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Weathering the Storm

January 22, 2009

Forget fear: Find ways to excel

Sometimes the best offense is a strong defense, and I'm not talking football.

This is not about job searching, but job keeping. According to most people, our economy is in crisis, and workers everywhere are full of white-knuckle fear.

What may happen next?

Bill Treasurer, founder of the national training company Giant Leap Consulting and author of "Courage Goes to Work" (Berrett-Koehler), offers these five tips to help workers deal with fear in scary economic times.

1. Refocus on your work.

Fear is the enemy of productivity. Get clear on what needs to be done, right here, right now. And then go about the business of doing it. If you're not contributing, you may be in danger. Know your job, and then do it.

2. Stop playing it safe.

Ditch the herd. While everyone else is hiding, you can stand up and stand out, getting noticed for your talent and contributions. It's easy to follow the herd. It takes effort to lead.

3. Form a posse.

Create an inner circle — a small group of co-workers who you can trust and turn to when the going gets really tough. Take turns being "the positive one" and injecting a daily shot of courage.

4. Find a productive distraction.

What makes you feel better; a little stronger or braver? U2 on your iPod? A can-do mantra? A long run at lunch? Identify that one little thing, your own personal "fear buster," and use it early and often.

5. Just say "no" to the pity party.

It's tempting to commiserate with co-workers. Don't do it. It will stoke your fears and shake your confidence even more.

You can change the negative tide and have a positive effect on your co-workers and customers by being positive and productive. Bad news sells but a positive attitude is contagious, so spread the positive germ all around you and watch what happens.

You just might help ensure your own future, and that's a good thing.

Marvin Walberg is a job search coach. Contact him at mwalberg(at)bellsouth.net, marvinwalberg.blogspot.com, or PO Box 43056, Birmingham, AL 35243.

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