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These days it’s common to hear about a friend, peer, or acquaintance who has been laid off. I can think of several people who have had this experience in the last few weeks. If it’s you, I feel for you!  As a speaker / consultant / solopreneur who is continually on the lookout for that next lucrative client and speaking opportunity (and has no plans to retire), I know firsthand that finding good work that pays well is a process.

It’s interesting to hear the first reactions and To Do Lists of someone who has been let go. Most of the time the layoff is a total shock. Or it has been a brewing possibility for several weeks. Neither scenario is fun.  When you get the pink slip, daily life is suddenly thrown off kilter. There are the feelings of “What did I do wrong? Why me?”  There is shock, anger, resentment, sadness, hurt, grief, anxiety — all kinds of emotional unpleasantness.

The next steps? Put an end to all spending that’s not necessary. Update the resume. Get (back) in touch with the network. Make calls. Send emails. Get the word out!

If this has happened to you or someone you love, these are normal feelings and excellent action items.

May I suggest you try some refreshingly different first?

Take a deep breath. Pause. And before jumping headfirst into a frantic job search, why not spend some time getting really clear on what the next amazing opportunity (and chapter) could be like for you? In other words, are you hoping to simply recreate and reclaim the exact work scenario, experience, and paycheck you were just relieved of?  Or…could there be something else out there that’s better and more in line with who you are now?

Maybe it’s the perfect time to make some shifts and recreate yourself? Maybe it’s time for an upgrade to or a change in your daily work situation? To repeat: why go after a new version of what you just had when you could put your energies into pursuing something you really want?  (I’m going to add in here that people do this in relationships, too.)

But what could that possibly be? Great question!  If you don’t know, I highly recommend you take some time to “ask and explore.”

Some journaling prompts you might consider:

  • What kind(s) of work would I really like to be doing now — and up ahead?
  • What skills, experiences, and perspectives have I gained over my life and career that I could apply now?
  • What has been lying dormant within me, ready to be utilized again?
  • What kinds of people and teams do I want to be working with?
  • What do I want my workdays and work environment to be like?
  • How do I want to feel at the close of each day? At the end of the week? Sunday night? Monday morning?
  • Do I even want to work a traditional job and schedule? What could be an alternative?
  • What have I always yearned to do?
  • Who do I need to meet / be connected to / get to know/ check back in with to help me explore and make these dreams a reality?

With all these questions don’t just describe what you think might be possible. (So limiting! That’s not for you!)  Instead, describe what you really want to be possible. Dream and stretch a little – or a lot. It doesn’t hurt to go big and tell God / The Universe — and your network — your dreams.

BONUS:  Super charge any journaling questions by prefacing them with the powerful phrase “I wonder…”  See what happens.

Related to this, I recently had the distinct pleasure of presenting a workshop to undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin. These young people were such an eager group and totally ready to learn about networking as well as designing their job searches, and interviewing! During the Q&A session at the end of our time together, one student asked: “When did you know that you reached success; that you’d ‘made it’ in your field?” (Such a fun question!)

My answer was that each time I created a Dream or Vision for myself (using a process similar to what I’ve describe for you above), I achieved it and felt like I had “made it.”  The next step was to create a new Dream, achieve it, and continue the process. Some years I made small tweaks to my Dream. Other years, I completely re-invented myself. Okay, some years were much more of a struggle than I wanted them to be! I don’t like to wallow in my setbacks, rough patches, and failures. Rather I like to say I’ve had some powerful “learning and growth experiences.”  Some of these ultimately changed my life for the better!

Each time, my network was there to support and help me. And I have done my best to return that support.

In closing, I want to say that life is ridiculously short. We all deserve to earn a good living from our work, but we also deserve to use our gifts, serve the world, and enjoy the process. What’s more, we need our friends, colleagues, and resource networks (old and new) to help us through it all.

I hope you’ll try the process I’ve describe above no matter where you are in your career. Please pass it along to someone who might need it right now.

You and they may also appreciate and gain value from reading my award-winning books The Intentional Networker (which is all about networking better, not just more) and More Than Just Talk: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Enjoy Better Conversations (the perfect resource for anyone who wants to build and polish their socialization skills and confidence).  Both are timely, highly useful reads, especially given today’s business and social environment.

Need more support as you navigate your next chapter or career search, shift, or upgrade? Interested in programs that can help?  Contact me at pattidenucci[at]gmail[dot]com.  Or comment below. And be sure to check out my website at  Lots of great resources there!