"My attitude has always been, if you fall on your face, at least you keep going. All you have to do is come back and try again." ~ Richard Branson
Let's face it, losing a damn job! Over the past two months, I have been discussing with friends who have recently been affected by organizational changes that result in their inadvertent work. This is a situation that is very familiar to millions of people, often without their own fault. It is often the result of economic downturn, restructuring, acquisitions and cost savings.
Two years ago, while on a business trip, I discovered that my role would end. It wasn't completely unexpected and I was really relieved. However, being a spokesman was overwhelming.
Should I go back to my country? Should I Leave Where We Started Building a Life? What about my voluntary commitments? That and much more revolves around my head.
Thank goodness for its re-execution How I met your mother. As soon as I discovered the news, I spent hours obsessed with Ted and Robin's epic, enjoying cookies and ice cream. After a few days, (and before my jeans went too tight), I took it upon myself and began to move on. I reminded myself of some valuable lessons along the way.
Feel the senses.
You will probably have a number of emotions. Let yourself sit in it. You may find yourself lamenting. This is natural. after all, something that was an important part of your life is over.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross famously celebrated the five stages of grief: denial, anger, negotiation, depression, and acceptance. Identifying these stages can help in the process of overcoming.
Breathe. I'm doing yoga. Think. Write in a magazine. Create a vision board. This will help get you on the ground and get you started soon and you will start to have a clear idea of how to proceed.
Your race will always be your race.
Connect with your friends and family. Let people know what's going on. Your race will rally and hug you, no matter where they are – or you are. They will love you, encourage you, help you, and keep believing you are great, even when you don't. They'll take you out of the house, have a cup of tea with you during a video call, and make sure you get to yoga class. As hard as it is, talking about it helps.
Ask for help.
As a fairly independent person, I find it difficult to ask for help. In the spirit of "feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable", I reached out to my network and asked for help.
One particular situation will always stay with me: I called someone I met at an event and told them the news. He asked me to call him next week so he could think of appropriate connections. Sure, next week, he was ready with a list of ten people that would be useful to connect with. That broke my mind. Spend time in the coming weeks creating personalized emails and importing. This was a reminder of the human spirit. People want to help-I ask!
Create a routine.
I don't need to wake up and sit somewhere with my routine. Having a routine can help us anchor as well as structure, build good habits and build efficiency.
I found it helpful to plan a new routine.
I woke up at the same time each morning, did an hour of physical activity, meditated and made a list for the day.
I found a neighborhood cafe that became my "office". When I wasn't out to meet anyone, I would go to the café and work on applications, networking applications, learning units, goals, and volunteer programs.
I finished my "work day" at about the same time daily and would do an evening activity in line. This helped me get a structure, kept my mind involved, and made sure I made connections.
When a job loss strikes, it's easy to feel like your goal has been lost. One way to deal with this is to set goals and reflect.
Goal setting helps to provide clarity and emphasizes, motivates and responsibilities. Examples of goals could be setting up a meeting or two a week, setting a resume, applying for two weeks of work, or volunteering.
Goals give you something to work towards and at the end of the week you can take stock of what you have accomplished and feel a sense of accomplishment. Taking the time to reflect allows you to see your progress and be grateful for the support you have received, and also gives you something to continue.
Create a personal board (PBOD).
This was an idea presented to me a few years ago by a member of my own caucus. It's a trusted group of people who can turn to you for tips, who will share useful resources and offer different opinions.
As Lisa Barrington explains in her article, Everyone needs a personal board of directors, "Your PBOD is there to act as a sound board, to advise and provide you with feedback on the decisions, opportunities and challenges of your life. They provide you with unlimited feedback that you may not necessarily get from colleagues or friends."
Companies are careful to choose their board of directors, and you should be me too. Some roles you may want to consider are: an accountability partner, someone who will ask the tough questions, one of your biggest fans, a link and a mentor.
The PBOD does not need to come together. You just have to stay connected to all of them normally. I'm talking to at least one member of my PBOD week. It helps keep me on track and encourages me to think differently.
This can be a time filled with high highs and low lows. Take time to play. They laugh and play endorphin release to the brain. As mentioned in the NPR podcast All things considered, adults play for a variety of important reasons: building community, keeping the mind sharp and keeping close to what you love.
Explore the city you're in – check out all the free things you can do. Spend time outside. Go on vacation for a few days. It can help you gain perspective and reconnect you to what's important.
According to Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, "what you start to see when there is a great deal of deprivation in an otherwise capable adult is that it is not very fun to be around you." Put yourself out there. Talk to strangers. Say yes. You have adventures.
Yes, that sounds contradictory. Walking in the unknown, what is there to celebrate?
It is not everyday to put your life on hold and to re-rank. Be grateful for downtime. Think of it this time as a gift. Be grateful for the experiences your job has given you. Celebrate success and struggles. Embrace the lessons – you will take them with you as you progress. Be grateful for the relationships you have formed and the people who have helped and will help you.
While this period in life may sting, remember, it is temporary.
Take the opportunity to press the pause button, think about what's important, refresh and build your network, and set new goals.
Trust the process – this journey will add richness to your life, give you empathy and enhance your endurance. The upheaval may shake you, but the space is being created for new opportunities and chances are that it will work better than you thought. Keep going and enjoy all that this time will bring.