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5 Tips to Break the Cycle of Losing

  • Dan Miller
  • 2011 21 Mar
5 Tips to Break the Cycle of Losing

Losing a job can lead to anger, resentment, guilt and depression. I once worked with a gentleman who having lost his job, tried to reposition himself and do a job search, only to become discouraged after just a few days with no success.

Then he started hiding out from his wife, pretending to be doing a job search, while in reality he was going to the library to surf the Internet and read magazines. He consoled himself in fast food and high sugar snacks and quickly added about 25 pounds. This, in turn, made him self-conscious about his weight and ill-fitting clothes. "I hated my job, but am still angry about being let go," he said.

This story is not unusual. New research confirms that losing a job can put people at an elevated risk for emotional and physical problems. Unemployment can start a vicious cycle of depression, loss of personal discipline and decreased emotional health. "Depression can contribute to much longer searches," notes John Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Failure in a business, the dissolution of a relationship, a breakdown of health, or a financial disaster can also be a set-up for these negative, self-defeating feelings. Any of these situations can make a person a candidate for the downward spiral of anger, resentment, guilt and depression.

To break the cycle, take charge of the areas where you can experience immediate success. 

Five Tips to Break the Cycle of Losing:

1. Start with doing what you can to stay sharp physically. If that's walking two miles a day, then start with that. Notice the birds, children, trees and sky as you're walking.

2. Spend at least two hours every day reading or listening to positive, uplifting materials. Limit TV watching - much of what you see and hear there will add to your pessimism and discouragement.

3. Invite a friend and treat yourself to a great concert - in every city I visit there are amazing concerts at the local universities and churches every week.

4. Take a class - there are multiple agencies and churches offering free career transition classes and workshops in nearly any city.

5. Volunteer to help someone else. A man asked Dr. Carl Menninger, "What would you advise a person to do if he felt a nervous breakdown coming on?" Most people expected him to reply, "Consult a psychiatrist." To their astonishment he replied, "Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person." Helping at one of the prisons, your local mission or the Salvation Army will do wonders for helping you see your own brighter future.

Making deposits of success in life areas aside from the career and financial pieces are the best way to prepare yourself for success in those areas ultimately. If you are depleted in personal areas you will come across as weak and needy when presenting yourself for a job opportunity.

None of these are directly related to getting a new job, starting another business, rebuilding your health, or finding another friend and yet they are very much related. From these actions come the boldness, confidence and enthusiasm necessary to nurture the success you are seeking in the work area.

"They say when one door of happiness closes, another opens. But the problem is... we look so long at the closed door that we never notice the open one."  

Published May 6, 2009

 Dan Miller is today's leading authority and personality on careers and 'Work You LoveTM'. As bestselling author of 48 Days To The Work You Love, and now No More Mondays, Dan reaches over a million people every month ia his newsletter, podcast, and blog with the best trends and opportunities in the workplace and small business. For more information, visit