lost your job

What Would You Do If You Lost Your Job Tomorrow?

By early September 2023, the total number of tech layoffs exceeded those of 2022. According to Layoffs.FYI, the running total from January to the end of August is  224,503.

No one reading this article and working in tech. has gone unscathed. What if you couldn’t go to work tomorrow? What if this has already happened to you? Who will you become if you work as a creative leader, design manager, principal, or individual contributor is unavailable?

Keep on Going?

Would you keep doing what you’ve always done and look for another position that leverages your skills?

Would you brush up your resume, rewrite your LinkedIn profile, point out your wins, and play down your age and experience to compete?

Retreat to Your Cave?

Or would you take a deserved rest, insulated from the fast-paced, rapid-growth corporate life you led? Would you hit pause on things you had been “doing” and become a human “being” again?

Going into the unknown with no job, paycheck, boss telling you what to do, and no lovely and annoying colleagues to bother you is scary.

Not needing to wear business clothes or the trappings of work attire is a huge change that feels incredibly rocky initially, as many of us discovered when COVID-19 forced us to work from home.

If you had complete control over your calendar but no apparent reason to fill it up, who would you “be” then?

Change Brings Feelings of Vulnerability

When your routine is impacted, you’re left feeling vulnerable. It leaves you open to making decisions you wouldn’t have considered when you had a busy job. The recruiters on LinkedIn you ignored when you were employed now get your attention, and you feel flattered and hopeful when you see them calling.

You now consider positions you wouldn’t have entertained before. Didn’t Anthony Bourdain recommend Singapore as a great place to live?

Only Time Will Tell

The longer you go without a regular paycheck, any familiar job title seems doable, even when you know it’s not a good fit. You tell yourself to suck it up. Of course, you can muscle through it.

You can’t be a massive success at the next job until you’ve processed the baggage you picked up from the last gig or the one before that!

A rite of passage must occur before you can start anew and thrive. If you want to merely “survive” at the new gig, sign on the dotted line. But to “thrive” in the new gig, you must acknowledge what happened before and release yourself from its damaging clutches.

For example, if you bring your anxiety about conflict in the workplace to your new role, guess what? Those exact fears will rear their head in the new gig. Only this time, it could be much worse. It isn’t until you’re willing to look at the issues surrounding your fears and see the wisdom and damage your beliefs are having that you will see another way of operating and step back into the flow again.

How Long Will a Career Transformation Take?

Being unwilling to stop and change your beliefs around what isn’t working will, over time, lead to career stagnation. But having a coach listen and ask questions lets you break free and loosen the grip your fears hold over you.

Your work is essential to you, so you’re willing to challenge yourself to raise your bar and standards so you can naturally step into greatness. If you’re inspired by the possibilities of knowing the future you want to create is, in fact, possible, contact me at sally@clearchannelcoaching.com.

how to change career

Changing Career at 50 – Case Study

When my coach suggested I could leave corporate life and be a coach, every cell in my body vibrated with the truth of her suggestion. I was on the top floor of the Nobu Hotel in Palo Alto, looking out at the mountains. My thoughts ran to them, and they boomeranged back: Yes, that’s you!

I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like as a coach.

  • To have complete control over my calendar.
  • To pick who I worked with.
  • To be well paid.
  • To be creative, resourceful, and whole again.

I knew firsthand the value of coaching. I’ve worked with coaches to develop my leadership skills since 2006. At that moment, in Palo Alto, I realized I could become a coach, too.

Get Training

First, I was trained and certified as a Co-Active coach. I coached as many people as possible for a year for a small fee. I needed to confirm that the result of my coaching was more than just feeling good empathy and was grounded in measurable results.

In my second year, I studied business development and worked with a coach to develop an online content marketing presence that spoke to my audience. I evolved my coaching brand and launched my company, Clear Channel Coaching.

I wasn’t entirely clear where I went in the first two years. Everything I did was new and unfamiliar. I could take nothing for granted. But I persisted and put in the hours.

Practice What You Learn

Synchronicity happened as I saw clients work through challenges and find new perspectives on worn-out behavior patterns. I released the patterns of behavior that weighed me down, allowing me to accept that I could live my life as an entrepreneur instead of an employee.

The life I live today and the people I coach feed my soul. I’m relieved and grateful to be able to pull together all my skills to support others on their journey to what they want for themselves.

Now, I’m on a mission to inspire creative thinkers and extraordinary leaders to dream and think much more significantly, not just meet the dreams of their employers!

Get Support and Keep Going

If you can dream it, you will create it!

  • It IS possible to have the freedom to work from anywhere, pick who you work with, and control your time.
  • It IS possible to make money doing what you love and make a difference in other people’s lives.
  • It IS possible to combine your passion and purpose and be creative, resourceful, and whole again.

How do I know these things are possible?

Because I’ve done it and helped other creative leaders do it.

You are worthy of living a life that sets your soul on fire and keeps your bank account full, no?

fear of leading

Facing Your Fears At Work

Here’s the problem with fear. When our actions stem from fear, and we fear being laid off, receiving a negative performance review, or fearing conflict at work or public speaking, we are delaying the inevitable and our fear becoming a reality. Why? Because where intention goes, energy flows.

Are You In a Job Driven by Fear?

If your heart’s not in your work because you’re afraid, you won’t be happy, feel creative, or become fulfilled. It’s biological. Sadly, the energy you commit to fear, rather than joy, is working against you.

We cannot hold two emotions at the same time. “Both feelings constitute your emotional reality but can’t be felt, or experienced, to the same degree simultaneously.” according to author and psychologist Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D.

One Thing You Can Do

One way to overcome fear is to consider what will happen if your greatest fear comes true. Take a peek from a safe place at the worst-case scenario, and ask yourself, does the reality of the situation justify your fear? You may see that even if the worst thing did happen, it may not be as terrible as you imagine.

Is being laid off, making errors on the job, dealing with demanding customers, speaking in front of customers, having conflict with coworkers or your boss, or receiving a bad performance review so terrible?

If it does happen, it may point to a change that needs to occur, or it may point to an even greater fear hidden from your view.

Being escorted out the door was awkward for the people in the office who witnessed my departure that Friday afternoon. It was a unique experience where someone cried, and it wasn’t me. I could not have anticipated how devastated I felt about losing my work family, specifically the design teams I led.

People’s Greatest Fears at Work

Here’s a list of some of the big ones:

  • Being laid off or fired
  • Making errors on the job
  • Dealing with demanding customers or clients
  • Speaking in front of a group of people
  • Conflicts with coworkers
  • Conflicts with your manager
  • Receiving a lousy performance review
  • Something else….

Have you faced one of these fears?

Have your feelings about the fear limited your ability to advance your career?

How did you overcome your fear?

Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash

Have an Imposter Moment, Not an Imposter Life

Have you ever been promoted, taken a new job, or started a business and felt like a fraud? This is called imposter syndrome.

Anyone can have it. The comedian Tina Fey said, “The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re onto me! I’m a fraud!’”

Former Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, revealed, “Very few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe today that they are now qualified to be the CEO. They’re not going to tell you that, but it’s true.”

I experienced imposter syndrome while attending a daily stand-up meeting with an executive team from Yahoo! I felt like a fraud in front of this group of brilliant minds.

You know you have imposter syndrome when you discount or diminish your own abilities. It can feel debilitating when you doubt yourself. Under stress, your brain is trying to predict what action to take: flight or fight. You have to release your stress through exercise, relaxation, wellness practices, and sleep.

Left unchecked, stress will lead to impaired functioning, poor decision-making, black and white thinking, and isolation. Basically, you’ll stop doing all of the things you used to love.

No one likes to fail, to not have the answers, or feel unable to master something. Imposter syndrome is a productivity killer.

In her TED talk, Thinking Your Way Out of Imposter Syndrome, Valerie Young recommends reframing the negative conversations going on in our head by replacing unhelpful thoughts with more positive or adaptive ones. She encourages thinking like someone who is not feeling like an imposter; they know they can’t be brilliant at everything, and they are fine with that.

Practice reframing the negative thoughts to positive ones, and over time you begin to believe your new thoughts. It’s much better to have an imposter moment than an imposter life!

What’s on the other side of imposter syndrome?

  • Getting your confidence back and feeling great about yourself again
  • Being connected to yourself and the people around you
  • Feeling free to speak, be creative, and be the best leader you can be

Extraordinary leaders, like you, who shatter glass ceilings, don’t allow themselves to remain a hostage to imposter syndrome for very long. They recognize the pattern when it rears its head, and they use tools like reframing to work it out of their system.

Businesses depend on leaders to make decisions based on fact, not beliefs brought on by feeling like an imposter. If you’d like a free coaching session to discover if it’s a fit, please book a call below.

Illustration by Chris Do

lost without your team

Would You Be Lost Without Your Team?

My executive career was spent leading others, and when I lost my team, I lost myself. Creating product design teams in three countries over four years has been one of my greatest professional achievements.

When my position as chief design officer was eliminated, I was devastated. It felt like my life was slipping through my fingertips. The ladder I’d climbed and the glass ceilings I’d shattered were all gone within the span of a single conversation.

Although a new job opportunity came, which I accepted, I knew going in it wasn’t the best fit, and I left within a year.

Deep within, I knew another executive role was not the answer.

Slowly letting go of all that I knew myself to be, I reluctantly began the process of redesigning my life and redefining what leadership meant for me.

As the armor I created after losing my teams began to soften, I invited my “leader within” to step forward and speak again.

What I discovered changed my life…

You don’t need a team reporting to you to be a leader. This simple revelation helped to restore my self-identity. This revelation inspires me to coach extraordinary leaders in transition and redefines what leadership truly means.

Whether you are stepping into a new leadership role, or transitioning out of the corporate world, doing the work of leading from within is the catalyst for creating a more fulfilling life.

If you are going through a career change, my three-month 1:1 private coaching may be the perfect program for you.

Are you ready to live your life by design, activate a new set of leadership skills, and manifest the vision you truly want to bring into your reality?

If you are, please set up a quick below, and see if coaching is a fit.

Photo by Christian Fregnan

feeling like imposter

What’s on the other side of feeling like an imposter?

“Our history is on a seemingly inexorable trend toward higher levels of complexity, specialization, and sociopolitical control.”

I was reminded of Joseph Tainter’s quote whilst coaching an extraordinary leader this week. She has a PhD from an Ivy League school and 15 years work experience leading high-profile teams for a leading technology company.

She is a wife, mother, and a published author. Recently promoted, she was asked to join an executive think tank that explores the future of technology.

Among this group of executives, my client feels like an imposter caught up in this trend toward higher levels of complexity and specialization.

  • How should she communicate with senior leaders to earn their trust?
  • Are the skills that got her to the executive table enough anymore?
  • How will she learn how decisions are made or be included in the decision-making process?

When stepping into an unfamiliar high-stakes business environment like my client, you don’t know what success feels like yet. And since you haven’t yet achieved success, you feel the need to prove yourself. Under this kind of stress it’s easy to feel like an imposter and think you are a fraud.

To prevent this, Valerie Young, in her TED talk Thinking Your Way Out of Imposter Syndrome, recommends reframing the negative conversations going on in our head by replacing unhelpful thoughts with more positive or adaptive ones.

  • Instead of thinking “This is too hard” try thinking “This may take some time and effort.”
  • Instead of thinking “I’m not good at this” try thinking “What am I missing?”
  • Instead of thinking “I made a mistake” try thinking “Mistakes help me learn.”

The good news is that you don’t need to feel confident to act confident; the body doesn’t know the difference between fear and excitement. So one thing you can do is reframe your thinking.

What’s on the other side of getting your professional happiness back?

  • Getting your confidence back and feeling great about yourself again
  • Feeling connected to the people around you and yourself
  • Having the confidence to speak up and know your voice will be heard

Extraordinary leaders, like you, who shatter glass ceilings, don’t allow themselves to remain hostage to imposter syndrome for very long.

Are you interested in shedding your limiting beliefs as you step into your next level of leadership? Please book a free a free coaching call below and learn if coaching is a fit for you.

the Leading by Design Newsletter

What Is the Leading by Design Newsletter? Great question.

Leading by Design is a blog for creative leaders working in tech. It’s not a “Why You Should Use AI in Design Thinking” or “How to Hire and Retain Product Design Teams with Impact” type of blog. There are enough of those.

I write about the challenges you can’t safely discuss as creative leaders working in tech. The stories come directly from my experience leading teams at Apple, Meta, Yahoo!, and some start-ups and from the executive design leaders I coach today.

I have written about the stressful magpie boss, hateful cross-functional peers, creative burnout, the shame of job loss and survivor guilt, and the fear of becoming irrelevant in the marketplace.

I publish once a week and offer strategies to reframe your challenge so you can return to being the creative leader your team loves you to be.

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