Let go. Now what?

The day came. You received that early morning calendar planner to go to a nondescript meeting room.   One of your leadership and an HR representative were present. You were advised the company was reorganizing and that your role has been eliminated. They handed you a packet, gave you instructions, took your badge, and then you walked out of the office.

And now, it’s a week or two past when you were notified.   Time has moved forward, but you may feel like you’re standing still.   And, you may be asking yourself:

Now what?

I’ve talked with several that have been through this same circumstance in the last few years and have come out the other side doing well. In listening to their advice, I found many consistencies and want to share these with you.

As always, there are many things that you could or should be doing and this is not an exhaustive list. However, if you’ve stalled out and are in a lull – here’s where others have found success in getting going:

Take time to reflect. Set aside some uninterrupted quiet time. If you pray, pray. If you meditate, meditate. If you run, run. Wherever your comfort zone is, get there. And think through and process what has happened and where you want to go.   This is likely not a one time event either….you may have to spend a lot of quiet time while you go through this journey.

Set true priorities. Cut through any fluff in your life.   Force yourself to really analyze each of your priorities and ensure they align to the direction you want to go and that they are going to help you get there. Make sure you’re being honest with yourself.

Write it down. There’s something about putting pencil or pen to paper that seems to help the brain process and to construct your plan. Keep versions of your thinking – there may be something from a past version you want to revisit. If you get stuck, put it down and come back to it later. Your plan will begin to take shape and give you focus.

Ask questions. Ask. Ask. Ask! Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to asking others questions. However, at this point, if you don’t know – ask someone. If you don’t feel comfortable – find people in your network you trust that you can ask. Knowledge is power. Knowledge will help you feel more comfortable. Knowledge will help you flesh out your plan.

Ask for help. Ask. Ask. Ask! This is the same principle as above. But there is something funny about asking others for assistance. Many struggle with it. They don’t want to burden others. They don’t want to expose their situation. You need to put that all away and quit being stubborn. Your network is there for a reason – use it. Obviously, be professional about it, but if you need a sponsor – ask. If you need assistance – ask.   A large number of people want to help – but they don’t know how….until you tell them. Include others on your journey.

Use every resource available to you. Depending upon where you were let go from, there are likely some resources available to you. Use whatever is given to the fullest to help you achieve your plan – or help you discover it. Many have responded very positively about outsourcing resources available to them whether documentation, webinars, or coaches and how it made a difference in their next steps. Use them!

Don’t settle. This is always a tough one, because everyone is in a different circumstance. If you have to take something in the short term to get you to your longer-term plan, do what you need to. However, don’t abandon your longer-term goals. There is a lot of wisdom in pursuing several options at once.   In fact, a placement professional told me a story recently about a client that started with one offer that they didn’t want, but they leveraged that to help a couple other companies speed up their offers – which worked to their favor. Keep pushing towards your goal.

Help others. You are going to learn a lot along your journey. Others you know may be in similar circumstance. Information and experience you gain may help someone get on their feet or help them shortcut their plan to achieve a faster result. If you really liked an outsourcing webinar – tell your connections and encourage them to take it. If you found a job that didn’t fit you, but may someone you know – tell them! There is a wonderful benefit to your own journey when you help others on theirs.

Be thankful. Your journey will likely require the help of many others. Thank them – often. There is no better feeling when you help someone to know that they are appreciative. It makes the time and effort well spent.   Emails and texts are great to express it, but if you really want them to feel it – say it sincerely in person, or write a handwritten letter/note expressing your gratitude.

This great advice came from those that have been there – and at least for them – it helped them move forward. I hope that you find it valuable.

What would you add to help others move forward?

Servant Leaders Stand Up!

Over the last week, I’ve taken tons of calls and/or exchanged emails, texts and messages with many in the wake of the latest organizational restructure at Walmart.

As you might imagine, a large portion of those were from people that had been displaced and were working through the process of figuring out what’s next.

But what you may not expect is that about 1/3 of those were from people that were “left behind”. Those that remained in their roles and are now having to figure out a new normal.

And honestly – the conversations sounded very similar. People were nervous, uncertain, and anxious about what comes next.

So, let me cut to the chase.

Servant Leaders! It is time to stand up!

Regardless of where you fit in the organization, regardless of whether you are still with the organization or not, regardless of whether you have a team of direct reports or not – it’s time to stand up and be present!

And not just for those that were displaced, but for those that still remain as well.

Here’s 4 actions you can take right now!

  1. Identify.  Be mindful of your surroundings. Use your EQ to help you identify those that may be in need. Keep your radar up. Maybe now is the time to check in on that one person that you don’t know so well, but seems to be extra quiet today.
  1. Listen. Take the time to invest in others by just hearing them out. What are they worried or anxious about? What are they excited about? What questions do they have? You don’t have to have the answers for them. Often times, merely lending an ear is enough.
  1. Help.  Provide what assistance you can. And not just on the work stuff. Use your advice, network, knowledge, and maybe even a little research to provide what people may need, professionally and personally. Put in some effort. You don’t need to coddle them. Rather be honest and thoughtful.
  1. Encourage.  Lift them up.   Whether words, actions, or setting them up for small wins. Whatever it is – find ways to help them get moving in the right direction. The goal is to get them going and then keep them going. It will likely take more than a single action on your part. So, check back and follow up.

Servant leadership is not a new concept by any means, and I would hazard to guess you’re familiar with that to do. Now, just apply it and take action. Lift those around you.

We need servant leaders now more than ever. 

Will you accept the challenge to stand up?

Moving Past the Breakup

thIt’s not you. It’s me.”

One of the most cliché and arguably one of the worst breakup lines ever.

But why is it that bad? Because the “dumpER” really doesn’t tell the “dumpEE” what they need to know so that they can move on.

And in the world of relationships, we find that it isn’t just contained to romantic or social engagements.

Many have found themselves in a place recently where their company has decided to part ways and the best answer they are getting right now is, “It’s not you. It’s me.” – paraphrased of course.

It’s a reorganization. It’s the competitive environment. It’s expense control. It’s them. Not you.

But that isn’t an answer. Why did they select me? They could have chosen anyone. I’m a top performer!I heard this from the table behind me at a restaurant this week.

Someone was struggling with the ‘why’ and not able to get past where they are until they understand it – to their desired level of understanding. Unfortunately, it may never come.

Regardless of how many steps you subscribe to in processing grief or loss (which includes the loss of a job), there are sometimes barriers that get in the way from allowing you to move from one stage to another and finally on to acceptance…..if you let them.

And I get it. I’ve been here. I am here.  I’ve gone through the same “why did this happen to me”?

But, life experience has taught me a few things. And I want to share them with you with the full knowledge that maybe this only applies to me, but in a hope that it will somehow help you process your own situation or that of one that is near to you.

If you find yourself stuck after a breakup, here’s 3 things to consider:

  1. The ‘why’ doesn’t really matter. In the big scheme of things, understanding doesn’t change the outcome. The breakup still happened. You are where you are. While understanding may better help you mentally and emotionally process your situation to a degree – in reality, you don’t need this information to move forward with your new season. Besides, if you keep stonewalled by the same reply it may be time to stop rattling a tree that won’t drop you any fruit.
  1. Don’t over pursue. I have some friends and colleagues that fall in to this category already are over pursuing the ‘why’ – like the person in the restaurant. They “have to know” and they are doing it at a cost. They are running a myriad of negative emotions – and sometimes letting these emotions guide them. Anger, depression, confusion, etc. And it’s driving their actions and tone. Yes, tone. How you say and do things.

While you are free to do what you want, there is a wise old adage about not burning bridges. You never know when you’ll need a recommendation, job, or advice from a former colleague. Everything you do at this point speaks to your character and becomes your reputation. Remember – you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your reaction to it.

  1. Focus Forward. You only have so much energy. If you find yourself stuck, spinning, and wasting your energy – find a way to get past it. It may be as simple as a conscious choice to move past it or it may require counsel and talking it through with friends or even professionals. Sometimes, you don’t see that you’re spinning, which is why outside perspective is good from those you trust. Whatever it is, move forward. Make a plan. Take advantage of the resources and time you have to make a decisions and GO. Sometimes easier said that done, but you will never get to where you’re supposed to go next if you don’t take a step forward.

These are my own lessons from my personal journey. While not the be all end all, they are definitely things that I have had to remind myself of often.

If you are in the midst of a breakup, you may find yourself somewhere along the path of the grief process, which is totally okay! Those stages need to play out. Just know that there is hope for your future! AND don’t get hung up on the things that are going to slow you down and keep you from moving forward.  You’ve got this!

What has helped you get past a breakup?

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