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How to Stay Positive During Downsizing
by Diane DiResta

Downsizing has become a fact of life. Sooner or later you may be on the receiving end. While the loss of a job can be scary and sometimes painful, you can turn a negative situation into a positive period of growth.

Look for the opportunity. In every challenge there is a gift. We often stay in unsatisfactory jobs until the universe gives us a push. What are you now available to do? Start a business? Change careers? Go back to school? It's time to get off the treadmill and take care of you. You've been given a gift.

Introspect. This is a time to look within and to learn from the experience. Why was your job cut?

Did you forget to promote yourself and your talents? You can now learn networking and political skills.

Could your relationship with your peers or manager be better? Work on your interpersonal skills.

Were your abilities becoming obsolete? It's time to upgrade your skills.

Did the entire company go belly up? Next time learn to read the warning signals and prepare a proactive job hunt.

Be flexible. People may remain out of work because they want the same title, salary, or industry. Be open to new possibilities. If the salary is lower, can you negotiate a sign on bonus, a six month review, better benefits, flex time? Go outside your industry. Try something new. Take a risk. You may have to take a step back before you can move two steps ahead. Keep your eye on the long term goal.

Revamp and repackage. You now have time to focus on you. Think of yourself as a package of skills, not a job title. How would you like to reposition yourself? It's often difficult to get out to the box especially in secretarial/administrative jobs. Don't let others define you anymore. Work with a counselor to revamp your resume. You decide where you want to go next.

Reenergize. Do something to make yourself feel good. Right now! Today! It's important to get the energy moving so that you don't feel stuck. Get a massage. Go for a walk in the park. Play with your pets. Read a juicy novel. Spend more time with family and friends. Practice excellent self-care. Make play a part of your day.

Honor your feelings. A job loss is like any other loss. There is a grieving process with predictable stages of emotions. The stages range from shock, disbelief, anger, rationalization, and acceptance. Don't stuff your feelings. Talk it out, journal, feel your emotions. Releasing feelings will move the energy forward.

Get physical. Be sure that physical activity is part of your daily routine. It's an outlet for emotions and releases endorphins (feel good hormones) throughout the body.

Dream and visualize. What the mind focuses upon, grows. Are you picturing lack or do you imagine abundance? Create a treasure map on paper of your ideal job situation. Cut out pictures and paste them on a large sheet of paper or poster board. Look at it daily. See what you want in your mind. Believe you will get it.

Watch your Language. What does your self-talk sound like? Do you say to yourself, "I can't find a job?" Change it to "I am attracting abundance." Your thoughts and words are powerful forces of creation. To discover your true beliefs, tune into your language. If your words are negative, catch yourself and say "Cancel." Then replace the statement with positive language.

Find positive people. If friends or family make you feel negative, don't debate with them. Share your ideas and dreams with people who support you. Ask a friend to be your buddy to hold you accountable for your goals. Ask your supporters for what you need. It may be a kind word, a pat on the back, or a resource. ( Many churches and synagogues offer free career support groups)

Examine and align your values. Most people are in the wrong jobs. The mismatch is usually not a skills gap but a mismatch of values. Is a caring and harmonious environment your top value? Then you probably won't be happy on Wall Street. Do you most value independence and autonomy? You'll never thrive in a large, bureaucratic organization. Identify your four top values and align them with your next job.

Give up the guilt. There is no failing, only learning. We are here to live and learn to grow spiritually. The job is only the earthly medium-the stage where we play out our roles. YOU ARE NOT YOUR JOB! You lost your job. So what? Your work is not who you are. It's what you do. And you can do something else, somewhere else, with somebody else. If in losing your job, you lost your identity, that's not the company's fault. You lost yourself along the way. You're so much more than your job. Move on. Celebrate you.

Meditate. Ten minutes a day of meditation will center and ground you. Focus on your breathing to connect with your spirit. In time, you will be guided by your intuition. You will start to hear your inner voice. Unless we learn to quiet the mind, our inner voice becomes static.

Laugh. Yes. Laugh in the face of fear. It's your greatest weapon. Fear causes the muscles to contract and the mind to shut down. Rent funny movies. Go to a comedy club. Share funny stories with friends. You'll feel good and gain a new perspective.

Being out of work isn't fun but it doesn't have to be traumatic. You're not alone. When you're in the darkest part of the tunnel and can't see where you're going, keep moving forward. The light is right in front of you.

Copyright Diane DiResta. All Rights Reserved.

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