“Fear cannot be banished, but it can be calm and without panic; it can be mitigated by reason and evaluation.”
Vannevar Bush, American scientist
(1890 - 1974)
Like many Americans, I have been watching the national news a lot. Recently on CNN, there was an interview with Suze Orman, personal finance expert. She answered the question: Is the financial fear and panic occurring on Wall Street and throughout the nation counterproductive? Her answer, “It is not counterproductive, it’s real. It’s how people feel and the markets are made up of how people feel. They buy or they sell based on their emotions.”
It was a statement worth examining, especially during these uncertain economic times. The two words that really popped out at me were “fear” and “panic,” and while close in definition, the impact and subsequent result of these emotions are vastly different. Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger.” It is a productive emotion, bolting us into action to protect ourselves. Panic, on the other hand, is defined as “a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.”
As business owners, salespeople, budget managers, husbands, wives, parents, etc., we all have a responsibility to ourselves and our loved ones to not panic and act irrationally, because like a virus, panic is damaging and it spreads. It is important, however, to feel the fear, be OK with the fear and act with surefooted and deliberate precision.
If we can accomplish a state of control within our businesses and homes—be the calm within the storm—it will not go unnoticed. Clients will sense safety and will continue to entrust business to you. Families will sleep easier at night. And while it may get rocky, (that is the prediction, so take a deep breath), trust that this too, shall pass.