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Now is the perfect time to step up

Everyone is climbing a ladder.

The only question is which rung are you on?

Ever thought about it? It’s a way bigger thought than, “Is my job safe?” But if that’s what you’re thinking, it’s probably not. Asking yourself “Is my job safe?” is an indication that you’re thinking in the wrong direction, diving in a hole instead of crawling out of a rut.

At the moment, many people are falling off the ladder or being pushed off the ladder. There have been more than a million people fired, laid off or put out of a job because of the state of the economy, and with government trying to “fix” the situation, I doubt the present condition will be better any time soon. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve read “Atlas Shrugged.”

You may be one of the unfortunate. Or are you? You may be one of the fortunate.

To hear our leaders and the spoken media talk of the present situation, you might believe there’s little hope. They paint gloom. “We’re in a deep recession,” they say.

The word is not recession. The word is opportunity. You and I are at the crossroads of that opportunity. The only question is who will take advantage of it?

Now is not the time to worry or wait. Now is the time to self-evaluate. Take stock. Do an inventory. Total your assets. And come to grips with who you are and who you want to be. Then take action.

I have written that turmoil is the best time to make change and accept change. Yes, we’re in the crapper, but it’s way better to focus on the opportunity, your opportunity, that this downturn presents. There’s a big question you need to ask yourself: Is now the best time to climb a few steps?

To help answer that question, here are some “take inventory” questions you must ask yourself to gain a realistic view of who you are, where you are and what you have achieved:

What have you done?

What are your achievements?

What is your strength of character?

What is your reputation?

Do you have a web presence?

What are your career skills?

What are your personal skills?

What are your strengths?

What expertise have you gained?

Are you using your abilities and expertise to their full potential?

What is your passion?

What have you always wanted to do?

What is your present financial condition?

What are your financial obligations?

What is your tolerance for risk?

On a 10-step ladder, which rung are you on?

How high can you climb in your present position?

How high do you want to climb?

What’s the gap?

How much do you love where you are?

Are you and your efforts appreciated?

How much do you love what you do?

These are tough questions. And I recommend that as you read them, and think about them, that you take 30 minutes out of your life to write down the answers. Writing leads to clarity and allows you to think of the questions individually rather than as a group.

These questions transcend “Is my job safe?” And let me give you a clue, Sparky: Nothing is safe. People who took a job at a bank to be “safe” are now on the street, 100,000 of them. All rules of the game are off. It’s like Manhattan in a snowstorm; anything goes, and every man is for himself.

The answers to the “take inventory” questions will give you the most realistic picture of yourself you have ever had. They will also clarify where you have the potential to go. Or should I say “grow.”

Now that your assets are defined and you present situation is clear, write down what you (really) want to do or become and assess the path you’re on now. Are the paths aligned? Are you on the right road?

Opportunity is knocking, baby: Whether it’s moving up your present ladder, finding a new ladder or even buying your own ladder, now is the time to do it.

Or you can wallow in “what is” until someone else makes it happen.

If you want to print out my list of “take inventory” questions, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor and enter the words “take stock” in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.

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