It's your thinking? Everything is a result of our thoughts of the story we're telling ourselves. So what I, when I say, be responsible at that core, you and I, we have to be responsible for our thinking.

Our thinking is either gonna create more of what we want or more what we don't want. It just will. So if we're telling ourselves a story of doom and gloom recession and how that might take us out, We start responding out of fear. It's gonna result in a certain behavior and the behavior I'm observing when this occurs is one of stress, anxiety, worry, self doubt.

And my question to you is when you're feeling worried, exposed, anxious, fearful, doubting yourself, how do you tend to show up? How do you tend to show up or, or maybe not you? How do you tend to see others show up in those moments? Are they more likely to create the outcomes they want in their lives, or are they less likely to create the outcomes in their life?

That's important because if we're responsible to create the, what we want in our lives, then we need to take captaincy over our thinking and choose the thought process. The thinking, the stories that are gonna allow us. Be our best. So instead of, oh no, there's a recession, doom and gloom. What if it was, what's the opportunity here?

How do we grow through this? And I, I'm getting into step number two, step number one is you need to be responsible of your thinking and really look at is the thinking, the story you're telling yourself, is it creating more of what you want or more of what you don't want, reflect on that and, and answer that for yourself.

Cuz you'll you'll intuitively know you'll get a feeling in your body. If there's a, a heaviness attention in you, then I want you to look at your thinking, cuz you're more than likely telling yourself a story that's leading you to feel a certain way. And I want you to question that story, question, your thinking because you are the thinker of your thoughts.

You are, you're always powerful to choose the, the thoughts you're telling yourself. So if those thoughts are leading you to feel a certain way, that is is heavy. Knowing that that heaviness is gonna diminish your performance as a leader, your effectiveness, your overall creativity, and all the things that are conducive to actually creating your results.

Then we need to look at the story, be responsible for that and take, make a choice to, to make a shift, find a story that's probably more true and more empowering for you to be your best self. So that's number one. Number two is we have to set. And intention. I love the word intention. I was journaling the other morning and sometimes I, well, I'll tell you what I was doing.

It was a Sunday and I was doing my weekly review. I just kind of plan out the week and I'm, I'm a fairly inconsistent person. I get bored with routine and then I'm always changing it up and I try to allow it to just be intuitive. And here recently I've been writing like a page or two. Inspired by Julia Cameron's book, the artist way morning pages, but I've kind of adapted that to just setting some weekly intentions where I just write one to two pages, you know, how do I wanna show up this week?

How do I want this week to go? And as I was doing that, I noticed myself writing a lot. I want X, I want Y I want to. Get this project done. I want to have this conversation and I caught myself multiple times and I crossed out the word want. And I wrote in the word intend, intend is charged with responsibility and want has a little bit more of a connotation of wouldn't that be nice hopefulness, hopeful thinking now in my world, I believe words matter a lot.

When you say the word intend, it puts you in responsibility. So that's what I want you to beat. Number two is set intentions toward creating the results you most want to see. And the only way you can do that is you have to articulate and focus on what you want. You have to articulate and focus on what you want.

Are you doing that? Because that's not often the case in business. We it's so easy to get distracted by all the things we don't want. All the challenges and obstacles. We don't want a recession. That kind of sucks. I kind of like the, the, the, the good economic times we've had over the last two years for so many business, not all businesses for so many, especially in like the retail has been quite well.

So we're gonna focus on, oh, I don't want a recession. We're gonna focus on the recession and try to avoid it. How do we avoid a recession? Well, you can't, but we, how we, we try to control it by hunkering down, not spending money, saving money, not, not growing plane did not lose. Right. And, and that's all a result of us articulating and more or less focusing on what we don't want avoiding it.

I grew up right in saddle Bronx, and I got thrown into the fence a lot. And it wasn't until writing in college that I had a coach that pointed out to me, what was the root cause of that? It was that a rodeo where he recorded the ride and we were watching tape and he literally paused the first jump outta the shoot.

And he, he asked me, where are you looking? And I said, oh, you know, I'm looking at the fence. He's like, yeah. And that's exactly where you went. and then he dropped some expletives. He cussed a lot, but he, you know, he said, how many times I gotta tell you, keep your eyes on where you wanna be, cuz that's where you're going to go.

So if you're focused on the fence, all those things you're trying to avoid, that's still where you're gonna go. So it's so important that you articulate and focus on what you want. So for you to set your intentions, you first have to articulate and focus on what you want. So ask yourself, what are the results you most wanna see?

In the business, as, as you move into the next several months, just set some intentions on what you desire to create. Cuz now you're in responsibility. You there's a sense of competency with the word intention. You're not wanting it. You're not hoping it happens. You're intending it, it, it implies you're going to be taking action.

That's aligned with your intent. That's powerful. So that's number two, set an intention through articulating what you want, focusing on it and acting toward it. That's what it means to have an intention. Number three is we have to release judgment. We have to let go of. Good bad labeling that we so often do in business, the higher level leaders that I work with, even some of the great leaders they fall into this trap.

They start thinking they're smart. We're all smart. I'm not trying to diminish that, but they start taking themselves too seriously. That's a better way of saying it, which makes sense. The more that is at stake, the more things feel so serious and the gravity and levity and the heaviness starts to weigh on you.

And we start to take ourselves too seriously. And that's what I see. So many leaders do is they start taking themselves so seriously and they. Looking into their crystal ball. I'm like, oh, this is bad. Oh, this isn't good. Oh, that's, that's not, that's not what we want. That's not good. That's bad. And we, we label things good or bad.

And that's judgment. And number three is for you to navigate uncertain times. Okay. Better said for you to be an entrepreneur, it serves you quite well to release judgment. And I don't mean like critical thinking judgment. Like that's important. Maintain critical thinking. Discernment thought, thinking through things, looking at the data, you know, making wise decisions, but there's a fine line between discernment and judgment where we're just labeling things as good or bad.

We have to release judgment and instead just stay present and. And keep looking for the opportunity. Not really sure if there will be one, but just keep our eyes out for one. I love there's a parable. It's called the old, the parable of the old man and the white horse it's been around. I don't know who the original author is.

I know max, I think I first came across it max. Lucado's an author when he shared a version of this story. And I want to try to share what I remember. I wrote some of this down in my journal and I wanna just share it with you. This is exactly what I'm talking about when I say release judgment. And I think by the end of this short two minute parable, you are going to have some insights.

And I think you're, you're gonna be more likely to let go and see how judgements really aren't serving you as a leader in business and in life. So here's the parable of the old man and the white horse. There's an old parable about an old man and a white horse in this parable. The old man has a beautiful white horse.

He could sell it in amass, a large fortune. This, this horse is worth a lot of money. The old man chooses to keep it in a stable and he never sells the horse. His neighbors think he is crazy telling him that there will become a day that the horse is gonna be stolen and the man will have nothing. Well, that day came waking up one morning.

The horse was not in unstable. Nowhere to be found. The man's neighbors were right all along. They rushed to tell the man he was now cursed because he had lost everything. The man's response is profound. He says this, he says, don't speak too quickly. Say only, but the horse is not in the table. That is all we know.

The rest is judgment. If I've been cursed or not, how can you know, how can you judge. The people were offended by what the man said. How can you say this? They asked it is clear that you are cursed no matter what your perspective might be. The old man spoke again. All I know is that the stable is empty and the horse is gone.

The rest. I don't know whether it be a curse or a blessing. I can't say all we can see is a fragment who can, who can say what will come next? What a fool, the neighbors thought after several days, the horse return. He'd not been stolen, but ran away. And on his return, he brought with him a dozen wild horses.

Now the neighbors had come to come out to tell the man that he was right all along. And in fact, he's blessed because now he has a whole herd of horses. The man responds. Once again, you go too far say only that the horse is back state only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don't judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not?

You see only a fragment unless you know, the whole story. How can you. You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of one phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase? The man's neighbors found it hard to argue with this? Maybe he's right. They said, but deep down they knew the old man was wrong.

He had one horse now, now he has 13. How could he say he isn't blessed? The old man had a son, his only son, the son went to breaking these wild horses. When one of them flung him off, landing him, broke landing landing. Breaking one of his legs. So his son falls off the horse breaks his leg, the neighbors werere at the, the man's wisdom who is right.

We were wrong. They thought the old man being too old to do much on the farm, no longer had his son available to work the land with no intending the farm. He was likely gonna lose all his income. Not long after this, a war broke out in the old man's country. All young men were called up to serve in the army where most would perish leaving many fathers without their sons.

This was true for the old man's neighbors who had sons that were to never return home. They went to the old man weeping. You were right. We were wrong. Your son's accident is a blessing. And while his legs are broken, you will have many more years with him. They said we will not. Our sons are gone. You are blessed.

We are cursed. The old man responded once. It's impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this, your sons had to go to war and mind did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know only God knows. I love this story because what if you could be more like the old man?

Choose not to see things as a blessing or a curse. Good, bad, right wrong. And just stay present with what is, and then go back to step one, be responsible set intentions, and just stay in the process of creating more of what you want in your business recession or no recession. That's our jobs. And that's always our jobs and it's always been our jobs and that taking hold of this three step process.

Is how you become your best at whatever you do, continuing to stay in the, the, uh, being responsible. Think, thinking about your thinking, being responsible for that and setting intentions, articulating and focusing on what you want and putting action and commitment towards that. And then three. Letting go of the judgment, because the judgment is what clouds us of what actually is.

It's what diminishes, who you really are as a leader. It's what limits all of the possibilities. Because while some are busy, labeling things as good or bad, others are just staying responsible, staying in it. Continuing to play the game to win and continuing to just take their next step. That's what I want for you.

That's how I want you to move into these next six months, regardless of what happens. We can't know. All we can know is there's some, some indicators. That might say recession, but that's all we can know right now. The rest is unknown and we can let go of it and we can just keep playing our game the best we know how that's, what I want for you.

So what is your takeaway? And whether you answer me directly through an Instagram DM, you can find me at Zach dot Arend. Um, that's how I'm asking. I would love to hear from you, but I want you to just answer this for yourself. What are you taking? From this 20 minutes that you just, that we shared together, what is your takeaway?

Because that is the power of listening to something like this. And listening to a parable is a reading, something like we leave with insights. And when we have some insights, you can't unsee them. They change us and they're gonna change how you show up in your business and in your life, and ultimately gonna change the outcomes that you create.

So what is your takeaway? And I want you to answer that for yourself. So I hope you enjoyed this episode and until next time, thanks for listening. 

Hopefully you really enjoyed this podcast episode. And my hope is you found it. Really inspirational. And also most importantly, I hope you took away some practical things that you can start to do and apply in your own life.

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Reach out, drop me a DM. I'd love to hear from you and love to hear what's you're taking away from these conversations. What would you like to hear more of. Do you have any guests that you would love to see? Come on the show. And I'm always looking for great people to talk to people with great stories that can inspire you. Bye for now.