While pulling in to a large shopping plaza two weekends ago, I saw a fairly young, fit man standing on the corner, holding a sign, asking for money. The sign indicated that he had lost his job and needed money to pay his house payment and to support his family. While I am sympathetic to others in need, and I don’t know this particular person’s situation, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was aware that every store in that plaza was in need of help, and they were hiring new employees virtually on the spot.
Fast forward, one week later (last weekend), when I pulled into that same plaza, I heard loud music playing. As I pulled forward, I saw two gentlemen, set up in the corner, playing that music. One was playing a keyboard, the other a violin, and there was a large speaker cranking out the music. It sounded great! There were four or five people that had parked their cars and were standing there listening. They had a jar out for tips, and (brilliantly) a sign with a link to a mobile payment service, making it very easy for anyone to send them tips.
What I loved most about these musicians is that they were providing a service and creating value. They were earning the money they were getting. And people pay for what they value. The more value you create or provide, the more money people are willing to pay you.
This is why someone might make a few dollars an hour working at a fastfood restaurant, while a business leadership speaker might get paid an incredible $100,000 for a one-hour speech. The person in the restaurant provides a service that can be provided by millions of others, while the speaker can move the direction of a company, motivate the team, and potentially stimulate millions of dollars in revenue for that company if his or her strategies and formulas are accepted and followed.
You must become recession resistant. This means you must be valuable enough to your company, your community, or the world to remain necessary and valuable no matter what happens in the economy. (I would have used the words recession-proof, but after these past two years, it is clear that there are powers that be that can shut down even the most valuable and needed people, businesses, and/or industries at the snap of a finger.)
Increased value is created by being very good at something few are good at or becoming incredibly good at whatever it is you do. I take care of a few lawyers that are experts in a very specific type of law, making them much more valuable and needed. They can charge more, are in high demand, and have clients calling from all over the country. Becoming very specialized in an area where there is need significantly increases your value.
In 2008, there were many people who lost their jobs as the economy nosedived. There were also many people who did not lose their jobs. In regards to creating value, think about a warehouse worker. If there are seven workers, and the company needs to cut four of those positions, who do you think they are going to keep? The three most valuable workers. If you are one of those seven workers, and you show up every day, get there early, stay a little late, and have learned every job and understand every department within that warehouse, you are much more valuable than someone who does not, or has not, done those things. When the time comes to decide who stays and who goes, you are staying if you have committed to adding as much value as possible.
I believe a downturn is inevitable, and will likely occur soon. Trying to become more valuable when a crisis is occurring is futile. The time to increase your value is right now. Of course, it increases your opportunity for more income, adds security for when tough times hit, and helps ensure that you remain employed when layoffs hit; but you should be striving to add as much value as possible to every aspect of your life just because. Becoming as valuable as possible should be your goal as human being, and you’ll be heavily rewarded for it… financially, professionally, personally, and emotionally.