Gloom and doom is everywhere these days. Home prices remain flat, and the bottom is nowhere in site. Congress can't get its act together. Europe is on fire. The stock market swings 100 points (or more), positive or negative, by the day. Numerous states are in fiscal distress.
To top that all off, millions of Americans don't have a job. Many have been out of work for more than 99 weeks, when unemployment benefits finally run out. And for those lucky enough to have a job, they are being squeezed by stagnant wages and rising prices. (See: America's Middle Class: The Sobering Facts)
In times like these, it's very difficult to be positive. But Willie Jolley, who actually knows what it is like to lose a job and be left with just $200 in his wallet, is a total optimist.
He's the host of the Sirius XM talk show, The Willie Jolley Wealthy Ways Radio Show, a motivational speaker and the author of the new book Turn Setbacks Into Greenbacks.
"I know that kick-in-the-gut feeling when you lose your job that you feel so broken and hurt," says Jolley, who lost his singing jobs to technology -- the more cost-effective karaoke machine. "But I also realize that in those moments that some of our greatest opportunities will come if we would just start to look at it from another lens."
Jolley was hailed as the "Comeback King" by Success Magazine in 2010 for his efforts to help Ford Motor stave off a government bailout. He is also credited with turning Washington, D.C.'s image of a crime-heavy city into one that's prime for tourism.
But before Jolley did either of those things, he first turned his career around. Here are a few secrets to his success for "going up in down times."
#1 Stop commiserating! "Whatever you look for you will find. Don't participate in the gloom and doom," he says. "There are all these realities that have different perspectives... . Some people see this as the worst time ever, some people see this as the best time ever."
Basically, stop wasting time complaining about your problems, and focus your energy on how to solve your hardships.
#2 Be proactive, and be creative. "I want to encourage people that this setback that they are having is not the end of the road. It is a bend in the road," says Jolley. "And if you are willing to change and look at some other possibilities, some of your other skills, even develop some new skills, you will realize that some of your best days could very well be in front of you and not behind you."
Jolley suggests identifying a need that people have for which you can fill, in addition to figuring out creative ways to use your expertise to earn money.
#3 Don't let your pride poison your prosperity. "Sometimes in tough times you have to do some things that are uncomfortable: You might have to get a second job. You might have to work as a greeter at Wal-Mart. You might have to go to McDonald's," Jolley says. "Many people say, 'that is beneath me.' But I say, if it is legal and moral, then it is honorable work."
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