Career Derailed, Now What?

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It takes a long time for individuals who are contending for top jobs to get over losing a job.  Some never do. It’s not just personal disappointment is is an arrow into their heart, they feel they have been denied their destiny.  The greatest prize you have wanted most of your life was close with in your grasp, you may even had the role for a short time and then puff…dust, gone and you are holding nothing.  You are rocked, concussed and as months pass you are still in shock and do not know what to do.

Once you had to be up early every morning, suited ready, sowing seeds, driving results making crucial far ranging decisions.  Now you are wondering what is on morning tv.  Once you were cheered when you were brought in a room; now people avert their eyes.  Once you were surrounded by top staff, extended invitations of honor and now you are with the “B” and “C” team.  Once you depended on loyalty; now you hope for discretion and benefit of the doubt.

As an executive coach I would diagnose you with a low-grade case of mourning.  You were rejected by people you once esteemed.  In time the ego can rebel.  You can’t get over what just happened to you.  Inside you have moments of hubris and then a twinge of self doubt.  You feel something happen when after the loss people say you should have been promoted, given the job, you feel validated, but it still doesn’t change anything.

You can look for excuses or you can look at yourself and say what role did I play in this?  You either win or you learn.  You can also understand what role others played in the outcome and acknowledge that you have a chance to build a different future. Once you own what happened and realize you have a different future, then you can start to build again and take the lessons learned and look for new connections, a group of people that need and want what you have to offer.  Once you become future focused you have a chance to see what is next for you. One thing you will need to do is reconcile the story you tell yourself about what happened.  Calibrating your thoughts into creating a new vision for a different future is key to moving from what could have been to what will be.  Surround yourself with people that believe in you and with you to help rebuild confidence and belief in yourself.

Fuel your dreams with thoughts of what could be and start again, create a new plan. The most successful people fail their way to success.  Progress is about trial and error.  There are over 30 million companies in the US.  You will never live long enough to make a contribution to many, and there is abundant opportunity.  You have to get off the bench, suit up and go out to the field, engage those who are playing, inquire what they need, evaluate what you offer, package it for them in a meaningful way and go make a difference.  Life is short and taking a gap year may be ok, taking 2 or 3 gap years is tough.

Every bit of encouragement and every opportunity comes from people.  Your goal right now should be to commit and go connect with people.  Meet them and see how you can help them, don’t go meet them and moan and plead and pitch what you want.  Instead see what they need and how you can help them.  You can do this, it is a choice.  We make choices and then our choices make us.  Today is full of opportunity so go out in this big beautiful world and see what happens.


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