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Turning the Pain of a Layoff into Progress & Growth with Reflection

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

The latest wave of high-profile layoffs has left people understandably anxious. If you’ve been laid off, you’re not alone and probably still processing. Even if you haven’t and want to help others, here are my top tips to reset and recover.

1. Process

Trying to soothe your anxiety by finding another job right away can be tempting. But it’s essential to take a step back and give yourself time to process what happened. Schedule regular lunch or coffee dates or walks with friends to maintain connectedness after a layoff. These activities get you out of the house and outside and cultivating friendships - which is essential when you no longer have hours of interactions with others daily. It can be a struggle to get out the door, I know. Just do it.

2. Boost your self-worth

Being laid off can feel brutal, especially if other co-workers have managed to keep their jobs. It can be a jolt to your self-worth. Honest reflection on your skills and focusing on your previous success will help you rebuild the confidence that being laid off can strip away. Check into strengths assessments (I like the CliftonStrengths one best), complete a few, and start to remind yourself what you uniquely bring to the table. In addition, connect with people you worked with in the past who can remind you of the superpowers they appreciate in you.

3. Figure out what you want from what’s next with reflection (the most important step)

Reflect on your career and analyze what you liked and didn’t like about all your previous roles. This can help you to figure out your next steps. Ground yourself in what you want next. Carving out time to focus on reflections like these ensures that you use this time to create progress instead of ruminating (something I used to get VERY caught up in – sometimes for way too long!) on what went wrong. Doing this allowed me to redefine what I think of as success and has led me in directions I never thought I would have the courage to take! Who knew I could pursue the type of "traditional" work I love AND help others too?

Check out this podcast from Jay Shetty on mental strength and his suggestions to get your reflection juices flowing. It’s from 2020 but has important messages for us today as well. One of my favorite quotes from it is, “Pain plus reflection equals progress.”

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