How To Survive Job Loss With Your Head And Heart Intact

Job loss is something that happens to millions every year and it’s never easy to deal with. I’ve spoken with people who feel as if their very identity is tied to their career and when the job is gone, they feel lost.

I like to think of it as having the rug pulled out from under your life and having to start over. I know it might not sound like it, but it can actually lead to bigger and better things. The key is surviving job loss without losing who you are.

Make The Pity Party A Short One

I’m sure you’ve probably heard that you should skip the pity party and just quickly move on. That’s just not realistic. We are all human and sometimes we just need to take some time to be sad and angry. I don’t think you should just bottle up all those emotions. You need to let them out. Talk to a friend or relative, write in a journal or just talk to yourself in the mirror. Take a day to throw yourself a pity party and then you’ll be ready to take the next step towards managing your job loss.

Establish A Plan To Start Over

I didn’t exactly have a good plan when I first started out on my own and my guess is very few people have any kind of backup plan in place for the possibility of losing a job. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have the luxury of having months worth of savings either. So now, it’s not just the loss of a job, but financial security too. This stress alone can lead to depression and other health problems.

I won’t tell you to just not worry about it, but I will tell you that once you take control of the situation, you’ll feel better. On Day 2 of your job loss, sit down and create a solid plan for starting over. If you have a spouse or close friend, let them help you. Consider things, such as:

  • Current finances and bills
  • Refreshing the resume
  • How long you have to search for a job
  • Job search schedule and methods (online, classifieds, cold calling, etc.)
  • Possibility of short term part-time work to tide you over
  • How to use any benefits from your past employer (such as free college courses, if applicable)

I want to warn you that you might start to feel the need for another pity party as you write out your plan, but stick to it and ignore the urge. You’ll be grateful to have a plan in place as you start Day 3 and start working towards a new future.

Get Emotional Support

No matter what you do, don’t try to go through this alone. I tried this path myself and it didn’t work. I needed emotional support and so you do. Talk to friends, family or even go to a support group in your area. Having someone to talk to when you start feeling anxious or discouraged makes all the difference. They can also help remind you that jobs are out there, especially when you hear stories about how technology could eliminate five million jobs in the coming years.

Your support team is there to push you and keep you on track to find a great new job that will make you glad you lost this one. They’re also great for making you get out and have fun versus staying in a brooding over your situation. Remember – always make time for fun during this time.

Build New Connections

There’s no better time to build new connections than now. I’m a big advocate for social media sites like LinkedIn that help people build professional connections easily. It’s also a great platform for job hunting. In fact, 79% of recruiters hire through LinkedIn.

Work hard on creating professional profiles, joining groups and socializing online. Talk to friends, family and even old co-workers to build local connections too. The more connections, the easier it is to find a new job, which takes the stress off of you.

Create A Daily Routine

One of the things I hate most about job loss is feeling like you have no idea what to do each day. After years of a structured routine, it’s all suddenly gone. Create a new daily routine. Make job hunting your new job or if you’re able to hold off for a while, take some classes to advance your skills to prepare for a better job. The more structure you have, the easier it is to manage stress.

Stay Active And Healthy

I think losing a job is kind of like a major breakup. It hurts, it’s even a little embarrassing and you just want to curl up on the couch, watch TV and eat ice cream all day. Sadly, none of that will help.

Instead, I highly recommend focusing on an exercise regimen. Staying active helps your mood, clears your mind and keeps you healthier. You don’t have to let job loss ruin your health. After all, when that great job does fall in your lap, you want to be healthy enough to get it.

Let Go Of The Guilt

I know how easy it is to feel guilty. You feel like you’re a failure, especially if you’re trying to support a family or prove to family that you’re okay on your own. Job loss happens to the best of us. Let go of any guilt you might have. I wouldn’t want to walk around with 50 lb. weights hanging off my shoulders and neither should you.

Remind yourself that it’s not your fault. The job is gone and feeling guilty about it won’t change the situation. I’ve dealt with guilt just like everyone else. It’s only when I let it go that I’m able to truly move on with my life.

Know When Professional Help Is Necessary

As always, I’m here to help you reinvent yourself after a life altering situation such as job loss, but if you feel like the stress has taken too much of a toll on you, seek out a therapist. Sometimes severe depression seems to come on without warning after an emotional trauma and it’s always better to get help than try to deal with it alone.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Eli DeFaria

How To Build Self-Confidence When You Feel Insecure

It’s a question I hear all too often – “how am I supposed to build my self-confidence when I feel too insecure to do anything about it?” I wish there was a simple fix, so we could all feel more confident in just a few hours or days.

Sadly, there isn’t a quick solution, but I believe once someone acknowledges they’re insecure, they’re ready to take the steps necessary to start building self-confidence. It doesn’t matter how insecure you feel right now. There is hope and you can turn your insecurity around and become a more confident person.

If you’re ready to start taking this journey with me, I’m thrilled to be your guide. Let’s start with these tips for building self-confidence.

Find At Least One Thing You Love About Yourself

I’m sure you could probably fill a page up pretty quick with things you hate about yourself. I have plenty of things I don’t love about myself, but the trick is not letting those things take center stage in your mind. I want you to think carefully or go look in a mirror and find at least one thing you truly love about yourself.

Maybe you have the most gorgeous eyes or you’re an incredible cook. It’s disheartening sometimes to see how much people dislike themselves. For instance, according to Dove, 90% of women put their health at risk and refuse to eat because they don’t like their bodies. A shocking 85% of women avoid big events when they don’t like how they look.

I know the struggle, but I turned things around by starting to place my focus on the things I loved about myself. I realize it might be hard to change your line of thinking right away, but the more you like about yourself, the more confident you become.

Remember That The Media Is A Lie

All those airbrushed images, TV ads with perfect people and movies and shows that show us what we should be are all a lie. I’m not perfect and I never will be. That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with me. I have a secret to tell you – the media plays to your insecurities. That’s right. They want you to feel bad about yourself so you’ll buy their products. Stop buying into the fantasy. Focus on you and not who you think the media wants you to be.

Remind Yourself That Everyone Is A Little Insecure

I remember feeling insecure and thinking I was all alone. Everyone around me always seemed so much more confident than me. The simple thought that I must be the only one made me feel even worse about myself. If everyone else was full of confidence and living the lives of their dreams, what was wrong with me?

Once I discovered that every body feels insecure, at least a little, it actually boosted my confidence. I still had work to do, but it helped to know that everyone around me had their own insecurities. You’re never alone. Go into a crowded room and I guarantee that everyone there is insecure about something.

Work To Become Great At Something

I honestly believe that everyone is great at something. I also feel that having that one thing is a great starting point for building self-confidence when you feel insecure. If you’re struggling right now, find a new hobby to try or figure out what type of job you really want. In your free time, work on becoming great at your hobby or take classes to get the job you want.

As you make progress, your confidence grows. I see this as a way to start reinventing yourself. Once you see that you’re great at one thing, you’ll see that you’re actually great a many different things.

Meet People With Similar Interests

Building self-confidence isn’t always easy when you try to do it alone. I tried doing it all by myself, but it was the people I met who helped me uncover the steps to help change my life. I highly recommend trying to find people who share similar interests. For instance, look for local groups that do the same hobby as you. Thanks to the social media, you can even interact with people online who enjoy the same things you do.

Finding like-minded people helps you feel more confident about who you are. It’s also a good way to make new friends – friends who are there for you during your insecure moments.

Figure Out Why/When You Feel Insecure

I know you may not want to answer this question, but why do you feel insecure? My insecurity began as a child and it took time for me to see the world a different way. When you can figure out why you feel the way you do or when it began, you’re better equipped to for tackling the experiences that made you feel insecure.

For instance, if you began feeling insecure when you started dating a certain person or hanging out with new friends, it’s time to let those toxic people go.

Take Steps To Let The Past Go

I know from first hand experience that our past is often a source of our insecurities. I also know that we don’t have to live the rest of our lives chained to our past. It took me years to realize this, but once I did, I was able to start letting go of the negativity and start actively working towards building my self-confidence.

Find ways to make peace with the past and remember that it’s over. You don’t have to be the person you were in the past. Today is the day to start new.

Actively Practice More Positive Thinking

For me, positive thinking made a major difference in my self-confidence. Much of my insecurities stemmed from negative thinking. I didn’t really know anything different. Once I learned to actively practice positive thinking on a regular basis, I found my negative thoughts fading away. Do I still have them sometimes? Of course, I’m only human.

I’ll be honest, it won’t be easy at first. However, take the time to listen to your own thoughts. For each negative or insecure thought, counter with a positive one. Eventually, those positive thoughts come more naturally, along with better self-confidence.

Remember That Change Does Take Time

It takes time to build insecurities, meaning it also takes time to build self-confidence while you’re feeling insecure. Please don’t give up when you don’t immediately feel better on day one or week one. Stick with it and you’ll find that a more confident you is just around the corner. Try the steps above and don’t hesitate to reach out to me for help.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Agnieszka P

Why Life Transitions Are Hard (And How To Get Over One)

I’ve been through many life transitions and while some weren’t so bad, others were a struggle. At the time, I wasn’t sure how I’d make it through, but looking back, I’m grateful for those transitions. They’ve helped turn me into the person I am today.

That’s the thing with big transitions in life. I was terrified because I didn’t know what to expect. The last thing I was focused on was trying to get over it. It’s one of the most common issues all of us face, but these changes aren’t insurmountable obstacles. They’re just changes that you and I all have to go through to grow as people.

Why You Struggle With Life Transitions

I think we can all agree that major changes are like being blindsided by a bus doing 90 MPH. A change means you have to step outside your comfort zone. For instance, think about what it was like to go from school to job. You knew the change was coming, but you still weren’t 100% sure what to expect.

It’s that fear of the unknown that makes life transitions so difficult to handle. They seem to come out of nowhere and no one knows what’s on the other side. From something as simple as a promotion at work to something as heart breaking as the death of a loved one, it’s a challenge to go from certainty to uncertainty.

We all get used to our routines. That’s why many people stay in relationships they’re not completely happy with. They’d rather stick with what they know than risk the transition of being single again.

Transitions are a normal part of life. I know I don’t always enjoy them and sometimes I down right dread them, but I also know that I have to transition sometimes in order to make a positive change in my life. I know I never expected to suddenly be laid off, but it was actually a blessing that eventually led to me doing what I love today.

What You Feel Happens To Everyone

If you’re like me, your emotions run the gamut from excitement to anxiety when it comes to life transitions. You might be thrilled at the prospect of finally landing your dream job, but anxious about moving to new city for the job. It’s important to remember that all those feelings are normal.

I’ll let you in on a little secret – we all struggle with transition periods in our lives. Those people who seem to have it all together – they struggle too. They just hide it better. I know I actually made myself stress out more thinking I was stressing too much.

Take a look at The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory chart and you’ll see that life transitions are filled with varying levels of stress. It’s not uncommon to feel major fluctuations in self-esteem, anxiety and periods of depression. You might even feel lost and uncertain of where to go next.

The emotional overload that comes with life transitions is difficult enough to deal with. Combining emotions with the transition makes it seem like you’re trying to climb Mt. Everest in your underwear. The thing to remember is transitions aren’t trying to break us. They’re trying to make us stronger and lead us down a new road in life. Personally, I’d love it if we had a little more control over when and how we got to these new roads.

Why Life Transitions Can Affect Your Health

The stress overload that comes with life transitions isn’t always kind to health. For instance, it’s a common saying that you have a “broken heart” after a breakup. But for some people, it’s more than a saying. The inability to cope after the breakup leads to physical health problems, such as high blood pressure.

Stress loves messing with your physical and mental health. While stress is unavoidable (trust me, I’ve tried), it’s crucial to try and work through it before it takes a severe toll on you. Some common side effects of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of energy
  • Lethargy
  • Low immune system
  • Dry mouth
  • Physical aches
  • Sudden pessimism
  • Changes in appetite
  • Depression
  • Skin problems
  • Heart disease

While some of the more severe problems only occur with long-term stress, it’s kind of terrifying that stress can wreak so much havoc. All these physical and mental changes make life transitions even more difficult to handle.

Coping With Transitions And Moving On

I know first hand how difficult it is to try and deal with life transitions. Others might tell you to just get over it, but I know that doesn’t work. I had to learn to cope and battle my own personal demons with each transition. A few ways to manage the stress and make it to the other side of your transitions include:

  • Try to find a positive side. I realize this might seem impossible, but finding just one positive thing gives you something to focus on besides your anxiety and fear.
  • Stick to normal routines as much as possible. The more normal life seems, the easier it is to get used to something new.
  • Give yourself time to deal. I often tried to just hurry through transitions, but those bottled up emotions tend to come back at the worst times. Take some time to fully think about whatever you’re going through and how you truly feel about it.
  • Talk it out. It’s way too easy to get in your own head. I can’t tell you how many circles I’ve went in in my own head trying to talk to myself. It’s better to talk to someone you trust or a professional.
  • Continue to take care of yourself. For major transitions, you might be tempted to do things that take away the pain and stress, such as drinking or overeating. Make a conscious decision to put your health first. Stress is difficult enough to deal with, but adding more problems to your life won’t help at all.
  • Create a step by step plan. You can’t tackle a transition all at once. Sitting down and creating a step by step plan of how to get through things is a great way to take control over a situation that seems to be controlling you.
  • Imagine the future. I had a hard time seeing beyond the present at first. All I could focus on was what I am going to do now. The best way to cope is to look beyond the present and see what your future could be. Think positive. This gives you a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

The most important thing to do is realize this happens to everyone. Odds are, someone you know has been through something similar. Talk to them. Remember, it’s also okay to talk to a professional that will help guide you through difficult transitions and find a better you on the other side.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Avel Chuklanov