Okay MacDonald, this time you have gone too far! How can you say congratulations about something that has so much pain and stress associated with it? Don’t you understand what it is like to go through this process? Yes I do! I have gone through it with colleagues and coaching clients on many occasions and I have experienced it personally. In fact, not that many years ago my wife and I lost our jobs on the same day. You can imagine the stimulating conversations that those events inspired and if I remember correctly, I think our sleep patterns were altered somewhat. I hope the provocative title of this article doesn’t make you think for a moment that I don’t empathize with you if this is the challenge that you are currently facing. If it has happened to you, you can’t help but have empathy. It is my hope that this article will help you to position yourself for what is next.
We can see losing a job as tragedy or opportunity. There are two very different levels of energy that come from each of those two perspectives. When you’ve just lost your job you need your energy to come up with a solution. Managing our energy is critical and the thoughts we choose to focus on have a direct impact on our energy level.
Let’s focus on the opportunities.
You now have time. Do you remember what that is? You have been busy dealing with a myriad of issues and problems. One of the first realizations is that they don’t belong to you anymore. Take time! Relax. Read. Record your thoughts…Decompress, Learn, Play, Plan, Be!
In his book “The Pursuit of Wow!” Tom Peters talks about little r and Big R Renewal. He suggests that little r renewal can be done by activities like reading, listening to tapes, working with a coach, taking a course, attending a seminar etc. When talking about Big R Renewal, Peters recommends that executives leave their jobs and take six months to a year to work in the inner city or move to a third world Country. His belief is that this will give the executive the ability to be a completely different thinker, leader and human being. Whether you have a year or a weekend, take as much time as you can to renew.
You can Design the rest of your life.
Assess how it has gone so far. What has worked? What could be better? Take a look at the various parts of your life and decide what you would like them to look like. Look at your health, relationships, family, recreation, spirituality, physical environment, career, money. Make a list of what you would like to do, have or be. Design what you want it to look like, not what you think it can look like. Don’t be limited by what you think is possible today. I am sure that you have heard the saying “Ask and you shall receive.” This is a powerful message. When we built the new clubhouse at one of the clubs I managed it was amazing how much the finished product was like the design. Do you have a design for your life?
Get a Clear Picture of you.
Take time to understand your values, your needs and the way you operate. Do some assessments or review the ones you have done in the past. Ask your friends or coach to give you feedback about your strengths. Often as a job has come to a conclusion it is easy to start focusing on weaknesses or “what is wrong with me”. Do a S.W.O.T. analyses. What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats? You have the opportunity to gain clarity about who you are, your passions and your competencies. Your ability to articulate this information will be key in moving you toward the right fit on the next step in your career.
See what you don’t see now.
In other words you have an opportunity to go beyond limited thinking. When I lost my job three years ago I became a Club Manager looking for a job. I read a book called “Work Less Make More” by Jennifer White. I read something that has been substantiated many times in my role as a coach. If you ask someone to tell you who they are, they will tell you what they do. When I looked at who I believed I was I found that Club Management was good fit for me in many ways, but there were other opportunities. I found a career where I could do the things I liked the best about my previous career and still stay in the geographical area that I lived in. You may be a great Club Manager or a great Yacht Club Manager or a great Small Club Manager, but you are much more than just that.
Here are some opportunities for you. You can have more balance, make more money, manage a bigger club, manage a smaller club, manage a different kind of club, manage a club with a different form of governance. You can discover a new city, province, country or continent. You can use your skills in a different industry. You can create multiple income streams. You can start a business. You can write a book. You can work less. You can devote more time and energy to your kids, your significant other or your friends. You can find out who your friends are and if one of your friends loses their job you can show them how a true friend reacts. You can have more fun, more joy and more fulfillment.
Two more opportunities!
I would like to end with two opportunities that are available to unemployed and employed managers alike. They are more evident for the person who has just lost their job but can benefit all of us.
The first one is that we can get past hate, anger and resentment. It is easy to hold on to one of these emotions when we experience job loss. We think holding on to them somehow punishes the object of our disdain but clearly it is hurting us. It can change who we are, and it sucks the energy that we need for things that matter. For more information on this I encourage you to go to the library section of my website and read the summary of “Life Strategies” by Dr. Phillip McGraw.
The second opportunity is to be accountable for all that you have in your life, the good and the bad. If you have lost your job don’t be a victim of it. Take ownership for what happened. Take ownership of how you handled or didn’t handle things. Take ownership for not paying attention to the signs you saw. Take ownership for tolerating some of the things you tolerated. There is weakness in being the victim and power in being accountable. It is my hope for you that you take on this personal power. The last thing that I want for the people I work with is that they recycle the same behaviour in the next opportunity. Own what happened and be in control.
I would like to share with you a lesson I learned when I lost my job as a club manager. One of my colleagues, whom I admired and held up as role model, called me to say that if I needed anything I shouldn’t hesitate to call. I truly needed his help and didn’t ask for it because I didn’t want him to know I needed it. Please don’t let your ego get in the way of getting what you deserve in life. Asking for help can be a display of strength as opposed to being seen as a weakness.
There is no doubt that a job loss will change your life. If you focus on the opportunities that you have I believe your life will be changed for the better. And to that I say, “Congratulations!”
If I can help you get through this exciting challenge, ask!
Kevin MacDonald is a principal of Clarity Success Coaching, a practice based in the Vancouver area. He does one-to-one coaching as well as programs with Management Teams and Employee Groups. He has served as Club Manager at Quilchena Golf and Country Club and Northview Golf and Country Club, both in the Vancouver area.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel:(604)-507-1288; Fax: (604)-507-1289.