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Intersections of Change

We are at an incredibly dynamic intersection in world history—or not, depending on your point of view. Most of us have never experienced anything like the current set of circumstances. The implications are broad and diverse, from the macroeconomic, down to you and me. At the same time, there are the un-affected, un-aware, and un-impressed. This broad scope of human perspective is what makes our crazy, intense, and beautiful world spin.

The opportunity to learn from a crisis is huge if we have the appetite. Our strengths and weaknesses, both as a society and as individuals, are exposed, ready to be leveraged and mitigated to our benefit in the long haul. This is an intersection where we can decide if it’s time to go right or left, motor on, or turn around. This is a time of Reinvention.

1. REEVALUATE THE STATUS QUO - It’s a good time to ask yourself “where is the herd actually going, and is it where I want to be?” I have come to this conclusion: There is a dangerously false sense of security in the status quo. We believe there is safety in numbers, even if we are all running off a cliff.

Build your own Belief System! Don’t abdicate the responsibility of knowing what is best for your business, your family, or yourself to others. Study, learn, research, look deeper at the decisions you make and why you make them. Is homeownership the right thing for me? Should I get a student loan? Do I need a car? Do I need a second car? Should I eat this?

The status quo for typical Americans today is not an elevated path to fulfillment and growth. Here are a few reflections to consider.

  • As many as 78% of the workforce is living paycheck to paycheck

  • American’s personal debt is $38k

  • 38% of adults over 20 are suffering from Obesity

  • 90 million US adults are pre-diabetes

  • 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with Autism (2004 was 1 in 165)

For many Americans, the message is clear: Break out of the Status Quo and participate in your own rescue! Risk Management demands that businesses and individuals operate with greater margins. Financially, physically, and emotionally!

2. REDUCE DEBT - The greatest marketing scheme ever conceived was rebranding the SLAVERY of DEBT, as the FREEDOM of CREDIT. You even get a Debt Score—-I mean a Credit Score, so you can play along and keep track of your potential to go really, really, really far into debt. Debt is the new socially-accepted, self-elected— slavery.

Back up for a minute. We live in a Debt Based Global Economy. Most of the free world has decided it must have what it wants, right now. America, for example, is starting the COVID-19 Pandemic challenge $23 Trillion upside down. In other words, we have spent a mere $23,000,000,000,000 more than we had. This is what it looks like at the top.

This same scenario is replicated at the microeconomic level, that’s you and me. The good news is we are keeping up with the Joneses, the bad news is the Joneses are broke. As the cloak of debt surrounds us, the field of opportunity and choice diminishes. Now is a great time to set a plan to reduce your business or personal debt and create more financial margin.

3. CHALLENGE CONSUMERISM - From 1975-2015 the average home size increased 63% and over 1,000 square feet, increasing from 1645 SF to 2687 SF. The house you grew up in, just won’t do today. How did our parents raise a family of six in a 1,600 square foot home, but we can’t? Here is my theory. We need all that space for our stuff. You know the stuff we had to have, that we couldn’t afford, that now sits offering us little if any satisfaction past the rush of obtaining it. That stuff.

From the time we are old enough to stare into the messaging abyss, or what marketing calls The Funnel, we are bombarded with messages that SELL US fulfillment, happiness, success, and joy—by TELLING US we just need a little more and we will be good enough. I will be happy when, people will honor me when, I will be attractive when. We are only one captivating advertisement from realizing our next personal deficiency.

By the time we are eighteen, employed with a few coins on the dresser, we are ripe and ready to start borrowing our way to personal fulfillment.

Consumerism, The Status Quo, and Debt Comfort are all interconnected. They independently create the need, the illusion of security and fulfillment, and the financing to make it all happen!

4. PHYSICAL HEALTH MATTERS - When it comes to physical health our society is falling off a cliff. The numbers are outrageous, the trends disturbing and the impact, staggering. We eat just about anything, in crazy huge portions, and our amazing bodies convert it to energy, our hair grows, we go to work, all good. Well, all good until it isn’t all good.

The US Census tells us that roughly 80% of us don’t exercise. Only 5% of the population engages in physical activity for 30 minutes a day. We don’t need a government survey to tell us that, just look around.

  • Children spend an average of 7.5 hrs per day in front of a screen

  • One in three kids are physically active every day

  • About 20% still smoke

  • 100 million US adults have diabetes, are you next?

Our Physical health is part of a larger system that includes our emotional and spiritual health, environmental influences, relationship dynamics, and more. Each element independent yet interconnected. I refer to this as The Ecosystem of You. When it is aligned, in-tune and in an elevated state of balance, everything works better. Your physical health influences your emotional well being and vice versa.

Physical activity is a great way to kick-start your ecosystem. Exercise triggers endorphins that ease stress and encourage. You gain confidence and communicate with greater clarity.

We can’t abuse and ignore our physical wellbeing and then expect a doctor to prescribe us back to health. Just because there are fast-food chains up and down the boulevard, doesn’t mean you need to eat there. Learn more about the power of your Ecosystem and take the Life Balance Assessment here to stimulate your thinking.

FAMILY - We awoke to a new set of circumstances. Whether you believe it is merited or not, things are different. It may be a temporal change, but for many Americans, things will never “be the way they were.” The media is dominated by the sensationalism we seem to feed on. The stories of personal tragedy are real, the fear is palpable and the finger-pointing disturbing. In the midst of this uncertainty, a Phoenix is rising from the chaos—The Family. If this crazy situation has brought you home, embrace it. Take a breath in the middle of chaos to remember why you do what you do.

CLOSING THOUGHTS - These perspectives are not an indictment, they are simply catalysts to ignite your thinking. Take a moment to consider a perspective shift - it’s a great intersection to assess, reflect, and possibly change direction. If you are home, use the time wisely! Get out a pen and paper, and write down some of the thoughts you had while reading this. Start with these:

  • What did you agree with, and what didn’t you?

  • Where are some areas where the status quo isn’t serving you well?

  • What are some actionable steps you can take to change that?

  • Get your true financial picture on paper and look for trends and opportunities.

  • What is being illuminated by your Strengths Assessment?

There is a path that leads to greater measures of fulfillment, success, happiness, and joy. Join me for the inspiration, perspectives, and tools to break away from the status quo, take control, and reimagine your life. Subscribe here and let’s continue the conversation.


Rich McDonald

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