You’re not a failure because of a recession

This is an uncertain time we are living in. Nobody’s income is safe — including the dudes bragging on Youtube and Instagram about being rich, and secretly filing for bankruptcy because they bet the farm and have too much debt.

The streets are empty. People aren’t going to work. There are many difficult conversations being had at companies all over the globe, trying to work out who needs to be let go and who can be spared (this time). It’s not pleasant no matter how good you are in your career, what hours you work and how much your boss loves you.

This doesn’t end with doom and gloom though. There’s enough of that already. In my second recession ever as a millennial, the only truth that remains obvious is this: You are not a failure because of a recession. You’re not stupid or unprepared or a loser.

All of us are united right now with one reality — we’re experiencing temporary adversity. Correction: You are experiencing temporary adversity.

Failure Is Ridiculous

You’re not failing in this recession; you’re learning.

Adversity, failure, hardship — doesn’t last forever. Everything in your life is temporary. You will breakthrough and you will smile again.

Recessions are when great leaders are made.
Recessions are where your assumptions are tested.
Recessions are where new levels of resilience are found.

Even if you lose the lot, you will learn at least one lesson. You’re not stupid.

People Don’t Need to Suffer so You Can Get Rich

2008 caused me to come very close to seeing everything I built to go up in flames. It was a humbling experience I will never forget — it makes me emotional if I think about it long enough.

But the empathy that recession has produced in my life has stopped me from wanting to see other people lose so I can win. The previous recession stopped me from hoping people would be forced to sell their homes or stocks so I could buy them cheap and get rich. I used to think like this. Not anymore and not for a very long time.

When you come close to the edge in a recession, you know what it’s like and you never want anyone else to feel that same sinking feeling.

It Was Always Going to Happen

It has been so long since the last recession that we’ve forgotten what it was like for the most part. We’re human. That’s okay.

Of course, you have forgotten the last recession and that is nothing to be ashamed of. You have been living your life and enjoying good economic times.

It is better to have loved the good economic times and forgotten the last recession than to have become a doomsayer and tried to predict the end of humanity while simultaneously missing the whole experience.

Your income was always going to drop in a recession. Your career was always going to be changed by a recession.

Unemployment Is a Reality

Last year I experienced the humbling feeling of being unemployed — and for longer than I’d like to admit.

Unemployment was a gift.

It taught me to:

  • Fight harder
  • Not take no for an answer
  • Get creative when reaching out to strangers
  • Utilize LinkedIn
  • Be different and unique on a resume
  • Follow up like a Golden Retriever

The truth was, before unemployment, I’d got a little lazy. Yes, the self-help obsessed blogger lost his productivity mojo.

Unemployment is a reality for many people around the world and it doesn’t have to be a dire outcome.

You’re Doing the Best You Can

Don’t let any smart ass tell you otherwise. Don’t be spoken down to or have your self-worth be decimated in front of you because a rich person from the wealthiest country in the world tells you so.
The billionaires are wrong. Lots of rich people right now are losing everything. Don’t be fooled.

A recession is not easy for anybody and your human nature is to cope as best as you can. You won’t be perfect; you’ll have tough days that feel like crap; you’ll lose control once in a while; you might even blame yourself.

It’s all normal. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Use all of that emotion and channel it back into picking yourself back up again.

Get off the gravel floor of the battle arena, wipe the blood from your face, and stand tall.

Gaining Back Control of the Situation

The solution to gaining back control of this situation is to start small. Accept what has occurred and what will occur and focus on what you can do about it. And the number one thing you need to do in a recession is taking care of yourself. How?

Sleep for 30 minutes longer

You will make terrible decisions in a recession without proper sleep. I have found adding 30 minutes more sleep makes a difference. An afternoon nap can do wonders too. A recession stresses your mind out and rest helps you fight back and maintain a healthy mindset.


Okay, you’re not buddha and neither am I. Play around with a few meditation apps. Set yourself a simple goal of ten minutes per day of mediation using an app. Don’t take my word for it and just try it. Drop the assumptions and experience this simple habit for yourself.

Do daily walks by yourself, or with your partner

Walking helps clear your mind of toxic thoughts about the recession and the stupid idea that you’re a failure.

The world makes more sense when you walk off the recession.

Read books you don’t normally read

I read a few fiction books last year during my unemployment rough patch and it helped settle me down. It’s hard in a recession to read the normal books you would select, so pick something light or interesting that sparks your curiosity and lights a fire underneath you.

Learn new skills

I have never seen anybody become a failure because of a recession when they learn a new skill.
New skills are what help dig you out of a recession and find new ways to add value to people’s lives that you can make money from.

  • Learn how to write online
  • Start a social media page
  • Learn how to make cupcakes (my friend became a millionaire from baking cupcakes and starting a business around it after the last recession)
  • Take a class on the basics of money
    Fall in love with learning websites like Udemy
  • Take a free Harvard Course
  • Learn how to code

Go all-out on LinkedIn

LinkedIn had very little traction in the last recession. It was nothing more than an online resume. The game has changed.

LinkedIn is now a way to communicate and post content. You have loads of value that you’ve earned through life experience and now you have a place to share it. Use LinkedIn as a tool to connect with other people and you’ll find career and business opportunities you weren’t even looking for.

And don’t waste time editing your profile. Focus on posting one short text-only post every day. Make the aim of each post to be helpful.

Be inspired again

Inspiration is a tool for recovery. Some people online dismiss inspiration as useless and fluffy. I strongly disagree.

Inspiration puts you in the right state of mind. And from a state of inspiration, you can create phenomenal art and creative solutions to problems. Find inspirational stories on Youtube and binge-watch them. Start over, go out there, and show us what a comeback looks like.

This Is Why You’re Not a Failure

You are not a failure because of this recession.

You are experiencing temporary adversity.

That is what is really going on and it is perfectly normal. Don’t beat yourself up over it or pretend your situation is special. Recessions cause all sorts of unexpected pain and they beat everybody up — but in different ways.

I haven’t lost my job, as an example, but my online business has taken a huge hit. A close friend of mine had his business wiped out after a 15-minute speech. A shop next to where I live has boarded up its windows. People every day message me on LinkedIn and tell me they lost their jobs. One of the richest show ponies on Instagram has just announced to the world that they are bankrupt and their private jet is gone.

This situation is temporary and you will pop out on the other side better for it. Don’t ever tell yourself you are a failure because of a recession. Appreciate, instead, who you’re going to need to become to survive and later: thrive.

This article originally appeared on Medium.

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