05/04/2009 09:20 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

On the Corner of Fantasy and Reality

Life is tough. There are the daily challenges. Major and minor from caring for parents or children; paying the bills; nasty co-workers and tough bosses; demanding clients; health issues; losing weight; looking for love - what a wide range of worries consume us.

Add the recession to the traditional load and the method of negotiating our equilibrium is suddenly renegotiated.

Our coping mechanisms have been getting a work out. Learning how to adjust and maintain a good attitude makes all the difference in how we get to the end of the day. Turning lemons into lemonade; Finding the silver lining in every cloud; Reinventing ourselves, again and again. Platitudes and strategies abound.
So much lemonade lately.

I've adjusted. Whatever it takes to keep a business strong, we're doing it. Cutbacks, layoffs, efficiencies, and working harder/longer - you name it. Focus.

It is not easy to keep selling and innovating in a tough economy. But there is no choice and this is where I move to a different place - optimism and a smile. I think of the world in smaller terms, isolating myself from the big bad worries. Things cannot be so awful - people still need to eat/party/entertain/enjoy themselves socially. Each day I reach out to potential clients, talk about our food - our mission - how we are different, better, tastier, more innovative. We keep the level of camaraderie up at the office. We go to the movies (ZacEfron, Robert Pattinson and Hugh Jackman), eat lunch together, spring for a Starbucks treat, listen to music (Twilight soundtrack again).

But my real strategy - ignore reality. In fact, at times I feel it borders on living in a fantasy. I skim the papers (mostly to see which companies have enough money to afford to advertise). Hard core depressing news, no thank you, not today. Maybe on the weekend or never. I need to stay Upbeat and Positive. I need to motivate myself and others.

I try to talk friends into retail therapy, dining or drinking as well as indulge myself. Let's get the economic engine moving again. Yes We Can.

Imagine my horror when Swine Flu made the headlines. Unavoidable news. And tragic implications for families around the world. This reality was intruding into my carefully constructed fantasy big time. The Vice President telling us not to travel - are you kidding?? Next thing you know, people would find yet another excuse to cancel their parties. A conspiracy and nothing less. My interests are quite parochial, my world circumscribed by a narrow reality of economic self-interest.

Jitters and evacuation when Air Force One dropped altitude. What attitude. We do not want to read about another potential disaster. Sensory overload.

That's when things clicked. I am not more selfish or caught up in my own world than the next gal. We all make little deals that get us to the end of the week. And it is not just work that we negotiate - it's the hardcore bad stuff that life dishes out without hesitation as well. Without a dose of something (and I prefer to leave my vodka for after hours) it is an uphill battle. A game plan, a strategy, a set of tools. And of course, I ask if I am wrong to insulate myself from the barrage of bad news. Should I be feeling more pain instead?

Magical thinking. Hollywood. Dreams. We humans need it. So next time the news makes you want to run away, come stand with me on the corner of Reality and Fantasy and we will weather the storm. I promise.