Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Surviving Today's Money Fears

It's hard to keep your head when those all around you are losing their, advised Rudyard Kipling-and it's especially hard to do so during an economic crisis like the one we're facing right now.

Yet CPA Jane Honeck, author of The Problem With Money? It's Not About the Money!,  believes it can be done.

"We clearly see how the fear of future failures and potential losses drives down expectations so we operate from a place of weakness instead of strength. It's the proverbial bogeyman in the closet," she says. "The more we focus on him, the bigger, more ferocious he gets!"

So how do you get beyond those fears in such an unstable market? 
Following are simple steps Honeck believes anyone can take to step out of financial paralysis and into building new money muscles:

1. Talk it up: Ignoring your anxieties and keeping fear bottled up only makes them fester and grow. Share your feelings with someone and get their perspective.  Without shared perspective, we magnify negative speculation, mix it with past failures, and the financial bogeyman grows. With sharing, things become more balanced and, at the very least, two of you will be shouldering the load instead of just you!

2. Stay in the moment: Affirm your own financial reality now. Did you make it through yesterday, last week, last month? Have things changed that much? Do you have enough today? None of us know what's really ahead-but we can be certain about today. Staying in the moment and not getting too far ahead of ourselves puts a stable foundation back in place.

3. Choose your battle: Be honest about what's underneath your concern-is it mistrust, lack of control, powerlessness?  Today's financial fears keep us worrying about things we can't change. But, we become empowered by transforming those we can. Can we stop the stock market slide? Probably not, but we can make changes in our own financial world.

4. Take the next step: Don't worry about all the steps from here to your own financial stability-you only need worry about the next step. Keep your eye on your financial goals and begin shifting from emotion to motion. Pay a bill; start a savings account; cut up a credit card-any next step will start the momentum.  Ultimately, the culmination of those next steps will build trust in yourself and your ability to meet your future goals.

5. Do it again: When the next negative headline appears (and it will) go back to #1. Fear is a part of life, but it doesn't have to take over our life. It may feel like a lot of effort the first time you tackle these steps. But, use them often and eventually you'll slip right through fear and into empowered action with a blink of an eye.###



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