Some days you’ll never forget. I perfectly remember the birth of my first daughter. I remember the blissful feeling as a child, floating on my inflatable mattress in the Mediterranean Sea. Not a cloud in the sky. I takes me no effort to remember the days that both my father and my mother in law got the verdict ‘cancer’. The day the company I worked for announced they were going to close our site in Leuven, I remember as it was yesterday. I remember myself sitting on my chair. Sweaty palms, uncomfortable. Strangely enough, I distinctively remember feeling…nothing. Being the manager I would see all my colleagues leave and then dismiss myself. Sell the building and close the door for the very last time…
In the months that followed, my office was a place where employees gathered and invaded, to talk about their grievances, their fears and their hopes. The responses were mixed. To me it was fascinating to see how my colleagues responded. Meanwhile I was in the same boat as they were. What to do? How can I help? My own resignation shifted briefly to the background and I for a while I was in a “must-save” mode. Saving others, listening, giving advice. I couldn’t fight for their rights, because this time I couldn’t negotiate with the trade unions, I was involved. A terrible time. Watching from a distance how my own destiny was is in the hands of others … Not being able to help. And at the same time, I went through all the normal emotions myself. I felt hurt, sad, disappointed. I felt irrelevant and helpless.
At home the children more than once enjoyed my moods and at night I regularly stared at the ceiling. I knew however what I wated to do. Throughout the years I already built out a practice as a coach, but still: why did my fear kept me from going after my true passion for 100%? And what would happen to all those colleagues who do not know? The only breadwinners? Who have worked in our company for their entire careers?
I think it was a Tuesday morning. Another day that I’ll never forget. I was sipping tea in my fellow coach Els Deboutte’s kitchen, sharing ideas for career counseling. As I was working through the emotions of my own dismissal, I was not in best shape and the conversation took a turn. Els looked at me and said: “well, as you’re going to sit there for one more entire year, you may as well write a book about it”. Just what I needed to hear to get started. The idea was already there, but I didn’t dare to believe that writing a book could become a reality. But deep inside I am a ‘believer’. Simon Sinek conquered the business world with its theory ‘Start with the why’. And so I did it. I found my motivation for this book in my faith and believe that this book was needed and because I believe things can be done differently. I truly believe that we can create a world in which work holds a different place. A world in which golden cages are opened up and stress and burn-out don’t exist. In which people dare to go for their dreams, big and small and above all: in which failing simply brings you closer to your success.
There the idea was born for my book: B(e)STA if you want! (note: ‘besta’ means exist)
B(e)STA: a simple word, to remind you that ending your employment, whichever party decides to end it, is not as simple as that. It’s a process.
The B stands for Breathe: remember that you have to breathe. In times of change, it is crucial to take good care of yourself. Be nice to yourself, allow yourself the whole range of emotions and uncertainties. Take care of your physical and mental fitness. Talk, find a sounding board, move, eat and live as healthy as possible. And above all: breath!
The S stands for Stop: think of who you are and what you want. A dismissal is an ideal time to reflect and come home to yourself. Don’t embark immediately into another challenge out of fear, or simply because it is easy. Pause and be sure your next step is in the right direction. Far too often we choose the same thing as we did before. We run towards security when it’s offered, purely out of panic. Take time to reflect on who you are and what you want. The time is now.
The T stands for Think: discover your behavioral and thinking patterns. See how they affect your life. Take some distance and decide that you are going to choose what you think and also what you do.
The A finally stands for Act: time for action! Together we’ll explore what your excuses are not to act and take steps. We’ll get rid of all your excuses and get you to action!
In the meantime I can see it happen. Former colleagues who now, one year after, dare to say ‘ Hurray, dismissal! ‘. Employees who are in career guidance and dare to break the chains. I can almost literally see when they come into my office when they just resigned. They glow.
You could say I am a believer. The testimonials and exercises in this book offer insights on how you can deal with the doubt a dismissal or resignation brings. In addition, it is a must-read for those looking for the right flow: to feel well, balanced in head and body, feel great in your career and life. This is my wish for you, from the bottom of my heart.
“Hoera, ontslag! In four steps to a happier (work)life” is published by Borgerhoff & Labuschagne and costs 22.95 euro.
The book is available in Dutch on Bloom Coaching & Development and in selected bookstores.
Rilla Lysens is Coach & Trainer. With her company Bloom Coaching & Development she guides people and organizations towards more mental fitness. In her collaboration with Make me Fly! she helps employees and companies to set up life and work according to values and talents, to bring more ‘fun’ and fulfillment in work and life.