One of life’s most difficult transitions is the sudden loss of one’s source of stable income and health insurance as a result of a layoff. This is compounded when it happens before your planned retirement date, because you are not quite ready to have financial independence and the lifestyle you wanted. You come to the realization that your lifelong career has possibly come to an untimely end in a very unceremonious way.
A justified feeling of despair
The feelings that come up are of despair, frustration, anger, and fear. It is a grieving state where often you may ‘toss in’ the cards and simply give up. This is quite understandable and even justified. It is absolutely normal and acceptable if you feel that way.
But you have to come out of that state or you will be stuck there for a long time. You have to be resilient and move on. What has happened is part of the cycle of change.
Anabolic and Catabolic Energy
How you react or respond to drastic transitions such as the loss of your job is dictated by your energetic makeup, which includes all the thoughts, feelings, and emotions you have at the time, plus all that has transcended in your life up to that moment. This energetic presentation is a mixture of anabolic and catabolic energy.
Anabolic energy is constructive, expanding, fueling, and growth-oriented. It helps you move forward and to accomplish positive, long-term goals. Over time, anabolic energy heals or builds us. This is the energy that drives the higher levels of consciousness. It sustains your resolve to achieve what you want to do, to care for others, to reconcile and to see everything as an opportunity, and to transcend judging experiences as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
Catabolic energy, on the other hand, is draining, resisting, and contracting. As in organisms at the molecular level, it provides with an energetic boost to fight stressful situations. In the short run it has some benefits but in the long term, it produces mental, emotional, and physical tolls that are potentially destructive. This is the energy that may keep you stuck at lower levels of consciousness for a long time.
The ‘toss-in’ stage after a layoff
Getting a letter of termination and being escorted out of the office is just the beginning or the ‘toss-in’ stage in the cycle of change. Catabolic energy is predominant in this phase.
For some people, the most likely core thoughts are of conflict, struggle, and judgment, which lead to feelings of anger, resentment, hostility, and frustration. Ultimately, you act defiantly and rebelliously.
For others, the first thought is “why me?”. You think that you are a victim of circumstances that are beyond your control, and your core feelings and emotions are of apathy, indifference, and lack of enthusiasm. As a result, you become lethargic and unable to take action. You lack initiative and the ability to see other options. This is the lowest level of energy you can be in.
These lower levels of energy are actually acting to temporarily protect you so that you can cope with such a stressful situation. This is why it is absolutely fine if you think, feel, and act the way I described above. After all, the retirement dreams that were within your reach have now vanished.
However, you must find a way to shift this energy to higher anabolic levels or it will consume you and stop you from moving forward. Unfortunately, most people at this stage will take little action on their own. They may end up ‘cocooning’ themselves for a long period of time.
Managing your energy to get unstuck
If you are at the lowest level of energy and in ‘hibernation’ for a long time, you probably need help from someone who can bring you out of that state. You need to discover what is blocking your energy and not letting you move forward. If you choose to act on your own, then take small steps first until you begin to see options and clarity. Let hope set in. Allow anabolic energy to build up and propel your progress.
If you are still rebellious and angry, use that catabolic energy to fuel your resolve. This does not mean that you are free to run over everyone who gets in your way. You use this energy to overcome any internal blocks you may have, and to turn it into positive (anabolic) action.
Finally, you have reached the ‘shuffle’ stage
This is when healing begins. It involves closure and a new beginning, and manifests itself as renewing anabolic energy. You are now at the threshold of higher levels of energy and consciousness. You are ready to take stock of your life and to check in with your core values.
This is a phase for researching your options, for exploration, networking, reinventing, discovering.
But this is not the end of the road. It actually is only the beginning. You are now at the point where you need to review your retirement plan or to toss it and come up with a new blueprint.
You are ready for the ‘Deal’ stage in the Cycle of Change.
I hope that you find this bit of writing as inspirational as it has been for me. Please do share freely with others who may benefit from these ideas. As a Certified Professional Coach I can partner with those who need help to progress through these stages. And as an Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, I am certified to administer the Energy Leadership Index Assessment and help you become fully conscious and in control of your energy.
To your Peace and Success,
Houston, March 3, 2017