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By JC Abusaid, CEO/President as Featured in Forbes 

No matter what gives rise to them, periods of financial adversity are inevitable for us as leaders. In the most challenging of times, these can even demand choices that are a question of your company’s survival.

If like me, you’ve helped your company weather severe market downturns or experienced personal financial hardships when starting out in business, you already know that what you’ve learned can provide valuable benefits. As our economic soothsayers worry over an impending recession for 2023, here are my thoughts on ways you can come out of this potential downturn better than ever.

Adversity Builds Resilience

We all know this to be true in any facet of life: When you face adversity and you overcome it, you get stronger and wiser.

In my industry—wealth management—moments of adversity happen all the time. Market cycles, be they more incremental challenges or the big painful ones, help build resilience. The lessons learned during these times make us better equipped to make the right decisions in the short term and keep building on that over the long term.

When I first emigrated from Colombia to California in 1990, we were in the midst of the first Gulf War and a horrific regional recession. Many people were out of work, and no one was willing to hire someone with a Middle Eastern surname, limited Colombian work experience and a business degree. I won’t go into all the miseries, but here’s the short version: I did eventually secure a job where I labored like hell, felt underappreciated and got paid a pittance. I was determined to prove that I was worth more, so I kept persevering. Ultimately, someone noticed and recommended me to the firm I oversee today, more than 25 years later.

That early schooling taught me a lot. Not least: When opportunity knocks, go for it. And while luck played a part, it was my years of resolve and hard work that ultimately opened that door of opportunity for me. Working hard doesn’t always get you noticed, but it’s a virtue that pays off over the long run. It builds character and, yes, resiliency in the face of supreme challenges.

Gaining Strategic Clarity

If you don’t have a clear strategy when contending with economic hardship, you’re almost guaranteed to lose your way. For me, that lesson first came with the tech bubble blow-up more than two decades ago. Our firm had built lofty goals, which were never going to fly in those ugly conditions. In order to survive, we had to strip everything down to our core business strengths. We could only accomplish that by gaining clarity about what was required and building a strategy around that.

Leaders should always be attuned to what’s nonnegotiable. This means homing in on the values, people and operations essential to your business—what makes you great. Keep those human connections strong, particularly when the wolves are at the door. You can always cut back on inessential areas (you know what these are). Let your essential team players know how valuable they are, and work to integrate them into the bigger picture.

Never Take What You Have For Granted

Hearing the term seasoned leader makes me wince. Leaders rarely encounter the same conditions twice. We all need to stay on our toes and stay humble. As much as we might think we understand the markets and market cycles, outside factors like a pandemic can throw a monkey wrench in everyone’s plans.

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