When something bad happens and recovery is impossible, it is said to be fragile. Fragility happens to people, things, businesses when they have experienced harm.
COVID-19 destroyed many small businesses. I live in Mexico and so many restaurants, hotels and family-owned businesses closed their doors for good. This happened all over the globe, and there is no doubt that we have all personally seen the fragility of our communities - and may have personally experienced it.
Natural disasters destroy homes and buildings, many of which will never recover. My family lives just outside Sendai, Japan, which was hit by the 2011 tsunami. I visited eight months after the disaster and the devastation was surreal. Two years after the tsunami, the beautiful beach town where I spent many summer days was still desolate.
Many lives were lost and the younger generation has no desire to rebuild. To this day, nothing stands but the concrete foundation of where houses once were.
The fragility of Japan's northeastern beachfront community is ever-present.
In personal relationships we tend to give everything to our partner/parent in order to make him/her happy. Everything we do is for that person, to gain acceptance or to be loved. And when that relationship ends, we feel completely lost, depressed, unworthy.
Some humans are fragile. Others are resilient - they can withstand harm and continue living as if nothing happened.
Then, there is ANTI-FRAGILE. This is a concept that things grow stronger after being harmed.
Personally experiencing a hurricane in the Virgin Islands in the mid-1990s, the loss of homes, schools and businesses had a huge negative impact on the community, especially since they rely on tourism. Yet, the lumberyards and construction companies thrived as community needed to rebuild. These companies are ANTI-FRAGILE. They grew stronger in the midst of a natural disaster.
While the coronavirus destroyed many businesses and lives, there are some who seized an opportunity to start businesses based on the needs of others, such as personal home-delivery services (think CostCo runs for those who cannot leave their homes) and home-cooked meal services. People with money took advantage of the fragile real-estate market and invested in homes or property to begin a new business post-COVID. These people are ANTI-FRAGILE.
So how do we become ANTI-FRAGILE?
Have a Plan B.
Maybe you have been working for a company for a while now, and it is your security blanket. Nothing in life is permanent. You could lose your job. What if you created a side-job off a hobby? And what if that hobby generated more income and more freedom than your corporate job?
When it comes to personal relationships, we love that person, we are committed to that person, but that person should not be your entire world. It's important to have strong circle of friends who support and encourage you., your TRIBE. Grow your network with those who have common interests, Have individual hobbies. It's easier to get over heartbreak when you have other things to focus on and other people to engage with and help you rise.
Similar to personal relationships, it's important to have other things you can focus on which may help you generate income outside of your current career.
My sister, for example, works full-time for a global corporation. She is a high-performer and consistently gets recognition for her hard work. Yet, every time there is a re-org, she worries that she will be riffed. My sister also has an incredible knack for writing poems. Personally, I think she could create custom cards or even be a song-writer. She also knits scarves and beanies - I am a regular recipient of her talents and consistently get compliments on her hats. She COULD supplement her income with her talents, and I'm confident that she would do really well. It might be a great back-up plan for her.
Don't Put All Your Eggs Into One Basket
If you are an investor, do you put all your money into one fund or stock? Probably not. Generally, we invest our money across multiple financial opportunities to reduce our losses.
Your current career probably provides a decent income and gives you a sense of security. But IF that job goes away, what other income might you have to sustain you until you find another job? Consider taking small risks that could lead to great rewards without jeopardizing your future.
Talk to your financial advisor. Look into industries, products/services and even start-ups.
Optimize Your Environment
My clients and I often speak about Optimizing their Environment. What does this mean?
It means really assessing your physical, people and mental environments and making necessary changes to place yourself in an environment for success.
We all have limiting beliefs that prevent us from succeeding. If we give in to them, we will never succeed.
Replace people who remind you that you are not good/smart enough, or that you don't have the experience or qualifications to succeed with people who encourage and support you. A good sports coach will tell you that if you want to get better, play with someone who is better than you. There are people in our lives, whether we know them personally or not, who inspire us. Understand what they did to get to where they are; emulate their actions; follow what they follow on social media; join groups with those who have similar interests. Change your People Environment with Positive People who fill your mind and your soul with possibilities.
The easiest example of how to optimize your Physical Environment is to relate it becoming physically healthier. If you want to lose weight, get rid of those cookies in the pantry; stop buying chips. Unplug the TV or put a stationary bike in the room and only watch TV if you are exercising. Changing your physical environment is probably the easiest thing to do, but it takes discipline.
Our Mental Environment focuses on what you are feeding your brain. What are you reading? What are you watching? What are you listening to? What are you learning? How are you exercising your brain to help you succeed?
Learning a new skill can be done by volunteering your time, or taking online courses. Listen to podcasts of one of your inspirational icons. Read books that are aligned to your goals and stimulate your mind.
If you set a goal and it is truly what YOU want, Optimizing your Environment will be exciting and inspirational. You will see things falling into place, little by little. Poco a poco.
Remember that life is a journey and there will be setbacks along the way. As long as you keep a positive mindset and remind yourself that you have control over your environment, you will succeed!
Are you fragile, resilient or ANTI-FRAGILE?