What to Do When You Hear “It Happened For the Best.”

When I got the axe from a company several years ago, amid the commiseration from my newly-ex co-workers, I heard various forms of these two things:

“This is for the best.”

“It happened for a reason.”

Logically, rationally, I knew they meant well; it’s hard for colleagues who have kept their jobs to know what to say.

I even dispassionately agreed that one day I’d find this out for myself.

But right then in that moment, I took no comfort in those words whatsoever.

This is because I had to get through it all first, connect the dots to get from axed to for-the-best, and I can tell you that those phrases weren’t among the things that helped.


This grilled cheese sandwich would help in some ways. From bartonsbites.com.

What DOES help?

First, ignore everyone including yourself who says, “This will be for the best”—for right now.

Then do this:

Take things one day at a time.

I know, it’s another adage. But here’s why I think it works better:

When you’re in a situation where life or career feel derailed, chances are you’re also feeling less sure, less secure, and even a bit helpless.

What you’ve got to remember is that you are still everything you were before this happened.

You still have your skills, experience, and knowledge. This new and unwelcome experience can’t take that away from you.


They couldn’t take it away from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, either. From rounddancing.net.

So how do you take things one day at a time?

It’s natural to look at the big picture first. Goals are good things to have! But if you don’t break things up into sizable, doable chunks, you’re just going to feel overwhelmed and more stuck than before.

So yes, have that goal in mind, and then figure out the little steps you can do to reach it.

Such as…

Looking to break into a new industry? Look up five LinkedIn profiles of people who are already in it and note their skills and qualifications. Then see what you can draw from your own experiences that match.

Or maybe you want to take your mind off of this particular subject for a little while. In that case…

Need to tackle all of your boxes in the attic or basement? Instead of looking at them as a collective, never-ending clump with fangs, start with ONE. Just one. (Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui is excellent to get you started.)

Making things manageable also gives you a clearer picture of what you need to do and where you need to go next.

More things you can do right now

Write positive words and messages down and stick them up everywhere so they’re in front of your eyeballs. Yes, on your mirror, too.

If you’re having trouble giving yourself positive reinforcement because there’s that little voice inside your head saying, “Yeah, but…,” learn to recognize it when it crops up and shove it to one side.

There are some great tips here and here for how to do this. Enlist trusted people to help, too.

You got this. A thought from CPI.

You got this. A thought from CPI.

You are so not alone

We’re not born having all the answers. This is something I’d say all of us have fought through, are fighting through, and will fight through again and again. Focus your energies where they need to be focused: On YOU.

This idea certainly isn’t original to me. Read Why Thinking Small Is The Secret To Big Success and 6 Ways To Achieve Any Goal for help.


You never know, this really might have happened for the best. From amazingly.co.

When something unfortunate has happened to you, what do you do to keep yourself going?


My Dad, The Cyclopath


Not my dad’s bike, but a great shot from http://visitrainier.com!


“No falls, flats, or fangs!”

That’s what my dad says when he returns from a successful bicycle ride.

He’s in his 70s. He’s been bicycling on the weekends since I was in high school. Now retired, he bicycles outside on every good day. He finally decided to stop bicycling for the year in December.

In fact, I asked him how many miles he’d clocked just outside in 2015, and he somberly replied, “2,500.” He’d missed his goal of 3,000.

But he blamed the weather for that.

He usually brings his pipe along. One of his bicycling jerseys looks like a tuxedo. “I like to look nice,” he says.

I’m not kidding about this

On not-so-good days, he’ll cycle indoors on an equally retired bike.  He has a TV, but prefers to face the picture window instead so he can imagine he’s outside.

“I also turn on the football game and watch the reflection in the window. I like seeing millionaires busting into each other,” he says.

He props a word search book on the handlebars and plays songs like The Freckle Song and Copycat to pass the time. (And let’s not forget Tiger Haynes, but that’s a whole ‘nother post right there.)

“Otherwise it gets boring, and who wants to exercise when it’s boring?” he says.

His total mileage for 2015 was 6,000 miles.

All these things may go into why he calls himself a Cyclopath.

But this post is really about advice, so…

In addition to those three Fs up at the top–no falls, flats, or fangs–my dad has another three Fs of bicycling that you can apply to just about anything else.

Three Fs to Remember:

It’s NOT about how FAST you go.

It’s NOT about how FAR you go.

It IS about how FREQUENTLY you do it!

Here’s another way to look at it:

You know what they say about sitting too much: It can kill you! Yikes!

I suppose something has to, but all the same, I try to remember to get up and move around, even if it’s only for a little bit at a time.

Remember that all big things are made up of little things.

This means making your milestones achievable so you won’t wear yourself out before you’ve even reached your goal.

Plus, you’re more likely to miss really awesome things along the way that might have made a difference to your whole perspective.

And don’t forget, bicycle or not, 10 miles one way is another 10 miles back!

One last bit of dad-wisdom

This is what I hear when I’m dithering about hopping on my own bicycle:

“Go because you want to, not because you have to!”

And then I do.


See, I wasn’t kidding!

What gets you up & going?


Originally posted on LinkedIn.

How to Be Positively Unemployed

Let’s face it, being unemployed sucks.

But keeping your spirits up? Close second.

Unemployment can make you feel embarrassed, unwanted, unviable and upset. You start worrying about the future and panicking about the present. You wonder what your co-workers did right and you did wrong. And if you hear another “Things happen for the best,” you might just claim murder by self-defense.

But guess what? You really do have more resources than you think. Even on those days when you just want to turn off the alarm and call it a year, you owe it to yourself to keep moving onward and upward.

Try these tips to keep yourself focused, on track and (hopefully) out of the doldrums:

1. Get up like you’re going to work—because you are.
Okay, maybe you can hit the snooze button an extra couple of times, but sticking with your usual routine helps give you the structure you’re used to from your job. Unless you’re angling for that coveted mattress-tester career, lying abed all day won’t get you where you want to go.

So get up, get dressed, eat a good breakfast—and get to work finding your next job.

2. Turn off the TV.
Better yet, don’t even go near it. Your time can be hoovered up so fast you’ll be out of prime job-seeking hours before you can change another channel.

Somehow we make time for what we want to do. Don’t get sucked into daytime television, the Weather Channel’s Storm Stories or online games. Retrain yourself to use your “free” hours for polishing your resume, taking an online course, volunteering and getting out and meeting people for coffee or lunch.

Speaking of which…
3. Stay in touch with your network.

Who’s your network? Absolutely everyone you know! And you don’t know everyone they know, so don’t go writing people off just because they’re not in your industry or don’t speak your particular brand of geek.

To make the six degrees of separation work for you, you need to do the reaching out. You know your network best: How do they like to interact? Are they available to chat online during the day?  Can you get together for lunch or meet up after hours? Even if you’re the one making all the plans, it’s worth it to keep yourself on their radar when opportunities open up.

4. Give a little LinkedIn love.
Besides stuffing your Summary with industry keywords and keeping your status updated, you need to give people recommendations.

That’s right, “give.” There’s something about receiving an unsolicited reference that generates goodwill and reciprocity. Plus I’ll bet you’ll feel pretty good after you give someone kudos for doing a great job.

Now it’s your turn. Don’t send a blanket recommendation note; individualize it for each contact. If it’s been awhile since you’ve talked to the person, don’t be afraid to jog their memory. “It was an illuminating experience working on Project No Dice with you. I’m glad all the pictures were destroyed.” If they don’t respond, shake it off and move on to the next person who will.

5. Take a free webinar or an online course.
Free webinars are going on all the time, and all you need is a computer with an internet connection. LinkedIn Events, BrightTalk, Hubspot and others all offer webinars for a variety of industries, including how to promote those industries. Use them to keep yourself current with trends and information. For example, because I’m in marketing, I use LinkedIn Events to find social media webinars on everything from ROI to analyzing metrics.

Online courses tend to cost you, but you can uncover treasure troves of free books and training if you know where to look. I’m happy to say that MyPath.com lets you browse book summaries and course descriptions before you even start your free 30-day trial subscription.

6. Step into Twitter.
Even if you think Twitter is a sad waste of valuable brain candy, this trend is worth checking out: Hire Friday. Why? Because recruiters watch it and people get hired through it. With its accompanying live chat (#hfchat) on Fridays at 11 AM CT, you also get your own personal job search support group that takes up just an hour of your online time.

If you want to find out how to join a Twitter chat such as #hfchat, #careerchat, #genychat or others, Avid Careerist has an excellent guide here. In addition, Twitter has a lot of people tweeting career advice and resources from how to write an effective resume to six ways not to screw up the interview.

As with anything online where you’re meeting and talking to people, you want to present yourself professionally. Take a few moments to get the basics of Twitter etiquette.

7. Do something just for you.
When I was out of work, I added an exercise routine to my mornings that I never had time for before. I cooked healthier meals than my usual haphazard fried eggs and toast for breakfast and kept the guinea pig who shares my home office happy. I thought about cleaning, talked myself out of it and approved my decision.

And every once in awhile, I took a day off job search and did things just for me. It was refreshing and revitalizing, and I returned to “work” the next day feeling more positive than ever.

And while you’re at it…
8. Remind yourself that you are still you.

What’s the biggest resource you have? You! Just because you’re without a job doesn’t mean you’ve lost all the skills, education and knowledge you’ve built up over the years. Nobody can take that away from you, not even yourself and all your doubts.

Use your time to its best advantage, keep on going even when you don’t want to, and you will meet your career goals head on. And best of luck!

(Pic from Lo-clc.)

Thanks to Noël from myFootpath.com for hosting this post!