“We’re going to have to let you go”.
The words bounced around in my head for a moment as I looked around the taupe colored office with horrible florescent lighting.
After the meaningless conversation that followed (I mean, they already had their minds made up right?), I left the office and arrived home midday to greet my wife and girls. I told Heidi what happened and we sat down and had a very involved conversation.
Have you ever been laid off from a job? These days it doesn’t seem too bizarre. In fact, it used to be a very serious thing and now it’s almost commonplace.
What happens when you lose your job? It’s a shock to the system right? It’s a big blow to your normal routine. It certainly makes your life a lot more interesting, that’s for sure.
It’s now my intention to convince you that getting laid off from a job could be the best thing to ever happen to you. To sum it up – it creates new opportunity for you.
First, it gets you out of the routine
When you have a job, you have a daily schedule you must follow right? Getting released from your job means all of the sudden you don’t have to get up and hurry off to join the rat race. Your time is yours.
Maybe there was something you’d rather be doing but your job and your happy little routine didn’t quite give you time to do it. Well, now you have that time. This leads to the next point.
Second, it gives you the chance to grow
So maybe you weren’t in your dream job. Most people aren’t. Why not go after it now? What about that awesome business idea you had? Why not use this time to start it? What about that Round-the-World plane ticket you’ve always wanted to buy? Maybe now is the time to do it.
Reinvent yourself. Anything is possible!
Third, it gives you a new lease on life
You have to have the right attitude. I believe everything happens for a reason. I can say with 100% confidence that you losing your job will only create a bigger opportunity for your life…should you so choose.
Don’t worry yourself with bills or rent or whatever. You’ll figure out a way to pay them. Just get creative. Maybe you don’t need the $200 cable bill. Maybe you don’t need the super deluxe gym membership that you don’t use anyway.
Use this time right now to start doing what it is you really want to do.
So, hopefully I’ve at least helped you start to see that losing a job is a good thing. Now let me give you some practical steps to take if/when your day of freedom comes.
Step 1: Drive Home and tell the Family
I know this one may seem obvious. Your loved ones are going to wonder what’s up when you show up in the middle of the day. But your family and loved ones are your first and best support group. If you’re married (or in a serious relationship) use this time to talk it over. If you have older kids that can understand the situation, this is the perfect time to have a family council. If you’re single and maybe family isn’t around, use your friends or roommates.
Step 2: Tell everyone you know you lost your employment
It doesn’t do you any good to keep your new-found unemployment a secret. Tell everyone. Like I already mentioned, these days losing your job really isn’t too uncommon and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Call key people and email everyone else. This will get the ball rolling.
Step 3: Spend time in prayer
Losing a job is a humbling experience. Spend time in prayer or deep meditation thinking about what got you to where you are and where you’d like to go now. I know from personal experience that you can find answers if you just ask and listen. This introspection is very important and it leads to the next step.
Step 4: Set goals based on your priorities and values
Now that you’re free from your old job, set some goals. What do you really want to do with your life? What is your ideal income source? What is the one thing you’ve always wanted to do? Chances are what you really want to do will be in line with your priorities and personal values.
For example, maybe you love to travel. Deep values for you might include learning and freedom and mobility. Priorities for you include seeing new places and learning new cultures.
Be sure to set goals that are the most meaningful to you. Ideally, it’s a goal that gives you chills just to think about it.
Step 5: Start taking action
This is the most important part of the whole process. The most successful people in life are the ones who take action. And I mean meaningful action that’s in line with your the goals you’ve established. If you want to write a book, don’t just organize your desk. Start writing the book! It must be focused action.
It seems taking action cures almost everything – lack of money, lack of relationships, lack of (fill in the blank). You’ve been given an opportunity to do something even bigger and more meaningful than you were before. Now is time to really kick start your new life. Do whatever it takes to start today.
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will”. Vince Lombardi
I’ll wrap this up by getting back to my own story of getting laid off. When I got home in the middle of the day, Heidi had a slight freak out. It lasted for a grand total of 30 seconds before her face changed and she burst out, “This is it! All this means is that a new, better opportunity is coming our way!”
And she was right. We have now carefully crafted our dream life and I’m very pleased to say we are living it. One of our primary goals is to help others also live their dream lives.
It’s possible. It’s real. Now it’s your turn.