How to make of a career setback an opportunity for growth.

If you have experienced a career setback, being fired, laid-off, passed over for promotion, or made the wrong move, you have most probably gone through the classical stages of transitioning a change: shock, denial, anger, bargaining on your future, and, hopefully, accepting the situation, and bouncing back. Only few make it through the last two stages.

And if you are going through such a process while reading this article, you’ll recognise that your struggle is in clearing the fog of anger and making sense of what got you in that situation. High achievers are more prone to not make it to the “acceptance” stage and from there move on and move up regenerated, stronger and even more successful.

Bouncing back stronger is totally possible. And it starts with resetting your mindset in ways that allow you to:

  • Put your energy and focus into exploring how you contributed to what went wrong, without falling into blaming, judging or criticising self or others,
  • Evaluating how you sized up a specific situation or reacted to evolutions over a period of time
  • Consider what would you differently ahead

This is a generative mindset – a mindset of growth. It invites you to grow out of “escapism”, which rarely leads to productive transitions, and instead to engage into a focused and curious exploration of the options available.

Sure, this focused exploration needs “quality time” to engage and recalibrate your generative intelligence for a more creative, resilient and agile approach to sizing up a new professional identity and growth pathways.

Jumping into the next opportunity is a  firm “no-no” to bouncing back for success, as you’ll tend to repeat the same patterns of behaviour and outcomes. Thinking that you’ll “figure it out” as you act in the next opportunity, is only an expensive delusion. The new job requires your best presence at day 1, which you can’t give by repressing unresolved inner fog.

Taking “quality time” – a generative pause – will help you find new meaning in your setback and in new opportunities. It will allow to reset or re-program your mindset to bounce back resourceful and resilient. High achievers have a hard time to pause in front of setbacks, denying themselves that precious source of regeneration and enhanced clarity to size the next right career opportunity. A meridian of reasons may explain your pressure to take the next appearing opportunity without taking the time to re-set your mindset for growth.

But if you want to re-imagine your professional identity and choose the right next opportunity to realize your potential, you will want to clear out the executive fog and the emotional residuals of your set back – you want to make the invisible visible, understand your blind spots and recalibrate your professional identity. For, bringing a new professional identity to life needs you to sharpen your sense of direction, your sense of purpose and the sense you make of the “moment in time” that you’ll take this new path.

Whatever the growth path you choose, getting honest and relevant feedback and professional coaching do make a difference. Even more so for high achievers.

But the one thing that will turn the situation around is your commitment to rebound.

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