7 Ways to Get Through Professional Loss

Within ten days, I lost a gig making a nice pile of money, and I lost a role that I thought was mine.  It was a rough week–two separate losses that I was not expecting but had planned on. I could have gone into a very dark corner and stayed there for a bit; weeks; months. I could have taken both inward and beaten myself up; berated myself with asking: why?

Truthfully, I feel mildly like a child complaining that “its not fair” what happened to me.  I’m frustrated that things didn’t go my way.  But after crying over one, and stamping my feet over the other, I came to the conclusion:  these things weren’t meant to happen for me.  I took a deep breath, released my frustrations and moved on.


Seriously, this overwhelming sense of calm came over me both times, and I realized that no matter how much I wanted these situations to happen, no matter how much I wanted this role and this job, no matter how big they were in my brain, neither one is meant to be mine.  Neither one is meant for me.  My time is to be spent elsewhere.  The thought that  I’m not meant to be (for you Hamilton fans) “in the room where it happens” is frustrating because I had been planning on both of these activities for a few months, plans were made around them. Obviously, I was not living in the moment and counting my chickens before they hatched. But, to quote Robert Blake, sometimes “the best laid plans of mice and men go awry.”  Or maybe they weren’t the “best” plans.


Part of the reason I felt release from these disappointments go because although I wanted both situations to be in my favor, it truly feels like neither is the right direction for me to move in.  I cried about not getting the role–I wanted it; I had been talking to one of the producers for about a year and a half about playing this role and was over the moon when I was asked to audition for the role. And I suffered panic and confusion for about an hour over the gig–I wasn’t able to work because I was short a qualification and I sent emails back and forth trying to figure out how to rectify the lack. Neither, although both I want terribly, are the way I’m supposed to travel in my life.


Its an interesting feeling, because once I came to terms with both of these adjustments in my life, I feel better.  I don’t feel bitter or angry.  I’m not trying to bargain to get back what I feel I’ve lost.  I’m not crying anymore–I did over the role for about three hours, but I’m a highly emotional being… it makes me a great actress.  I’m at peace.

How did I get there–actually I didn’t know.  Loss of something is hard. Loss of something you know is yours, is even harder. But as I wrote this blog, I realized, these were my steps:

  1. Be Upset.  Seriously.  When I found out, I called my mother, who told me it was ok to cry about my loss.  But I could cry about it that day, and then I had to move on.  I was given the permission to be upset, and a time limit for my grief.  Now, I realize this time limit thing doesn’t always work for everyone, but it really helped me.  I cried it out and was done.
  2. Breathe.  This is usually my step one, but you need to get the bad stuff out before you can take the good in.  Deep breaths help you remember that you’re still alive; that you’re still able to do many things.  True this didn’t work out.  True you wanted it.  But you’re still breathing.  Hear Viola Davis tell you: you is kind, you is smart, you is important.
  3. Take a minute.  Its ok to just chill out and just go through the motions of your days for a bit.  Get back to a stasis and an unheightened state of emotions.
  4. Tell yourself you’re going to be ok.  Keep telling yourself this.  There is some reason you’re not supposed to be headed down that path–and whatever it is, I’m sure its a good reason. 
  5. Look forward.  This step might come a few days or weeks after loss, FYI.  What can you do next?   What is the next step?  What is it that you needed out of the situation that you didn’t get?  (One of mine was money, the other was getting to fulfill a dream.  So for me–What other ways can I make money and what are other dreams, or other ways I can complete this dream?)  Is this the right direction, or should you head in a different one?
  6. Look backward.  Wait on this step until you’re emotionally clear–note you’re not allowed to beat yourself up with this step–its introspection only.  Was there anything you could have done differently?  Was there anything you can still do?  (Also make sure you’re not pathetic about it.  Needy and pathetic won’t get you far.)  Chances are you couldn’t have done anything differently–but note ways you could be more concise in the future.
  7. Make a new plan.  Do you want to head in the same direction?  Do you want to try a completely different goal?  For me, I’ll always keep auditioning–that part will come around again.  For the money, I’m realizing I’ll be alright with out the extra income, and I’m just trying to figure out how to deal with my finances with out the extra padding.

When faced with loss, you have to keep living.  You have to keep going.  Don’t let loss cripple you.  Take time to mourn, of course, but don’t let it be the anchor around your neck. Sometimes loss makes us refocus.  Sometimes loss saves us from ourselves.  Don’t harp on the past–instead take this lesson and move forward.  We only have control over the present.  Make it count.

Good luck!

–Clare

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5 Ways I’m Curbing My Workaholic Nature

I just realized, I’m a mild workaholic. I might even be a full-fledged workaholic… I have two main jobs. Well three…. I am an actress. I am an event planner’s assistant and I nanny. And then I have this blog, and I write and I do a bunch of other part time joby thingys. Ok, not just three.  So… the realization came just now as I was texting the mom I nanny for—Munchkin has today off of school, but she released me until the afternoon. My immediate response was to text my event planner to see if I could help her out with extra work.

And then it hit me. I’m a workaholic. I was up til 1:30 last night working. I was up at 7am to go to work yesterday. I work throughout the weekends. I am in constant contact with both bosses. Not to mention with the acting career I’m continually looking for auditions and classes to attend, and trying to network like crazy. In my down time, I go see shows—even though I enjoy them, its kind of part of my job to be up on what is out there and going on in the community…. Smoke is figuratively coming out of my ears as I’m typing this.

I’m a workaholic.

Question, what is the difference between someone who is passionate and loves their job and a workaholic? Its quite a fine line. I would tell you that I’m the passionate one, but sometimes, I truly feel the need, its almost an addiction to work.


I’ve been working since I was 13 doing babysitting, and my first real, on the books job, was when I was 17. My dad wouldn’t let me have a real job, I had to beg for one. This should have been a clue. Another clue was that in high school I wanted to be a part of EVERYTHING. I was the only person to graduate in my class in all four honor societies. I was in band, drama, newspaper, Spanish Club, competition forensics and debate. I wanted to take more art, and choir, and be in Student Government, but I couldn’t fit it in. I was actually disappointed that I couldn’t do more.

A day has 24 hours, and I usually spend 6-8 of those sleeping, but I swear sometimes I can squeeze 25 or even 26 hours out of a day. I don’t know how I do this other than telling myself that I can.


Then I find myself in crazy situations where I’ve booked myself solid for days, without a moment to eat, or pee, or breathe. Other times, like a few weeks ago, I go INSANE when I don’t have enough to do. I need constant activities, and in some light, entertainment. I can watch TV or a movie—although movies are hard… that is a lot of commitment to sitting for that long. And I live in NYC, I’d rather go see a play! But in these down times, I get super introspective and berate myself that I’m not doing enough. (Clare, seriously?!? By who’s standards?)This is the downside of the workaholic/passionate person lifestyle: feeling like I’m either doing way too much, or not even close to enough. That and not enough time for friends. I either have too much time or not enough.

I get overwhelmed by all the plays I haven’t seen, or books I haven’t read, or podcasts I haven’t listened to. Let alone the friends I haven’t seen in months who live less than 20 blocks from me. Let alone the things I need to do like cleaning my room! (Seriously, the stack of papers is STILL sitting there from September.)

I’m trying to make myself slow down. Here are my solutions—but please share yours in the comments!

  1. Carry a pen and paper, ALWAYS. It always seems like I think of blog ideas, or things I need to do, or calls I need to make when I’m on the subway, in the shower, or in down dog. NONE of these is a great place to get a mental reminder. I carry paper and jot it down, and then like my Lists Blog—I cross it off when I’m finished.
  2. I’m trying to spend more time IN down dog, the subway, or the shower. Ok, not literally, but I’m trying to give my brain more neutral time. The reason I remember things when I’m in those situations is because I shut my thoughts down temporarily, and those important things pop out.   Spending more time with my brain in neutral will help me refocus and remember. 
  3. LL talked about scheduling her life around the things she wanted to do in her Get Out of Your Own Way Blog and how she made it like an appointment in her life—which some things should be. I’m trying to actually schedule in my down time and a little bit of exercise time as well. (For those of you reading the Goals posts… you know I’m struggling with this!) By actually making myself take time to sit and do nothing, I’m letting my mind know it doesn’t always have to do. I’m also letting it rest. I can function on little sleep. I CAN’T function on little rest. My brain is very cloudy.
  4. This one is hard, but I’m trying to do no electronics 30 minutes before bed, as the light affects your ability to fall asleep http://legacy.kgw.com/story/news/investigations/2014/04/14/doctor-cell-phones-hurt-sleep-quality/12584984/#
  5. The exception to this is that I fall asleep to podcasts—this is great because it makes my brain shut off and listen to the podcast speakers—which are interesting but lull me to sleep, because I’m focused on those, not on the thoughts bouncing around in my brain.

I never thought I would be a woman who makes work come first. But I’m single with no kids (I think this is only partially to my busy lifestyle choices and my work ethic). I don’t think that I’m missing anything in my life, per se however, I do admire and feel a tinge of jealousy for those friends who seem to have more down time in their life or get to do more fun things like travel or hang with friends more.

This is going to take baby steps, especially since my first reaction today to my little bit of time off was to work more and my SECOND was to write a blog about it. Old habits are hard to break. I think I’ll go watch an episode of Castle now.

–Clare

 

2016 Goals Plan- LL

I am really excited to share with all of you my 2016 plan. As I mentioned in “How not to make resolutions” I do not make any resolutions for the year. Instead I use the new year to reflect on what I enjoyed about the year before. Then make a clearer map for the year ahead.

I do not cling to goals. If a goal isn’t working, I simply ask it if it wants to work or if it needs a new plan. So, my readers, here is what I am working towards for 2016 and even beyond:

This year I will remind myself that I want a Fierce and Fabulous Life!

Health: Stay Consistent, Stay Positive and put myself first

Sure I want a handstand in yoga…still (I am so much closer). But I don’t want to put some arbitrary date on this said handstand. I will get handstand and so much more if I continue to do my yoga regularly.

It’s easy for me to beat myself up for not being able to do something. I am a perfectionist and a creative. A perfect combo for negative thinking. As I approach a challenge and I hear the neg self talk begin to whisper I smile, I literally say to myself “live fierce and fabulously” and that gives me the strength to squash that self talk that serves no purpose.

Personal: Consolidate and Organize

I happen to have a few things that do the same thing. Bank accounts, sweatshirts, email addresses, and some social channels. It’s time my minimalist living takes over a little bit more of my lifestyle not just my apartment style.

Job Love: Plan, Produce and Grow

I quit my salaried job at the end of last year. It’s the second time in less than a decade that I left the security of a salary to live my dream. I am super excited and of course happily scared. There’s a lot I have to do today to make the rest of the year even exist. I want my website to be full of workshops for instructors and blogs of inspiration. However, I can’t do a years worth of anything in one day. So, I set up a plan for January, February and March. I will take a moment end of march to see what’s working and what’s not. For their to be growth I must produce my product. For their to be product I must plan.

There are my three major themes my loves. Stay tuned for next week to hear what I did towards these goals. Don’t forget we want to hear from you. Share your goals with us!

xx~LL

5 steps to getting out of your own way

Recently, I was coaching a couple of studio managers.   They had complaints about their schedule; their teachers; their lives. They just didn’t feel they had enough time in the day to get things done. They felt they needed more help. Or, they were fearful that the job they have taken on cannot be done in the hours they have allotted.  Whether or not their complaints are valid or true,  doesn’t actually matter. Not that I am saying I don’t think complaints matter, or they their complaints don’t matter. Just that honestly, no job is perfect. Nobody is perfect, and no boss is perfect. Even if you work for yourself there are going to be people or things that F-up what you are trying to do.

I am going to tell you what I tell everyone who complains about life and work balance. Build your business around your lifestyle not the lifestyle around your business.  If you want to workout in the mornings, but your job is 8-5, you are either going to have to work out super early OR find a job that let’s you workout before work. If you want to be home when your kids are home, you are going to have to find work or create work that allows that. I know it sounds easier to read/say then it is to do. But, honestly, if you take the time to do it, you get to live the life you want to live.  And your job/business supports that.  Which is how it should be.  Your life shouldn’t be supporting your business; your business should be supporting your life.

See, I actually think getting upset or angry at a situation is a good thing. Get it out, say your complaints, write them down. Before you go crying on every persons shoulder that’s available, ask yourself: why are you complaining?  Is it really the co-worker who taps his feet on the wall at the desk next to you? Or is it that you just don’t like what you are doing? I listened to an interview James Altucher, author of Choose Yourself did with Gretchen Rubin…. who wrote The Happiness Project. She said that a women in her blog commented about hating her job and thinking of quitting. Before she did she asked herself some questions and her big complaint about her job was her commute. She hated her commute. Before quitting, she decided to listen to some books on tape during her commute. What happened next? She realized she really liked her job. It was just the drive in and out that drove her nuts. Now with the books on tape she was in heaven. She found herself listening in her driveway after work because she was so engrossed in the book. So, complain away if you must but again before going to friend after friend, co worker after co worker…tissue after tissue, find out why you are upset. What is truly the issue? Once you find the heart of the issue you can work on fixing that. Can you imagine what would have happened to our long commute listener if she had quit her job? She probably would have realized she left a job she loved but it would have been too little too late.

My dearest readers, I will repeat I am so ok with complaints. I listened to the managers above. I let them spend the whole time getting the “problems” off their chest. Then we got to the root of it. They had tried to fit their life, their kids their desires around their work. I challenged them to go home. Take out a blank calendar. Write in their desires first. Then create a work schedule around it. Does that mean major changes in their life? Maybe. Some clients may have to switch time slots or teachers. They may lose clients due to their new schedule and have to find clients to fit this new schedule. But, a few weeks from now when all that is put in place, they will be able to have their cake and eat it too. Will life be “happily ever after?” Can’t answer that, but I can promise that if they were honest with themselves when creating this new schedule even the bad stuff won’t seem so bad because they are living the lifestyle they desired.

Here’s how you can life your lifestyle:

1) What do you wish you had time to do each day, week, month?

2) Take out a blank weekly calendar

3) sharpie in the things you want time for each day, week, month

4) Put your work schedule in. Where their are overlaps ask yourself: “Can I move this work schedule to a different day, earlier or later?

5) If you can’t get your work schedule to jive with your hearts desires then you may have to search for another work option. Seek out something that will jive.  Don’t go quitting tomorrow but maybe you can begin to create your own business that allows for this. It will probably take time but a year from now you’ll be glad you started today.

So, tell me. What complaints do you keep repeating? Are you avoiding living the life you want to live so that you can continue to complain? Share your stories with us. Let us help you build your business around your desires.

xx~LL

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