How to survive and thrive in feast and famine cycles

How to survive and thrive in feast and famine cycles

Just like time transitions from night to day and from one season to the next, everything in nature, every element of life, ebbs and flows in cycles.

This is true for wealth as well, and it is not unnatural to experience fluctuations in your levels of affluence. This is especially the case if you are engaged in highly creative or innovative work where all of your energy and reserves are being expended upfront in hopes of reaping later rewards.

You might perceive this as a vicious "feast and famine" cycle where, for example, one month you have a notable influx of clients, customers or contracts, but the next fail to attract any work at all. This inconsistency might have your finances in an upheaval and make it hard for you to feel stable and secure.

Or perhaps you've decided to walk away from a high-earning job to pursue your passions but haven't gotten acclimated to the less than luxurious lifestyle you must adopt to sustain you on this new path. So you retain your champagne tastes even though you are on a beer budget, and your accounts are rapidly depleting as a result.

I understand how disruptive and demotivating it feels when you are thriving in one period but barely surviving in the next. However, if you understand how to manage these natural cycles you'll be able to smooth the oscillations and exert more control over how they impact you. Read on to learn how to flourish during both low and high tides.

Accept these cycles as inevitable

Everything we can observe in life operates according to some particular pattern, mostly natural though some manmade in accordance with nature. There are time cycles, economic cycles, agricultural cycles and human growth cycles. We live according to a variety of steps and sequences that shape our existence.

You'd be a societal outcast if you suddenly decided not to accept, for instance, that there were 24 hours in a day. Ignoring or resisting cycles rarely results in favorable outcomes. Acknowledging that life changes, all the time, and observing and accepting how it changes, is key to empowerment.

Understand the cycle you're in

Farmers are highly skilled at surveying their fields, noting weather patterns and marking seasonal transitions. This allows them to sow, toil, harvest or rest according to cycle. Without this specialized knowledge their land would lie dormant and not offer any fruit for their labor. Any effort they exerted would be in vain and famine would result.

Likewise, you need to understand the characteristics of the cycle you are in. Add to your skill set the ability to survey situations and circumstances and uncover how and when they shift. Spot the conditional relationships and recurrent patterns. Draw up your if/then/else chart so you can identify what triggers certain outcomes in your life and work.

Adopt a counter cyclical strategy

Armed with knowledge about the transitional phases of the cycle you are in, you can make informed decisions that either heighten or lesson its impact, based on your desires. You may assume that acting in a way that positively correlates with cycle is the best approach but that's not always the case.

Sometimes acting countercyclical enables you to benefit from the positive aspects of a cycle while reducing its negative effects. Countercyclical does not mean "anti" cyclical — you aren't trying to shop or change the cycle itself. Acting countercyclical simply means that you move in the opposite direction of the trend, and it is worth considering if your current actions aren't improving your situation.

When you are in a feasting period that is the time to reduce spend and save, when you are experiencing a famine that is the time to spend. Yet you may exhaust your resources as soon as you get them or keep your coffers closed as soon as you experience the slightest bit of lack. You may not realize that your procyclical behavior is only intensifying the impact of the cycle and you need to act differently.

Your goal is not to try and stop the cycles that act on your life or business, they are inevitable. Instead, you want to become savvy at thriving in spite of them. If you are struggling with the feast and famine cycle then set up a complimentary session and let's discuss how I might help you find stability and security.