Why Your Layoff News May Be The Best Gift You Ever Got

Why Your Layoff News May Be The Best Gift You Ever Got

Layoffs seem to be happening across most every industry to people of every age.

Layoff news can be tough to hear.  It’s worth noting that being laid off is not the same as being fired. Layoffs are not personal. In other words, if you’ve been laid off, the chances are pretty high that you did nothing wrong. By contrast, being fired is usually a result of you doing or not doing something that was within your control. If you or someone you know has gotten layoff news recently I want you to know this. Your layoff may be one of the best gifts you ever got. Mindfulness can help you shift your mindset and realize it. 

Whether you love your job, tolerate it or flat out dread those hours of your week, layoff news can be jarring.

It forces you out of what you know. Maybe you’re one of those people who loved (or at least liked) you job. Or maybe, you’re one of the countless millions who have been slogging through their workdays for moons feeling miserable, stressed, stuck and under appreciated. If you’re in that last group, you’ve been plodding along this way for years at the risk of your own mental and physical health.

We convince ourselves to stay even when the work is killing us.

You’ve kept going because you have a family to support, bills to pay, and a lifestyle to maintain. Maybe you’ve even convinced yourself that the devil you know is better than the one you don’t. Fear of change has created a state of inertia that has kept you stuck in what I call, ‘the loop.’ In the loop, you put yourself last and tolerate crappy work circumstances. You stop dreaming. You race so hard and so fast you miss the joy around you. You forget all of the things that make you special. Your layoff gives you a chance to get out of the loop and start living and working on your own terms. Mindfulness can help you get there.

Coaching people who are navigating the layoff cycle has taught me a few consistent truths.

  1. Their first reaction is typically fear, followed by its’ good buddies, anger, confusion, and panic. Their thoughts immediately go to the very worst things that could happen. They reach full freak out mode and react to protect themselves.
  2. Within hours of getting the layoff news, they make every attempt to replace the job they lost as soon as possible. They head to LinkedIn and change their status to “Open to Work.” They rapid fire applications to jobs that they don’t really want, send their resumes to recruiters and ‘activate their networks.’
  3. Fear activates their nervous system’s emergency button, making it hard to think or make clear choices. As with most things, mindfulness changes their experience. It empowers them to observe without absorbing and take intentional forward steps that empower them to write their next chapter from a place of choice.
  4. Resetting unlocks a world of possibilities. There is reaction and there is response. My clients learn how mindfulness helps them reset their nervous system, respond and realize the gift of their layoff.

Here are three of the invitations I offer my coaching clients to help them with their initial reset:

  1. Breathe. Breathing resets the nervous system, restores balance, reduces stress, and improves cognition. 
  2. Allow time for decompression and rest. This reset improves overall health, clarity and rekindles creativity, 
  3. Explore what brings you joy. By exploring what brings you joy, you can be more intentional about finding your next gig.

Post layoff news reset, my clients learn important truths that change the way they look at work.

  • Their layoff felt personal, but it wasn’t.
  • They can choose to stew or thrive.
  • How unwell and exhausted they were.
  • To appreciate the gift of time they’ve been given.
  • Mindfulness is the gateway for creativity, cognition and optimism.
  • They can choose work that brings them fulfillment and joy.

*If you’re ready to navigate your career transition mindfully, head to my contact page and let’s grab some time to talk about how I can empower you.

What I Know Now But Never Learned About Self Love

What I Know Now But Never Learned About Self Love

“Make a list of five people you love.” This was the opening question of an energy workshop I attended at the front edge of 2023. As we went around the room, people listed off the usual suspects, “My kids, significant other, friends, my dog…” Not a single person, including me, said, “Myself.” Maybe that explains why we’re so quick to judge ourselves and so slow to love ourselves. Why it’s so easy to focus on where we’ve failed. Why we conform, hide our authentic selves away and have no problem listing off what we need to improve or fix about ourselves. Why we ruminate at the end of the day on everything we should have done, should be doing- what didn’t get done.

Why are we so resistant to celebrate what we accomplish and where we make a difference because we participated? Why is it hard for us to acknowledge every little courageous step forward we’ve taken that led us to progress and growth? Why do we shy away from the kind words and compliments other people share with us? Why is it so hard to feel proud of ourselves? To allow ourselves to sink into the fullness, imperfection and joy of who we are?

Why is practicing self sabotage so easy and self love so damn hard? 

In my case, it was childhood conditioning. The words ‘self-love’ were not part of my Southern family’s vocabulary. I was raised by good, kind, well meaning women who were never taught the concept or practice of self love. They learned that loving yourself was selfish, even egotistical. They rarely ate a hot meal or sat down (to enjoy their cold meal) before every dish was done. They went to work, even when they were sick, and rarely left the house without their “face on.” They valued what other people thought of them more than they valued how they thought about themselves. They pushed beyond exhaustion and considered it a badge of honor. They were industrious women who thought sleeping more than four hours a night was for the weak. They shared their opinions but it rarely occurred to them to speak up for they needed to be healthy, happy and whole. Focusing on what you did well was bragging. Loving yourself first was blasphemous. When it came to love, God came first. 

To be fair, the women in my family lived through some seriously hard shit like The Great Depression, polio and world wars. They were taught to “Suck it up. Grin and bear it. Power through. Be grateful for what you’ve got and don’t ask for a bit more.” I’m sure these beliefs helped them survive but they also killed any notion of self-love. Watching them and listening to their stories made it easy for me to feel selfish for ever thinking about putting myself first. I learned to compare myself to them, judge myself when I fell short, question my value and quietly settle for less than I wanted or deserved. The way I was raised primed my pump for self-sabotage.

After decades of self-work- mindfulness, introspection, meditation and coaching, here’s what I know now.

  1. Self love is unconditional, not selfish. 
  2. Self love is essential to thriving.
  3. Self love is the ultimate act of kindness we can offer ourselves.

Holding deep, unconditional love for ourselves changes the way we think, feel and make decisions for ourselves and our lives. In practice, self love is forgiving ourselves, knowing the light and darkness in ourselves and accepting them equally. Self love is speaking up for what we need, want and deserve and not tolerating a darn bit less. It’s celebrating ourselves, being kind to ourselves, and believing in ourselves.

We are mirrors for everyone around us. As we practice self love, that love we hold for ourselves becomes the lens of forgiveness, beauty, celebration, kindness, and belief that we share with the people in our lives. Imagine how this type of self-love could change your life. Imagine how it could change the world! 

Here are three of the questions I offer in my life coaching practice to help my clients develop awareness around self love:

  • Who’s first on your list of the people you love?
  • How are you practicing self-sabotage?
  • How are you practicing self-love?

*If you’re ready to cultivate self-love for yourself and thrive in your own life, let’s talk

Understanding Your Self Narrative

Understanding Your Self Narrative

Do a quick inventory of the people who have played a significant role in your life. Have you ever stopped to think about whose voice is in your ear, impacting your choices and behavior? Which did you listen to when your chose your path after high-school? How about when you chose your career? Which one shows up in your relationships? Which one tells you what type of parent you should be? Which one judges you? Which voice do you turn to for approval? Which one do you try to please? Whose narrative is shaping the way you see yourself and the world around you?

For better or worse, the people in our lives become part of our mindset fabric.

The experiences we have with them stick. Their voices and narratives shape our values, belief systems, patterns and behavior. They become part of our conscious and unconscious mind. We learn from them, run from them and mimic them. We try to make them proud, prove them wrong, and please them. We can spend our entire lives doing our dead level best to live up to their standards. They’re the voices of our parents, the kid who bullied us in school and our former bosses. They’re the voices of our teachers, lovers, coworkers, and friends. They are the regretful voices of our present, the relentless voices of our past and the worry wart voices of our future. All of these voices play a big role in framing our self narrative- what we believe about ourselves, the world around us and our place in the world.

Mindfulness can help you understand whose narrative is impacting you, your life and your ability to thrive.

This type of awareness can connect you with who has had and who currently has the greatest influence in your life. This awareness can help you better understand what’s behind your choices, habits, and behavior. Once you’re clear, you can choose to listen to the ones that serve you well, silence the ones that don’t and live life on your own terms. 

Here are three of the questions I offer clients in my mindfulness-based life coaching practice:

  • Whose narratives are impacting my life now?
  • Which ones do I want to silence?
  • What will change for me if I start listening to my own voice instead?

*If you’re ready to reset from toxicity, tune into your potential and thrive, let’s talk

Mindfulness, Suitcases, and The Heavy Stuff We Carry

Mindfulness, Suitcases, and The Heavy Stuff We Carry

I spent days packing for vacation. Before the big final zip, I peeked inside my suitcase. I’d thought of every scenario. My packing was ‘tight’ and I felt pretty darn proud of myself. I’d packed only what I needed, not a single thing more. I began challenging that thought and my choices as I climbed the eight flights up to our AirBnB. 

Every step forward was grueling- nearly impossible. My tidy suitcase was ridiculously heavy. What the heck had I packed? When I finally reached the front door, my energy was zapped. I collapsed from lugging that sucker around. Once I recovered, I cracked it open and realized I was carrying far more than I needed. If I’d left half of it at home, I could have traveled lighter and taken those steps a heck of a lot easier. If you’re wondering about now what my poor packing story has to do with you, and my job as a life coach, keep reading.

The Stuff We Carry

I’ve learned that lugging a heavy ass suitcase up a long flight of stairs is a lot like the baggage we carry through our lives. Think about emotions, thoughts, beliefs and feelings as things you can pack, unpack and re-pack, any time you choose. I created what I call The Suitcase Framework™ that I use in my life coaching practice to help my clients become aware of what they’re lugging around. The realizations they have are super powerful because awareness leads to action.

What I’ve Learned From My Clients

My clients have taught me that most of us are lugging around more heavy, toxic, useless crap than we realize. By crap, I mean stress, worry, trauma, anger, guilt, fear, deep neural conditioning, regret, self limiting beliefs, false narratives, negative self-talk, and doubt. They occupy the most space in our emotional, mental, and energetic suitcases. Consequently, they skew how we relate to ourselves and the world around us. 

The negative stuff we carry can manifest in a variety of ways: unregulated damaging emotions, heavy thoughts, heavy feelings, physical illness and weight that we can’t seem to lose- energy so heavy it keeps us in bed. I’ve learned the stuff we carry can compile over decades, blindly passed down from generation to generation. If left unchecked, the stuff we carry can become so damn heavy we eventually, collapse under its weight.

Mindfulness Gives Us Choices

Here’s the good news. Just  like we can choose what we pack for vacation, we hold unlimited capacity to choose the emotions, feelings, thoughts and beliefs that we carry with us through life. So why not pack the stuff that propels us and helps us thrive? You know courage, joy, confidence, forgiveness, self-love, presence, understanding, wonder, peace, curiosity, playfulness, creativity and the like? Awareness gives us choice that can lead us to action, if we’re courageous enough. Mindfulness is the gateway. Practicing mindfulness makes it possible for us to ‘be with’ whatever we discover and choose what we want to do with it. With mindfulness at the forefront, we can identify the useless crap we’ve been lugging around. We can choose to channel Marie Kondo and toss it to free up space for the energy, thoughts, beliefs and feelings that will serve us better. Mindfulness gives us the awareness we need to travel lighter through life and thrive.

Here are three of the framework reflection questions I offer my life coaching clients:

  1. What is weighing me down today and preventing me from moving forward?
  2. What am I willing to unpack?
  3. What do I want to make space for and why?

If you’re up to learn even more, tune into podcast episode 2. 

*If you’re ready to bring mindfulness into your life and pack smarter to travel forward, let’s talk. 

My Journey: From Corporate Burnout to Free

My Journey: From Corporate Burnout to Free

Corporate burnout wasn’t my company’s fault. It was mine.

I used to believe that if I took a day off, my team, my work and my clients would fall to hell in a hand basket. As my Dad fought for his life, I said yes to every meeting. “CB2, coming at you live, from the trauma ICU.”

Ego was in charge of my life and it almost killed me.

I worked 60+ hour weeks. I said yes to more responsibility and more clients in the midst of a family crisis. I spent more nights away on business than I did at home.

I said yes to ‘more’ to prove I was strong- that I was a team player, and loyal employee who belonged in her corporate role. That narrative supported my choices and rewarded my wallet. I traveled further and further away from myself. My priorities were totally f’d. I started suffering from corporate burnout mentally, physically and energetically.

I chased “success” and sacrificed the things I needed to be healthy.

I allowed my relationships, sleep, yoga, meditation, the hobbies I loved and my sacred silent time to do absolutely nothing to slowly melt away. My soul food took a back seat to “success.” I kept every ball in the air and put myself at the end of the line. I arrogantly believed the world would stop spinning if I dropped a single one. I was ridiculous.

I worked to the brink of mental and physical exhaustion.

I wound up in the hospital with blood pressure so high I was kept for two days for observation and grounded from flying. My marriage started crumbling. I became a stressed-out shell of myself. When I looked in the mirror, I saw an exhausted woman I pitied and no longer recognized. But hey, I was damn good at my big job.

Stepping away was the first courageous step I took in my corporate recovery.

Just before my proverbial bottom completely dropped out, I made a decision that totally changed my life. I stepped away and took family leave for six weeks to support my family while my Dad recovered from his life-threatening accident. It was the first step to what I call my ‘corporate recovery.’

I let go of my sassy ass ego. I briefed my team and trusted them to take over. I powered down my Mac, stuck it in a drawer and indefinitely set my phone to ‘do not disturb.’ I totally unplugged from work and social media.

I remembered that my career was only a small slice of who I was.

Those weeks reminded me that life is precious and that living is being present for life. I chose to let go of my ego, my need to control and say yes to being present in my life. Then the most amazing thing happened.  As I let go of all the useless crap I’d been lugging around, I discovered the self awareness and peace I’d been longing for.

I chose to live differently.

I slept, meditated and practiced yoga. I spent hours holding my Dad’s hand, supporting my Mom and sitting in silence doing absolutely nothing. I tended my soul. I found the presence I’d willingly surrendered. I learned the world could spin just fine without me and in that knowledge, I found the perspective I needed to heal myself, heal my relationships, and understand what mattered most. Day by day, I found my way back to myself and I started living again. I resigned two months later.

This picture represents the point in time when I realized fear is a liar that keeps us stuck, bound and hopeless. It reminds me of the moment in time that I was courageous enough to choose myself because I had the good sense to pause long enough to understand what truly mattered in my life.

This picture captures the essence of the woman who chose to walk away from a super healthy paycheck and the security of a company to live life on her own terms, without any certainty.

* I help people navigate career transition through mindfulness based life coaching. If you’re ready to start a new chapter in your own career, let’s talk.