Guest Post: An Old Role Model
Today, I'd like to share a submission from one of our readers, Terry Crenshaw! Please enjoy her motivating blog post:
As far as the economy goes, we're going through some rough times; that's not a big secret, and while it's not particularly pleasant to think about, there's hardly any sense in denying it - especially because with the current set of challenges there are also ample opportunities. I've been overhearing a lot of young people recently - soon-to-be college graduates, in particular - discussing the relative dearth of jobs on the market right now. I empathize with them, and I also see a lot of value in youthful vigor and exuberance. That said, I can't help but think that this is one area in which we can learn a thing or two from older generations.
Let me create a contrast with the young people I just mentioned. I know an older man who recently retired from a job he had held down for many years - and less than a week into his retirement, he had already launched a brand new business enterprise! This is an almost comical exaggeration of an entrepreneurial spirit that can't be bottled up or held down, but it serves to illustrate a larger point. Simply put, there is something to be said for courage - for having the audacity to take initiative even when it isn't what's necessary, what's expected, or what conventional wisdom dictates is right.
This is the kind of spirit that I think would behoove many of our young people. Feeling inhibited by a less-than-favorable economy is completely understandable, but my challenge would be to consider surveying the current economic landscape from a new perspective. So there isn't as much work to be found from other companies as you might like - isn't that an invitation to do something creative, courageous, and totally outside of the box? Isn't that a golden opportunity to go into business for yourself?
Looking at it as an opportunity is something I feel members of the older generation would smile on. I know that men of my grandfather's generation, or even my father's generation, would never believe there could be a time with no success to be found, no money to be made, so long as there's some hard work involved.
And lest you think I'm espousing a kind of blindly romantic version of the old elbow-grease, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps creed, let me hasten to note that many entrepreneurs have chosen to view the current economic roughness as a blessing rather than a curse, and the results have often been quite impressive. Consider the fact that big businesses and large corporations are less able to provide their services than they may have been in the past. This creates an opening for the little guys.
As such, more and more go-getters with an inventive spirit have taken to starting their own small boutique companies - businesses that can provide what larger corporations now leave untouched. The great irony is that many of these boutique companies are actually providing their services directly to these larger companies. Big businesses are finding that it's less costly to outsource than to maintain full-time staffers, which is a real boon for these newer start-ups.
It's also proof of the wisdom of the older generation: There really is something to be said for courageous thinking in times likes these, not just on a philosophical level but in practice as well. Are you allowing the fear of failure - the often paralyzing implications of a challenging economy - to box in your good ideas? Or are you interpreting those challenges as opportunities, and allowing your creativity and courage to truly flourish? The answer is more important than you might think - and it could spell the difference between failure and success.
Terry Crenshaw covers economic trends in the United States and writes for www.peterorszagsite.com. Terry is especially interested in tracking the ideas of Peter Orszag and other economic experts as the economy attempts to recover from the recent recession.