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Mourning & Starting Over


I found myself out of work in the Fall of 2009, right towards the end of "The Great Recession." It was one of the most devastating AND personally enlightening periods of my middle-aged life. I remember that time. Here's what no one told me in 2009:

  • Cut the mourning off after a short time; I suggest a week at most. You lost a job, not a beloved person. There will be moments of mourning, but don’t become a mourner.

  • You will need both friends who can kick your butt and those who let you cry when you need to; getting them mixed up could hurt.

  • Shift into a mentally stimulating activity; get outside for walks, read or listen to a book, connect with people over coffee that you haven't made time for because of work. Don't stay in bed!

  • Examine your beliefs about success and what those ideas are based on. Do those beliefs serve the person you want to be?

  • Expand your vision of how you will impact the world; this isn't the time to minimize your possibilities.

  • Consider if given the opportunity to change careers, what industry you would choose and why.

  • If you are having trouble processing the change mentally or emotionally, get a therapist.

I understand none of these things are as easy as they look, but that's the beauty of this journey. In this difficult place you will kick, scream, cry, and discover things about yourself that you would never otherwise learn. What you learn about yourself, and your sense of purpose will build resilience and courage for whatever is next. When my work ended in 2009, I thought I was leaving my dream job. Today I am doing the most rewarding work of my life. The obstacle you are facing can be the door for your reinvention. So, take the time to think about it: What do you want to do next? Michele Aikens is an executive coach and author of Consider The Possibilities: Pursuing What Matters Most.

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