Any significant change in your life can be challenging. Leaving home, your first job, getting married, a promotion or having children, all bring the need to make adjustments to your thinking and to the routine of daily life. Yet every one of these situations brings with it excitement and a sense of great possibilities. Being made redundant, or your company folding, brings a huge range of challenges and is likely to create all sorts of negative emotional feelings.

No matter how difficult the economic climate and how many others find themselves in the same boat, when you receive the news that your services are no longer required, it is for many, a body blow. It has the potential to make the person living through the redundancy feel rejected, under valued, and depressed. So many people identify themselves by what they do, rather than who they are and if you have put everything you have into your job these feelings are likely to bite even deeper.

There is no doubt that facing the thought of being in the job market when there are so many others in competition for fewer jobs and worrying about how to sustain the lifestyle your job has allowed and the impact on your family is very challenging.

There is, of course, a huge paradox. In my work with workaholics there has been an interesting phenomena which I believe may help you face the coming weeks and months with a very different perception about your enforced change of life.

When I first set up Recovering Workaholics I did some research with people who identified themselves as having a great work life balance and a life they loved. Almost without exception there had been a significant event in their lives either because of their health, relationship or because they had had to leave their work due to redundancy, closure of the organisation and so forth.

There was a common theme to all the conversations. The situation which felt like a tragedy in the first instance was actually the catalyst which enabled them to take stock of their lives to determine what was really important. I was amazed to hear almost the same words time after time, “Looking back I realise that the situation did me such a favour. My life is so much better than it used to be. I feel truly blessed that I had the opportunity to do things differently and had it not happened I’m sure I would still be working the incredibly long hours I used to or worse I’d have worked myself to death.”

Through the many discussions I had with people who had found a different way of life there were some common threads which I hope you will find helpful:

1) Don’t Panic

I can hear you saying “Its alright for you” yet panicking is a huge waste of energy which could so easily be spent on doing something really useful. You have the rest of your life ahead of you and whilst I have no wish to make light of your predicament; it is just a problem to be solved; You are starting a new chapter to your life, one which has the potential to be even better than the last. This situation offers you the opportunity to reflect on your life, to change direction if you choose and to grow.

Think about previously challenging times you have faced in your life and how you have overcome them. What inner resources helped you then? Remember you still have those resources at your disposal.

Get some help if you are feeling very anxious or cannot sleep. Coaching is a great alternative to anti depressants or alcohol. Drink and drugs do not take the problem away, all they do is anesthetise you and it is a time when you need your wits fully about you.

2) Take The Help That Is Offered

You may be used to being the person in charge, you are probably used to giving others support and advice and find it difficult to find yourself on the receiving end for a change.

New situations call for a new approach, so listen to what others have to offer, get as much information as possible and then decide what you really want to do.

Explore what help is on offer. Take note of the advice given and compare the advice from different spheres. Listen to your instinct and what feels right for you. Take control of what you decide to do.

3) Have Faith In Yourself And Your Future

The outcome will be hugely affected by your beliefs about yourself and the future. The most positive outcomes come where the person decides to focus on the opportunities this situation offers you, rather than how terrible it is and how badly treated you feel. You can choose to be in charge of your destiny or a victim to it.

Believe in yourself. If you have achieved success in one context there is no reason for this to be exclusive. You are more than what you do. You have a wide range of skills and experience which can be utilised in so many different ways. Organisations need people with confidence and a positive attitude and in times of trouble those attributes become even more vital.

Make a list of all your experience, skills and attributes. Think about everything you have to offer. Ask 5 other people to write what they see as your unique talents and skills. Compare the two lists. Do you see yourself as others see you?

4) Dreams and Aspirations

Those who dream big and are prepared to think outside of the box will expand the possibilities for their future.

This is an opportunity to open your horizons and to see the bigger picture. Have you had a dream of something you would really like to do or be? What are your passions? For once don’t let your dreams be limited by that little voice in your head.

Imagine yourself at the end of your life looking back at the life you have led. What would you like to be remembered for? What would make you feel you had lived a life of real fulfilment?

5) Consider What Is Really Important To You

For most people when the chips are down and they consider the really important things in life it is all about relationships. Relationships are what create the quality moments in our lives yet all too often we take others for granted. Consider who is important to you and why?

The relationship with yourself is the most important one you will ever have. When you love and value yourself, relationships take on a whole new dimension. Give yourself the greatest gift possible – invest in the relationship you have with yourself. If you have any doubts about your self worth and lack confidence it is time to address it. Use this change in circumstances for creating a positive relationship with yourself.

If you have no one really special in your life use this life changing moment to consider how important having someone special in your life is to you. This could be the opportunity to do something different and to create the conditions in yourself and your environment which allow you to find your soul mate.

If you have a significant partner, then consider whether you value them and how you show it to them. Involve them in your planning in a positive way. Remember that everything affects them too and that they are probably just as concerned as you are. Partners often think they are protecting their loved one by keeping things to themselves. My experience as a coach has shown that, more often than not, partners feel excluded and abandoned rather than protected and it creates a rift between the couple. If your relationship has been strained in the past, this could prove to be the lethal blow unless you reconnect with them. However involving your partner in finding the best way forward has the potential to bring you closer.

A change in circumstances gives you the opportunity to review the relationship you have with your children, parents and friends.

Time is precious and you can never reclaim it once it has passed. Many of the people I interviewed said that this was the area where they had made the most significant changes to their lives and the one which had given them the most satisfaction.


Imagine you were confronted with the knowledge that you only had 24 hours to live. What would you want to say to the people you care about so you had no regrets on your passing? Why not choose to tell them now rather than wait? Let them know how much you love and value them. Don’t waste any more time on resenting or hating people you feel have wronged you. Let any resentments or irritations go and tell them how much you love them and need them. Forgiveness is incredibly freeing..

6) Audit Your Resources

Think about the resources you have at your disposal. These come in several categories.

Personal resources – beliefs about yourself, your attitude and approach to life, physical fitness, capacity to learn, adaptability, emotional strength, sense of humour.

Create a list of all your positive and less positive resources. Understanding your strengths and areas which need development is really important if you are to make the most of your current situation.

Financial and physical resources – what resources do you have to call on and what commitments do you have


Be absolutely clear about what your assets and debts are. Do you know what it costs you to live every month? Which things are absolutely vital and which things have the feeling of being a necessity but are really just trappings. Understanding this is vital if you are to be able to make informed decisions about what your options are in the future.

Work out what is the minimum you must earn to live. If you have debts create a plan to consolidate and deal with your debts. If they are significant or if the repayments on your house are threatened take professional advice. Cut out any expenditure which isn’t necessary. Define your ‘necessary’ carefully.

7) Network of Resources
Who do you know – The network available to you through family, friends, acquaintances, work contacts, clients etc can be absolutely invaluable. The old saying “its not what you know but who you know” is very true.

Create a map of your network and the potential network that the people you know have access to. Make contact with those people who may be able to offer advice, support or further introductions.

8) Research the Options

All too often we are limited by what we currently know. Unless you are aware that other things exist it is impossible to include them in your calculations. Now I know that seems obvious but so many people make choices based on a very limited amount of information.


Over a couple of weeks look at the job sections in a few of the broadsheet newspapers. Look at every section especially those out of your normal field of experience. This exercise is all about widening your horizons rather than looking for a specific job. If something looks interesting send off for the Information Pack. Compare the Personal Spec with your list of experience, skills and attributes made in Action 3. Be open minded and curious about what other sectors have to offer.

If you think you would like to start your own business there is lots of help out there. The Government have set up Business Link and local support is available to help you consider all the practicalities. You can find lots of information at :

9) Do The Time Test

Situations which seem overwhelming at the time often seem to shrink in significance after the passage of time. I call it the mountain / molehill syndrome. It is all a matter of perspective. The significance, anxiety and pain of any situation however painful it might be at the time tends to become easier to manage as time passes. Things which make you feel as if you are climbing Mount Everest without oxygen with a full back pack and no Sherpa to guide you, feel very different when you look back on them. Huge personal growth occurs as you overcome the difficulties leaving you stronger and wiser.


Consider your current situation. In your minds eye take yourself forward in time to five years time. Imagine yourself as you will be in five years when everything which feels so challenging now, has been successfully resolved. Really associate with how it feels and what you might see or hear, in doing so intensify your sense of success and certainty that you have overcome any obstacle.

10) Look For The Gift

In any challenging situation there is always a gift. Sometimes you have to look really hard for it but I promise you it will be there. Once you find the gift your perspective about the situation becomes very different – so much more positive.

My life changed after a ski accident in 1983. There have been periods in my life when I have been wheelchair bound. I have learnt to walk three times, once as a baby and twice after failed back surgeries. I can now walk around the house but still need to use a wheelchair when I go out. Now I would be lying if I told you that I would much rather be in a wheelchair than dance a salsa, yet I really value the gift that living with a disability has given me. I have far more empathy and patience and I notice so much more than I did when I was rushing about on two legs. I have become a great problem solver and I have met some incredible people and have developed the capacity to see the ridiculous in most situations

However you decide to handle the next few weeks and months is up to you. If it lies within your power to change things then you can choose what to do but if something is outside your sphere of control, remember it is your choice how you react to and deal with it. The choice you make will impact hugely on the way things turn out.. You can be the victim or the victor it is your choice.

Author's Bio: 

Gina Gardiner is one of the UK's leading Leadership Coaches.
Gina supports people at individual or organizational level to develop confidence, leadership and people skills. Gina is the author of two books “Kick Start Your Career” and “How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively and is also a Neuro Linguistic Master Practitioner and a qualified coach.
To download her free management ecourse, visit