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What I learnt about being made redundant

by Charlotte Elmer

Being made REDUNDANT. Just saying those words out loud helped. REDUNDANT. No longer needed or useful. Pretty harsh when you read the dictionary meaning.

This was the situation I was in late last year.

Although I had a gut feeling something was going on in the business and much change was happening, I don’t think anything quite prepares you for when it happens.

I am now 9 months the other side of the redundancy and I can honestly say it is best thing that happened to me, let me tell you why…

As much as I enjoyed and was driven to succeed in my previous role there was part of me, I was quietening down. The entrepreneurial part of wanting to set up and have something of my own. By that I mean my own business.

I never felt quite ready, or should I risk leaving my well-paid job and the social and work network I had made. And all the other excuses I told myself.

As much as I had to deal with the emotions of anxiety and at times depression – worrying what was going on at my previous employer it stood me in great stead that when I MADE the decision to move forward, I felt incredibly strong, resilient and forward looking.

The past emotions soon went and with the help of a friend who is a Coach, who put their arm out to me to help me become clear of the Goals I wished to strive for in the next part of my life.

My Coach worked with me to visualise my ideal job and connect with what I really wanted out of life. It turns out this was the very opposite of the Director title I had worked so hard to achieve.

Instead, I realised I wanted to work for myself and I didn’t want to wait much longer to do so.

My Coach also encouraged me to deepen my understanding of my fears and belief systems. I soon realised I wasn’t as confident and strong-minded as I thought I was. I discovered I needed validation from others. On the other hand, working alone meant I would run the risk of not getting positive validation from anyone – and also failing publicly – which is why, although I’ve known for some time that I wanted to try my hand at writing articles and sharing my experiences, I had actually been too scared to put myself out there. Until now.

She encouraged me to look at what excites me – most notably my love of working and helping others improve and lead their best lives.

I was asked to think big and visualise my ideal work day. It went a little like this: wake-up, work out or walk, prepare an evening meal, consult for a business, coach private clients, social media updates, spend quality present time with my family.

I found these question and visualisation techniques really helpful as all roads led back to my being in control of my own destiny and how I chose to run my working day. This all helped me fine-tune my focus going forward.

Positive ‘procrastination’

‘In our modern society, there is so much pressure to adapt very quickly that we can feel incredibly anxious and judgemental about ourselves if we don’t leap to a new position and change instantly,’ said Eyes Wide Opened psychologist and career coach Julie Batty. ‘We call our natural adjustment; our pause to consider and survey the altered terrain of our lives, “dithering” or indecisiveness, but I think it’s a powerful opportunity to take stock.’

By understanding more about positive procrastination, it made sense that even though I had put in all the work I had in figuring out my next steps, I still couldn’t muster the energy to push forward.

My Coach helped me understand that the Positive procrastination I was experiencing was in fact my subconscious and conscious minds taking time to adjust and process my new circumstances.

My Coach encouraged me to give myself time to let my changed focus lay foundations in my psyche. I quickly realised that perhaps this ‘threshold’ was actually a safe place for me to be in that moment. It gave me time to analyse my options, figure out if I had any potential allies or mentors to help me and work out what my hurdles might be and how to overcome them.

Moving on from redundancy

The opportunity to share my hopes and fears with professional coaches without judgement meant I was able to get valuable feedback to help me progress. It felt like a death: for so long I had blindly followed my plan without question and, although I now believe being made redundant was the best thing that could have happened, it has taken me nine months to process this big change.

The sessions helped me understand myself and put my fear of failure into perspective. Learning to be patient has been key; learning fearlessness is even more beneficial. I had been resistant to change because of my fear of the unknown but, by letting go and being open to new possibilities, I have made great strides.

I’ve also learned to share my dreams with others. You would be surprised how many people want to help you reach your goals!

There were moments when I yearned for the security of a contractual job with a pension and paid holidays – but then I realise I’m having too much fun being my own boss, saying yes to unexpected opportunities and, ultimately, building my brand – which is exactly what I always wanted to do.

Are you coping with redundancy?

If your coping with redundancy and need support to help you move forward please get in touch.

I spoke to a Coach and got help and it was the best thing I ever did.

Keep smiling however hard it is, always…


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