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Shifts in mindset have often been at the root of major economic, social and technological breakthroughs. The way we travel, communicate and function in work settings can be traced to an individual’s unwavering belief that there is another, often times better, way of getting something accomplished. The triggering event for the breakthrough can be, both, internal and external. When forced to choose between the two, more often than not we align our choice around an external event.

I have observed and experienced the impact of the current economic downturn. There are days when it seems as if our great state has been singularly identified as the catalyst and culprit for the economic woes within the global marketplace. While the issues we are experiencing are new to us, the process of blaming the ‘victor’ is not complete until one individual has been identified as the peddler who promised a cure for all of our woes and, instead, sold us tainted elixir. So, we wallow in the blame, unable to negotiate the void, and yearning for what we have lost. Meantime, minutes move forward and each day represents one more opportunity to align our mindset to cope with and manage the current reality. The often used, clinical quote, “There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s all in your head,” has a direct application to the thousands who find themselves outside the gate of a downsized business. There is nothing WRONG with you! It’s all in your head! The knowledge you have accumulated, the skills you have mastered, and the experiences you have generated are all in your head, waiting to be reformatted into a useable software program to facilitate your new success.

How you think is directly related to what you do. Individual and collective transition starts with a willingness to look within your own resources and ask, ‘Now, what do I have within me that will allow me to move forward?’ It is a thoughtful, self-examining process of understanding HOW you think about WHAT you think about. Smokestack thinking is out of sync with a ‘green’ movement, contempt for education does not sit well in a knowledge economy and building buggy whips does not stimulate mass employment. The barrier restricting your current movement is not a brick wall, but a mirror! There you stand, pushing yourself back while trying to step forward. Pulling a horse-drawn wagon through a mud-soaked river bed seems a lot easier than getting out of the way of your own restrictions.

Once you reconcile that simple fact, you have to ask, ‘Now, what do I have available that will allow me to move forward?’ It is a thoughtful examination of resources you can access to support your shift in mindset. Higher education institutions, job fairs, the Department of Human Services, Career placement centers and Michigan Works, are just a few of the many resources available to anyone trying to navigate from the past to the future. What makes a darkened road difficult to travel is the lack of focus on the points of light. There is much to support individual effort within a changing landscape. While there is a great deal that needs to be addressed in facilitating an economic turnaround, quite frankly, business won’t get better unless we do.

© 2013 Lee E. Meadows
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