03/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Top 5 Ways to Bail Yourself Out of Economic Crisis

Tired of reading about the controversial economic stimulus package, the bank bailouts and the massive job cuts? In the spirit of remaining proactive in the midst of all of this doom and gloom, my good friends Geo, Michael and Andrew and I decided to take matters into our own hands. Why not put together a list of things we'd consider useful in our very own personal stimulus package. We began with a question that seemed pretty straightforward: What are the top 5 things that I can do right now to make sure that I have the most options down the line? Of the hundreds of answers we came up with, here are my favorite in a list we like to call:

Auto-Stimulus: Top 5 Ways To Bail Yourself Out (Before You Have To)

1. Be Quiet and Listen: Go to conferences and meet-ups then follow-up online to expand your circle and get fresh perspectives.

2. Look at your resource pool and go swimming: Find and connect with people who can add value to your life and career and make sure you add value to theirs. Pick your people and interact with them both online and off.

3. Think before you act or act like you're thinking: Blog about ideas, events and people that add value to your community. They'll appreciate the kudos and might want to share your blog and sing your praises to their extended network of people.

4. Re-invent yourself: Build your reputation and credibility now by strengthening your relationships and your own personal brand. Join discussion groups both online and off and share your own authentic and unique voice.

5. Build it and they will come: Barter your services! It could be as simple as tapping into your local Craigslist postings or organizing a weekly neighborhood swap -- be ready to invest in the relationship economy and put yourself in the middle of the information flow. The more you know about what you can exchange for your skills and services in your community, the better positioned you are to face the future on your own terms.

No matter where you sit, you have options so get out there and shine and share your own top 5 with us here. Remember there is wisdom in the network.. What's yours?