7 Tips to Turn Career Breakdowns into Career Breakthroughs

Photo by Brandon Brown on  Unsplash

Photo by Brandon Brown on Unsplash

If you have ever experienced a job loss or have been looking for a new job or career for a while, all to no avail, you know how disheartening and frightening that uncertainty can be. In today’s post, I’d like to offer up a few reminders and suggestions on the mindsets and actions to consider, not only to survive such a setback, but to use it as a springboard to thrive and shift the trajectory of your career.

I’m sure the expert recruiters and seasoned professional among us have many specific suggestions on how you should go about launching an effective campaign to find a job. This post is not intended to get into the nuts and bolts of the process, but to strengthen your resolve and keep you at your best as you go about your search. The ideas presented here have worked for me and many others I know personally, and I hope you will also consider how you may apply them successfully. I’d also love for you to share your own ideas in the comment section in hopes that, collectively, we can lift the spirits of those in our networks who dealing with a job loss situation and increase their chances of turning their breakdowns into breakthroughs.

Here are a few of my suggestions:

1.       Consider everything, including your finances and your life situation, to decide how long you can go without a job and give yourself the time to go about your job search the right way. In other words, if you can afford to take 3 months to find a job, accept that and give yourself a little breathing room to take the appropriate actions. I’m not suggesting that you just take your time. Be tenacious and do what needs to be done, but if you have a timeline in mind, you won’t wake up every day panicking and worrying and have that desperation sabotage your efforts.  As Dave Ramsey teaches in his Financial Peace University course, it is always great to put a little cushion between yourself and life and have an emergency fund that gives you the luxury of time when you experience setbacks. Even if you don't have a large amount of money in your savings, figure out a way to reduce your expenses or supplement your income by moonlighting or doing something part-time so you can stretch the time that is available to you.

2.       Decide if this is a good time to change careers and pursue something you love or if you are only open to a career that is in line with what you have been doing already. There is no right or wrong answer here. What matters is that you proactively choose the path, based on the future of your design, not based on your fears and cynicism that can arise from the job search process. If you don’t know what your passions is, research and do one of the many assessments out there that help you find out what you are passionate about. One of the better resources I used a few years ago is the book What Color is Your Parachute, but there are now others such as What You’re Really Meant to Do, Start by Jon Acuff, 48 Days to the Work You Love, and websites such as 80,000 Hours.

3.       Shift your focus from “surviving a probable negative outcome” to “thriving on the possible positive outcome.” Most people make compromises and settle for a less than desirable career just because it offers a quick paycheck. Whether you intentionally chose to make the jump or you were forced into the situation, this is your opportunity to set the bar high and persevere in finding the ideal career of your dreams, in an organization that celebrates and rewards your unique gifts, in a location of your choosing, and so on. Paint a picture of the ideal scenario without too much consideration for how you are going to make it happen. You can decide later if you are willing to compromise any of your stretch goals, but to begin with, you must think about, dream about, and dwell on a vivid picture of the ideal situation that will come out of this. I firmly believe the amount of effort it takes to try to survive is about as much as it takes to aim to thrive, and the latter is a lot more fun and worthwhile.

4.       Make a list of 2-3 negative thoughts you have about why you don’t think you will find the job/career that you are looking for. Preferably write them down by hand (or use your laptop if you must). Example statements include things like “I am too old” or “I am too young” or “the economy is terrible” or “nobody is going to hire me because I was fired from my last job” and so on. Elaborate on why you think these are legitimate concerns. Then sit down with a confidant and read your list out loud to them five times. Ask them to listen without offering any advice or feedback. I know it sounds crazy, but you will see how powerful this is if you try it. You see, the noise in your head has a lot of power over you, but when you say it out loud, especially 5 times, you will see just how absurd it sounds because most of the noise has no basis in reality. Once you go through this exercise, if you end up with an argument that still seems legitimate, accept it as a barrier you must overcome and devise a plan to do just that.

5.       Get outside of your comfort zone when it comes to networking. Be public with your search, reach out to resources who can help support you in some way. Reach out to previous mentors and bosses. Let your network know you are looking for opportunities and what kind. If you are uncomfortable with doing this, heed the words of Tony Robbins, who says, "If you can't, you must, and if you must, you can!" So, get out there and do some ninja networking!

6.       Surround yourself with positive thoughts and words. As you read this, there is an abundance of opportunities out there and you will attract the right one if you leave yourself open to it. You don't have control over the emotions you may feel, such as worry and fear, but you don't have to dwell or act on those emotions. When they show up, you can do two things: 1. Speak against them, either out loud by yourself or with a friend or coach who will let you vent but then will bring you back into a conversation of possibility; and 2. Behave your way into a new way of thinking. As in, go through your routine of reaching out to people and doing your research, etc. even while you are feeling down. Remember that your results will be the outcome of your actions, and your actions must be driven by your commitment, not your emotions.

7.       Decide how many times you are willing to fail – as in not get the interview or be turned down after an interview. Pick a number. The higher the better. Then, every time you "fail", say X down Y to go and keep moving forward. If you are counting on your next attempt to produce results and lose your momentum every time that doesn’t happen, you will be on an emotional roller coaster that will drain you, but if you accept that you are willing to fail 100 times, you will find it easier to stay the course and try again and again, and who knows, you might get there before you reach that number.

These are just a few suggestions to begin with and I hope you find them helpful in your time of transition. As I mentioned above however, I would love to hear your suggestions and your experiences with successfully navigating this stage in your career in the comments section below.

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About the Author: Amir Ghannad is an international keynote speaker, author of The Transformative Leader, leadership consultant, culture transformation champion, and founder of The Ghannad Group. He has made it his life's work to guide leaders and equip them with the tools, skills, and the mindset necessary to create extraordinary workplace cultures that deliver breakthrough results. Download his free e-book, titled 5 Practical Steps to Make Your Culture Transformation Stick by clicking here.

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Want to get in touch with Amir? Email amir@theghannadgroup.com

As always, have a great week! May you Boldly Declare, Courageously Pursue, and Abundantly Achieve the Extraordinary!

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