THE BLOG

You've Just Been Laid Off. Lucky You.

10/08/2010 12:33 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

If you're currently unemployed or perhaps facing unemployment, this might be your first real chance to become clear about what you want to do with your life. Whether you have chosen to take early retirement or are being forced to leave your job, you now have the gift of space and time to once and for all reinvent yourself.

I personally discovered this truth when my company failed shortly after 9/11. Although daunting at the time, this ended up being the opportunity that convinced me to eventually pursue my passion and launch my new career as a professional organizer and image consultant.

Space always brings clarity. This might be why many of us have a strong desire to meditate or pray: it gives our brains a chance to add space, pause and reflect. When you have the advantage of free time, you can see more easily what you need to do to manifest a successful and fulfilling life. To witness this principle first hand in your physical environment, try this simple exercise: move your desk a few feet from the wall. You will see clearly what you need to do that your vacuum cleaner did not. You might also decide that now that you have a new vantage point, you might prefer to reposition your desk within the room. This also works in your life. Move a few things around, whether it is in your schedule or your closet, and you will also begin to see more clearly what you need to do to get unstuck and express your true nature.

Outwardly removing a few blocks will create a much deeper and subtle inner impact on your life than you would ever anticipate. The actual act of organizing or creating more order/space in your outside world and your relationship with that world is far more potent than you can imagine. Once your blocks are removed, you will have more time, confidence and freedom to do what you love. You will be able to step out into your full glory and manifest your life as expressed through your joy and your passions. I have witnessed this firsthand as my clients develop and nurture their true talents.

People often become attached to thoughts, habits, piles and, believe it or not, broken systems. These attachments can become blocks. According to Rabbi Louis Binstock, "Very often we are our own worst enemy as we foolishly build stumbling blocks on the path that leads to success and happiness." Your blocks might include paperwork, a dead end job or losing track of important business connections. It might also be the way in which you present yourself to the world through your wardrobe. This excerpt from How to Master Your Muck describes an individual who clearly demonstrates this principle in action.

Changing Your Old Beliefs

This story about Thomas illustrates how powerful thoughts become blocks and seemingly unrelated clearing can release huge obstacles. He called one day to request that I update his wardrobe and image to help him shift his life. He said that he owned a private dental practice and that he had been trying for a year on his own to make changes in his business and lifestyle to reflect his artistic passions and decided that if he could start with his outward appearance, other things might also shift for him. A very intuitive client indeed!

One of the most striking things I discovered in my client's wardrobe was his pair of black leather Reebok high-top tennis shoes. Remember the style? They were easily 10 years old, with cracks across the soles. He wore these shoes every day from work to home to gym and literally everywhere. I knew immediately that one of my goals was to move him into better shoes. After all, as they say, shoes make the man.

Our day of shopping arrived. After finding several fabulous clothing items, we moved onto shoes. As he tried on several pairs, he said, "Oh, I didn't know buckle shoes were back in" and then remained quiet for a while as he tried on more styles. We didn't find the perfect shoe just then so we continued on to other stores. As we walked, he had an epiphany. "You know, I am just now remembering an event from when I was a teenager," he told me.

I had worked really hard one summer and saved up my money. In the fall, I saw these great black buckle shoes and decided to buy them. They were better than any shoes I had ever owned and I thought they were fantastic! They also took all of the money I had saved but I was very proud of them and came home to show my parents.

When I showed up wearing my new shoes, my father said, 'Why would you waste your money on something like that? You had perfectly respectable shoes before that I bought for you two years ago?' My mother was mortified and said that they were an eyesore.

I left the house and decided that, no matter, I was going to keep the shoes. I'll tell you though, after that I didn't feel quite as cool wearing them. I hadn't thought about that until now when I see all of these buckle shoes.

After hearing that story, I suddenly realized why Thomas had been wearing those old Reeboks for years. He had held onto the inherited values of his parents and chose to keep his shoes long past their prime just like he had subconsciously held onto the family values that no longer served him.

Here he was, a successful dentist with his own thriving practice, wearing shoes with cracks across the soles every day of his life.

I knew that what Thomas needed most was a pair of incredibly fabulous new shoes. We started trying on $70 shoes, moved into $200 shoes, and finally found a pair of $540 Italian leather shoes! After much dialogue and introspection, my client was finally ready to step into a new pair of shoes and claim new ideas about what was possible in his life.

For this man seeking to shift his outmoded life, the next step was literally stepping into a new pair of shoes. It wasn't about the amount of money the shoes cost, it was about the value he placed on himself. He was truly worthy of a pair of handcrafted Italian shoes!

It's been almost five years now, and I still shop for Thomas. He called me recently to help him find some new jeans and casual slacks. He said, "I need a new pair of jeans, not just any type of jeans, something really unique and unusual." Go figure!

Thomas has since sold his private practice, manifested a cushy job as a dentist in the Navy, shows his art in galleries and is the winner of several awards for his photography. I think that a major shift happened for this gentleman. Would you agree?

The Way Forward

Navigating your way through life might seem overly complex with roadblocks on every level, especially when you are facing the end of a job or career. Simplifying your life by releasing clutter and old patterns will pave the way for success. The best place for you to start will be to nudge and budge your most persistent block. Get rid of the biggest monkey on your back and you will see very clearly what to do next.

Be willing to change your attitude about change. Learn to embrace a new perspective. You will soon be open to new possibilities and able to create your life based on your true skills and passions. Remember, a rather small, seemingly insignificant change will often propel you into larger-than-life results. The change can begin in your home or business. It doesn't really matter where you begin, every environment where you live, work and breathe affects every other.

The reality is this, you have the capacity for huge change and the ability to manifest everything that you desire. Even if change has been unexpectedly thrust upon you, know this in your heart and move forward boldly. After all, the one constant factor in life is change. As Buddha stated, "Everything changes, nothing remains without change." Anais Nin also wrote poetically about the inevitability of change, "Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death."

Although you might not have enjoyed going to work for the past few years, you could have simply settled there until you retired because it was safest and easiest thing to do. You have now been given the golden opportunity to create a more successful and fulfilling career. Many of America's most successful companies were born during the last financial crisis of the 80's. Apple and Microsoft were started in garages by aspiring entrepreneurs with little to no financial resources.

Do not let your dreams die: move forward and learn the new skills necessary to uncover and discover your true talents so that you can bring them forth. This just might be the perfect time to discover what you really want to do with your life. The world is waiting for you to step out in your full glory and recreate yourself anew.