Based on recent news out of General Mills, the holidays may not be so merry and bright, or—if you prefer—the charms not as lucky for some employees. An announcement was made that upwards of 600 jobs would be eliminated over the next several months as part of a restructuring strategy aimed at streamlining operations for the cereal giant. It’s important to note the move comes as part of a larger reorganization strategy that’s been in the works for years. In fact, before this latest announcement, more than 3,000 jobs had already been eliminated as part of the same initiative.
Maybe you or someone you know has been directly affected by the layoffs at General Mills, or maybe you find yourself quite unexpectedly seeking your “next great adventure” as part of some other organization’s shift in strategy or organizational initiatives, or maybe you just perpetually worry about losing your job. Here are a few tips to help you shift your mindset and embrace the opportunity:
Don’t panic. Yes, be sad, mad, shocked, disgusted—feel all the feels, except panic. When you panic, your brain shifts into primal mode and you start operating from pure emotion. In other words, the tail starts wagging the dog and logic goes out the window.
Put the inner critic in its place. Depending on the circumstances of your newfound freedom, you might be feeling particularly low and susceptible to an overwhelming sense of failure. In which case, your inner critic gets really loud and kind of hostile. Never heard of an inner critic? It’s there. We all have it—that voice of doubt that keeps you from moving forward and trying new things. It’s the source of self-limiting beliefs and painful judgment. Your inner critic is rooted in someone else’s point of view, not your own. Spend five minutes in silence and listen to the voice in your head (if you hear more than one, this blog may not help you). If it’s calling you a loser, a fraud, or a failure or in any way suppressing your sparkle and ability to think about the possibilities, that’s the inner critic. So call it out! Literally. Tell him/her, “I see you, IC. No room here for you. Quiet down.”
Focus on your point of view. Once you identify the inner critic and subdue that voice, you’re most equipped to focus on your own point of view, which is the basis for a plan of action. To define your point of view, ask yourself questions like: “What is the one thing that matters most here?” “What do I know to be true in this situation?” “How have I handled setbacks in my life before? What worked? What didn’t? What do I wish I’d done differently?”
Redefine your future. You’re calm, you’ve slayed the inner critic and you were able to tap into your actual point of view. Time to figure out what’s next. You have space now, so take up that space. What are the possibilities and opportunities open to you now that you could not have imagined before? What are your unique selling points? What are your core values and how would you like to bring them to life professionally? What skills and interests can you bring to the surface in your next act? What did you love in your previous position that you want to carry forward? What are you relieved about as related to losing your job? What can you do with that information? This is your chance to either define you or redefine you if your old definition just doesn’t work for you anymore.
Send your old boss a thank you letter. So this is one to not take too literally. But if we’re talking about shifting your mindset and aligning to your reality, this final step is better suited somewhere at the top of the list. The quicker you can shift into seeing this setback as an opportunity in disguise, the sooner you can shed any feelings of resentment or confused sense of “why me?” Quite simply, you will accelerate your ability to grow into your new reality and start defining a new norm. So while I’m not saying to actually draft a thank you letter for being fired, approach things as if that were part of your endgame. What stories would you want to share in that thank you letter? Who are you becoming? What problems are you solving? Who are you inspiring? What minds are you blowing and how? Start with the thank you as a way to craft a vision and roadmap for what’s next.