Headlines read: “Economists Fear the Worst” and “American Families in Crisis.” Ted Price, restaurateur and FranklinCovey client facilitator summarizes, “The state of crisis is the state of fear.” Fear causes you to mistake opportunity for oppression, wisdom for whimsy, and recess for recession.
The U.S. Labor Department announced, 598,000 people lost their jobs in January, and the unemployment rate rose from 7.2 to 7.6 percent-an all time high in 16 years. It’s easy in times like this to feel oppressed and fearful. Wild-woman activist, Flo Kennedy, whose flamboyant and unorthodox approach gained notoriety, once said, “There can be no really pervasive system of oppression…without the consent of the oppressed.” Known for her outrageous stunts and out-of-the-cage thinking, Kennedy recognized oppression as opportunity, and most likely agreed with fellow activist and Pulitzer Prize winner Ariel Durant who penned, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” No whimsy there, only wisdom. Both of these women knew how to Be Proactive-centered in their Circle of Control.
Awarded the 1977 Presidential Medal of Freedom, Ariel found her freedom from fear in her relationship with husband, Will Durant, to whom she referred as her “teacher, lover, mentor, and friend.” Opportunity or oppression can be found in marriage. The Durants were able to find the former, and overcome the latter, because they were grounded in the same principles found in The 8 Habits of a Successful Marriage workshop. Their award-winning Declaration of Interdependence is as applicable to harmonious marriage as it is to world peace.
In 2002, I joined the team founded by Dr. John Covey, and embarked on a mission to strengthen families around the globe. Our team motto is “When I was born, so was my mission.” I was honored to lead the project teams in developing The 8 Habits of a Successful Marriage workshop, based on Dr. Covey’s bestsellers The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit. It is a surprisingly fun workshop designed to help couples build a high-trust foundation, develop effective communication, and enjoy unselfish companionship. I found myself digging deep within to practice what we were promoting. It made all the difference in the world. By helping others strengthen their families, mine was strengthened. Like Durant and Kennedy, as a wife, mother, writer and community leader, I found my purpose-my voice.
So, fast-forward. What about this “recession?” Could it really just be a grown-up recess, an opportunity for both an exploration in wisdom and whimsy? Not long ago the word recess made you squirm in your school desk anxious for the bell to ring. Among the definitions for “recess”, Merriam-Webster provides: a suspension of business…often for rest or relaxation. How many of you have been chanting “I hate my job?” Well, maybe there is something to this “law of attraction” thing. If so, then perhaps you are not being oppressed by a lay-off, but instead released to find your voice—your purpose. Perhaps this is the opportunity to return to school, attend a FranklinCovey public workshop and sharpen your saw. Many of the people who have been certified to facilitate FranklinCovey’s marriage, family, or teens programs work with nonprofits, or work full-time donating their time presenting workshops. They found their mission, and you can too. Next time someone is whining about the recession—respond-don’t react to the fear. Announce you decline to participate in a recession, and imagine the recess bell just rang. Bolt into the playground of your life—and live life as intended.
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