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

by | Apr 17, 2023 | Mindfulness

Lay-offs seem to be happening all over the place. 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 been (or may be) laid off, I want you to know this. Your layoff may be one of the best gifts you ever got. Mindfulness can help you realize it. 

Whether you love your job, tolerate it, or flat out dread going into work, if you’ve been laid off, it was likely jarring. It forced you out of what you know. Now, 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 the workdays 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. 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 reset, my clients learn:

  • 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.

Cole Baker-Bagwell

Master Certified Professional Coach

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