5 Plays for Staying out of the Victim Zone

You’ve been laid off from your job and it doesn’t feel good.  Of course it doesn’t!  There are lots of fears and concerns that it brings up and you are experiencing a lot of uncertainty about what is next and how you will ever afford to do X again.  You didn’t have any control over the decision, you no longer belong in an organization or in a workgroup, it is embarrassing to say at social gathering that you have been laid off.  And  your status has definitely been impacted by the circumstances which didn’t seem fair, especially in light of the fact that you have always gotten great reviews and made a significant contribution to your employer. 

Much of what you are experiencing is also a chemical reaction in your brain that has been triggered by what you brain perceives to be threats to your survival, as though a tiger just walked through the front door and is circling you and licking his chops!  

A few years ago I decided to leave my job in a highly congested northeast urban area and move to a place that has palm trees and tropical breezes.  I even negotiated a year long project to bridge the gap and to give myself time to find a job.  But my brain didn’t like the notion of not slogging to the office every day.  Every morning I woke up feeling sick in the pit of my stomach and thinking that I would never ever recover from this stupid decision that I had made to cut off my income and my professional future! 

So there are 5 ways to deal with your brain in this matter.

1.  Wallow in your misery.  Really wallow.  Decide how long you are going to give yourself full permission to wallow.  Get in the hot tub if you have one and wallow. Moan and groan and bellyache about how horrible you feel.  Don’t resist the feeling.  Celebrate how miserable you feel!  Throw yourself a pity party!  And when you reach the end of the time you set aside for wallowing, stop. 

2.  Take deep breaths.  Shake off the stress.  Go for a walk and get the blood flowing back to the brain and the oxygen to all of your extremities.  As the cortisol and adrenaline levels in your blood drop, you will feel a wave of relief come over you and your clearer thinking will return! If you meditate, or pray or just like to close your eyes and listen, do that for a few minutes and just take in the silence.

3.  Pull out the list of your accomplishments.  Think about the successes and recognition you have received from various sources in your life.  Your children – better yet, your grandchildren, old friends, colleagues, old people and young people.  Think about who you would like to thank for supporting you in your accomplishments.  Contact them and say thanks.  Spend the day reflecting on all of the contributions you have received from people, the support you have gotten and how grateful you are to have had these people in your life.  And then share that with them. 

4.  Picture yourself in a peak moment.  A time when you have felt on top of the world. It was a time when you knew that others looked up to you.  You have some certainty about the future and you know that you have the power to make decisions that will connect you with people that you trust and respect and that trust and respect you and will treat you fairly. Picture your surroundings.  Where you are physically? What geographic location you find yourself in? Who are you with?  What are you doing?  What colors do you see?  What smells are present? What sounds surround you?  What are you feeling in this delicious moment?  Think about something really excites you, something that does not recognize the boundaries of time, money, training or education.  Just let those images flow and take in everything that is now available to you without those constraints.  When you come back to the present, write down what you saw, draw a picture of it or find a picture which could represent the situation or the feeling from the situation and tape it to a mirror you look at everyday. 

5.  Call someone you trust and tell them you just want to share the experience you just had.  Request that they give you some feedback after you paint the picture for them.  Ask them for their view of what it could be.  Maybe they can help you fill in the picture and bring more of the details into perspective.   Jot down as many of the things that showed up for you in your visualization as you can.  Just list the things that caught your attention.  This picture could point you in your new direction so come back to this list often and incorporate the pieces into your day whenever you can. 

You have begun to create new pattern in your brain and this is good.  The brain does this very easily and with practice and remembering the images and the worlds and all of the things that appealed to your senses. 

I am off to the beach during my lunch break to find a few sea shells myself!  And my life has never been better!  What did you picture for yourself that you could add back in to your day today?

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