I’m sure the tagline reminds you of the television show “Survivor” and in today’s workplace, those who are left after the rounds of layoffs may certainly feel like they are playing the game and handling the daily challenges to win the immunity idol. Now I have not watched the show since the very first season, but I’m struck by its longevity. There is something about facing the challenge, season after season for those who are selected to play. Are you feeling as lucky?

As I read the various articles about layoff survivor “syndrome”, “blues”, “stress”, etc. once again I’m struck by the longevity of those who must engage and survive each and every round of layoffs that occur in their workplace. It cannot be easy. As one who has survived 2 layoffs and watched it occur around me, I have a deep appreciation for those who are surviving, and thriving in spite of. What I want to offer is a different take on the “outwit, outplay, outlast” proposition and let’s begin with updating the last with “outsmart”.

It’s not about being the best you can be in your job, you already are or you wouldn’t still be there! It’s about surviving the future and setting yourself up – now - for the potential (possible) chance of being involved in or having to once again survive the next round. Let me suggest that your immunity idol equals leading your career and life with a plan – with gusto!

What happens when you focus on something you truly enjoy doing? Do you zone out? Do you lose track of where you are, what time it is, how long you’ve been at it? That’s when you know that you’re onto something good! It’s a gift to be able to find your deepest desire and pursue it with abandon. What that gives you is confidence, security, resiliency and above all control. In this environment of “waiting for the other shoe to drop” you crave some level of control because the stability of the world around you is almost non-existent. Engaging in and planning for the future brings you greater control, and it’s how you win immunity and outwit, outplay and outsmart in the layoff survivor game.

As in the TV show, it’s not for the faint of heart but it is for the heart filled with courage and the desire to manifest your own destiny. I’m reminded of all the layoffs of the past and all of those who said it’s the best thing that could have happened to them. Why? Because, they now have the chance to manage and control their own lives. They got to choose what to do next, not their boss, industry or marketplace. And so what if you could do the same? What would that give you? Would you be able to sleep at night? Would you be able to concentrate better at work, know you’re building the future you most desire? How do you do this?

You begin now. You don’t wait for your boss, company, friends, or family to advise you what to do and when to do it. You begin now. Begin with what it is you enjoy doing. What is in your heart to learn, give, teach or develop? What makes you light up with joy – at just the thought of it? Think back to your childhood, what made you excited to be a kid? It could have been going on adventures with your friends. It could have been working on cars. It could have been playing video games. If you think about it long enough you’ll find there are lessons in each of these that brought you to where you are today! Let me give you a personal example.

As a child, I enjoyed teaching “summer school” to the other children on my block. I would get out my lessons from school, earlier in the year, blank pieces of paper and pencils to 2-3 of my younger little girlfriends. I got so much joy teaching them something that I knew. Yet as I grew up, I didn’t want to be a “teacher” in a school but I did want to help others learn.

As I look back over my 25+ year career in corporate America and the place I am in now, I know that little girl who loved to teach has inspired all of the positions I’ve held and the future I am creating -- inspiring others to lead their careers and lives with gusto! It is within you now and can be your immunity idol, as you plan your future.

I encourage you, strongly, take this time while you’re still employed to develop your strategy. You’re in the best position to begin to identify what it is and how you want to achieve it. In this way, if you’re ever “on the list” you’re prepared to outwit, outplay and outsmart - - survive and thrive – and ultimately win the game.

There is no better time…get started today!

Author's Bio: 

Chris Makell is The Career Transitions Specialist if you’re a corporate layoff survivor, been laid off, recently promoted or ready to leave corporate. To learn what your next steps must be in this new economy, claim your free special report, “The Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid in This New Economy”, available at HighCaliberLeadership.com