How do you handle tough times?

Recently, some of my clients (or their spouses) have lost their jobs and I’m getting a front-row seat to how differently many of us react to that.

I’ve noticed there’s ONE KEY difference in how people respond to this sort of loss. And it all comes down to their RESPONSE TIME.

It’s normal to experience feelings of loss and surprise when you’ve unexpectedly been laid off. Some of the people I’ve interacted with were surprised because they were top performers or had been there for years. Others understood the decision, but felt that their boss (or HR) didn’t communicate the news in a kind or respectful way. All these feelings (and many more) are quite understandable, and we should absolutely ACKNOWLEDGE them, and allow time to grieve our loss.

But, how long do you let these feelings linger? How many days, weeks, or months do you focus on the decision (which is out of your control)? How long do you whine about how unfair the decision was?

My clients who are handling the news BEST have shortened the time they’ll dwell or ruminate. Instead, they’re making a conscious decision to MOVE FORWARD.

This makes sense. As with everything in life, the most successful and happy people are those who ALWAYS get out of their circles of CONCERN and back into their circles of CONTROL. In other words, they don’t focus much on what’s happened TO them. They constantly shift their focus back to what THEY can DO about it. How they can turn a seemingly unfortunate event into a learning or growth opportunity.

If you’ve lost a job recently (or know someone who has), here’s just three examples of what you can DO in response to losing your job.

1) Update your resume. Many resumes I see haven’t been updated in YEARS. Losing a job is a great time to update your resume with all your recent accomplishments, highlights, and proud moments. It’s also a great time to practice interviewing- a skill we don’t get to practice much when we stay with the same organization for years at a time. Both these activities will make you a better professional.

2) Think about your dream job. I mean it! Make the time to sit down and strategize/set intention for your future. This is a critical time to consider what you may NOT have loved about your last role, and what you REALLY want to see in your next role. For all you know, being out of work is just the chance or invitation to find a job you love MORE and pays BETTER. Don’t assume that can’t or won’t happen. Rather, assume that it CAN and WILL. (It all comes down to YOU and what you’ll do to MAKE that happen).

3) Use this time to do anything and everything you’ve always WANTED to pursue, but NEVER could find time for. Right now, I know someone who is out of work and is using the time to write a book. He’s already 50,000 words in! Others I know are learning to play a musical instrument, getting in better shape, reading books to advance their learning, and traveling.

You’ve got this, more than you know.