DEAR KRISTIN: I was recently laid off from my job. I’ve had about a month to pick my jaw up from the ground and process some of my initial shock and anger, but what’s moving inside of me now is equally painful: I have lost my purpose. I no longer feel relevant. I refuse to sign my letter to you “IRRELEVANT,” so I’ll sign it, instead, as “HOPEFUL.”
DEAR HOPEFUL: I want you to go back and read the words you wrote to me again. Then read them one more time. Then one more time after that. There is one word within your letter that will help propel you through this pain, and it’s the very last word you wrote: “HOPEFUL.”
What you have experienced is not just the crushing crisis of job loss but the resulting crisis of confidence that follows such a major trauma -- two separate and distinct challenges that are closely (and dangerously) intertwined.
Honor the integrity of them both. Feel your feelings in all of their fullness -- the shock, the anger, the humiliation -- but don’t stay stuck within them because they will deplete you. Emotions like this can get greedy.
The fact that this beautiful word called “hope” still lives within your heart is, well, it is everything. Let it linger there and comfort you. But set a target for yourself -- identify and delineate an achievable deadline -- for when you begin to transform and manifest your hope into something new: Action.
The thing about the word “hope” is that it is not just a noun, it’s an action verb -- just like “love.” We can’t afford to simply let hope (or love) just linger in our hearts. Lingering is not enough. We must push these words into action. So get out your jumper cables, Beloved, and jump-start your hope. Transform that hope into action. A few suggestions:
Beyond the mechanical process of setting up interviews and reaching out to prospective employers, you must also feed your soul and nurture your psyche, for both have been damaged. Remind yourself every day (every minute, if necessary) that you are worthy, deserving, and of value. Say the words out loud if the spirit moves you. Write them down on a sticky-note so that they’re the first thing you see when you wake up every morning. No matter what else happens around you, hold fast to the knowledge that you are uniquely blessed and marvelously gifted.
Make sure this is the mindset that lives within you; it will show when you walk into that next interview. A healthy mindset must be your coat of armor. Prospective employers pick up on self-doubt; it carries a scent that can easily be sniffed out.
Our setbacks end up being our victories if we train ourselves to rightly relate to them. Trauma is inevitable. It’s our ability to transform that trauma into something more productive that will deepen our character and expand our vision. Keep feeding that hope that lives within you. But don’t stop there.
Transform that hope into actionable behavior.