I was a young military officer stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, in 1987 when I learned the importance of resiliency. There I was a young, black female in a man’s world. I was expected to perform and sometimes, it was at a higher standard. Another major event that taught me to build muscles of resiliency was the stock market downturn on October 19, 1987, known as “Black Monday”. Itis the name commonly attached to the global, sudden, severe, and largely unexpected stock market crash.
The stock market dropped 508 points on that day which was the largest drop in history at that time. I had just begun to start investing in the market and the little that I had, disappeared. The mood was very somber and everywhere on television, the news made it worse. I thought that my world was going to unravel. There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide!
Can you imagine that some individuals lost everything, including their lives? As I looked back, I realized that the over reaction by me and others were due to the lack of resiliency in our financial plans. Our plans were either all or nothing. Why is resiliency so important? It allows a person to develop habits and beliefs that will enable them to respond, not react, to a negative situation or an economic crisis.
I learned through my military experience and the economic downturn in 1987 that I needed to develop a resilient mindset (conscious and subconscious). I knew that I had a long career ahead of me and the crash of 1987 was not the first and it sure would not be the last. There were three more that happened in 2001, 2008, and 2020!! However, my demeanor was different with each market fallout and as time passed throughout my 28-year military career, my resiliency became even more resilient if there is such a thing. The impact of events was less impactful because of three important traits that I developed:
- How I saw myself,
- How I interacted with others, and
- How I responded in times of uncertainty.
Do you know that our beliefs are formed in one or two ways?
- By the stories we tell ourselves – if our story is negative, we will operate from a place of fear which makes it difficult to regulate our emotions and focus. Whereby, a story of strength and growth will help us to overcome adversity and act.
- By the stories we listen to: Breaking News, Deaths, Bad Economy, Layoffs, etc. – our brain is built to protect us, but when we are bombarded with threats and worst-case scenarios, it defaults to the negatives and begin to expect the “hammer” to drop.
These beliefs drive our behavior! We must be incredibly careful what we feed ourselves. It is said often that what we think about, we bring about in our lives. Our levels of anxiety tend to skyrocket as we become overwhelmed when some things are out of our control. It is okay for you to feel and think whatever you are feeling or thinking because it is information, but the way you interpret and respond to the information is a choice.
We can become more resilient when we are clear on our priorities. In other words, our resilient muscle needs us to be intentional about what is important so that what is important becomes our “light house” to guide our decisions and behaviors through the storms of life. This mindfulness assisted me to become more aware of my behaviors, thoughts, and feelings to steer me toward better responses amid my career or any other crisis. My lighthouse became my “calm” in the storm to keep me moving in the right direction. Would you agree that we all need to aim for our lighthouse and let it guide our decisions and daily behaviors?
Do you know what is your lighthouse? If you do not know what your “lighthouse” is, then it is time for you to become deliberate and intentional to discover and define it. Why? It may save your life. The irony of the stock market crash in 1987 is that there was no need for anyone to lose their life. Even though all 23 major world markets experienced a sharp decline, the US market rallied immediately the very next day. Within two years, September 1989, the market had recovered completely and regained all its value from 1987.
We are currently experiencing an economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 40 million Americans lost their jobs and others are on the brink of losing their homes. Financial resiliency is the thread that would lift them beyond these dire straits. Have you built your resilient muscle? This is what I know for sure: this pandemic was not the first and it will not be the last catastrophic event in which we will need the strength of resiliency.
Contact C.A.N. Financial Services, LLC at 832-496-0886 and let us help build your financial resiliency today.