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career change

As an Executive Coach, I see disappointing changes in people’s careers and lives all the time.

The promotion isn’t happening. The company is making you transfer to a new city. The new job didn’t work out. The restructure of the department means your role is changing.

All of us have likely experienced at least one of these scenarios. In the moment, we feel traumatized by the news and our emotions run in circles trying to resolve (or come to terms with) a “new normal.” We can’t help but take it personally, because in reality we are experiencing a loss.

On top of that loss, most changes come with additional unwanted changes. For example, not getting a promotion also means delaying your plans to buy a new car. Moving away means leaving friends. A change in workplace role means dissolving your old team. We could go on and on.

Businesses go through this as well. Companies win new clients and lose established clients simultaneously. Those changes often effect the workforce and workplace culture.

The point here is this – you are going to FEEL IT.

But all too often I see people stuff their feelings down, not allowing time to grieve. This ultimately makes it harder to move forward.

So what’s the best to navigate your way through tough changes? You must PROCESS IT. Here are three simple, helpful steps you can use to let yourself feel the pains of change in a positive way.

1. Cry it out.Not everyone would admit to doing this, but simply letting your emotions go is proven to help clear one’s mind and release the pain you are feeling. It’s healthy for your physical body as a form of relief. In fact, I’ve known people who end up shedding a tear or two while getting a body massage! Physical, emotional release can help relieve the pain so that you can think clearly about your next steps.

2. Talk it out. Years ago visiting a counselor had a bit of a stigma. But meeting with someone consistently to verbally process things has become a human best practice! Everyone needs a safe place to sound off. Of course you can do this with a loved one, but sometimes it’s great to talk with a person outside your situation.

3. Write it out. Some people communicate best through writing. Sometimes drafting a letter you will never even send is healthy, allowing you to truly vent. You can say anything you want without holding back. You can even direct your letter at someone who it may not be appropriate to confront in real life.

The danger of holding in grief is that it ultimately comes out as anger, bitterness, or a complete shutdown to everyone around you – often people who could actually help you through the process. If you have trouble with looking back at “what could have been” rather than what opportunities lie ahead, then you may need to let yourself grieve. Because you can’t hold on to the past while moving forward.