do you need a bailout?

photo credit: GreyHobbit

“I am never going to get ahead in this economy unless I get a bailout like all of these companies.” – overheard at work

The news seems to get worse and worse. The casual mention of billions to this corporation and billions to that one can skew your perceptions of what the money is worth, and how our society rewards risk and conservatism.  Companies that took unreasonable gambles are saved (but some aren’t).  People who took out safe mortgages with sizable down payments watch others who leapt into mortgages they couldn’t afford for houses they didn’t need get assistance.  401(k)s and IRAs collapse while executives get golden parachutes.  The times make it easy to despair:  playing by the rules won’t get you anywhere.

I feel the despair personally – my retirement accounts have been blasted. I’ve been laid off.  I’m looking at a horrible job market in a struggling industry.  And the most negative influence has been working in the corporate headquarters of one of the companies mentioned almost daily in the “bad financial sector news” section of your local paper.  Positivity has been at a minimum.  Layoffs and insincere cheery messages from the CEO about the company’s employees – apparently the best and brightest in the industry, just like the other 5 companies who’ve been my clients in the last 5 years have said about their employees  – put a grimace on my  face, too.

Yet I am amazed at the idea that “a bailout” can help an individual conquer their bad habits. Sure, a bailout can help you in the short term.  If you’re heavily in debt, having someone throw you a few hundred bucks right before Christmas can help you keep the lights on, but once that money’s spent – where are you?  If the bailout’s applied to a debt, great, but how many times can you go back to that person for another bailout?

Here’s a secret:  YOU are your own bailout.  Only YOU can fix YOUR problems.

I’m not saying you can’t have supportive family or friends, or use some help from informative blogs or books. It all helps.  But without YOUR committed effort you’ll never fix your problems.

If you think someone is going to pay off your debt, or lose your weight for you, or fix your crappy job for you… you’re wrong. Only you can do it.  Sure, there are people who win the lottery, but if you want to play those odds you’re wasting time reading blogs on the internet – go get your ticket.  Hard work and positivity on YOUR part will pay off that debt.  Focus and discipline will help you lose weight.  Networking, acquiring new skills and focusing on what you really want to achieve will make that crappy job a memory.

If you want to wait for a bailout, go ahead and wait… but for truly successful people, a bailout’s not coming – and not needed.