After The Collapse: Rebuilding Your Life

I have been victimized by downsizing twice in my life. Yes, I said victimized because my life became a nightmare after each incident. Both times, I was fiercely loyal to the company and gave way too much of myself and talent without appropriate compensation or gratitude. Sounds like I’m bitter? Well I am! However, I refused to remain a victim or ever be victimized that way again. The last layoff I decided would be the last time I endured that type of disappointment and I embarked on the scariest journey ever in my life (well besides becoming a single parent, that journey was pretty scary as well, luckily it had a happy ending). I am now two solid years into the journey of running my own business full time. The journey thus far has left me with bumps, bruises, scars and most of all a steadfast determination to keep at it because I want to be successful at this more than any job I’ve ever had or any promotion I ever desired.

Yesterday, in the midst of a meltdown and a bout of doubt (nice word play there), I kept thinking rebuilding after a collapse and starting a new business is difficult and lonely. However, at the same time it reveals your character and gives you a fortitude that you’ll never learn in Corporate America. I would love to tell you I have a happy ending but the truth is…I am still writing my story and I am excited about the possibilities. I thought by writing the steps I’ve taken on my journey to rebuilding, I could help someone by letting them know they’re not alone and it is possible to rebuild your life after devastation. If you have or are facing a layoff, bitter and unsure how to rebuild, the steps below will help you set the foundation for rebuilding:

Step No. 1: Recognize a rebuild is necessary. You have to acknowledge that what you were doing isn’t working or has run its course and it’s time to do something different.

Step No. 2: Accept that it’s going to be uncomfortable. You WILL have to do some things that stretch your comfort zone. You will have to try new things, meet new people and consider concepts you never have before.

Step No. 3: Have a plan for the desired outcome. Be flexible enough to understand the path to the outcome will bend, curve and have inclines, but stay the course!

Step No. 4: Remove those who tear down your construction! Even if they’re a loved one, remove them. You need to limit their access to your mental real estate. It’s hard, but, you have to do it. Some people think you’re not capable because THEY are not capable. Don’t let others project their fear, negativity, laziness and regret on to you!

Step No. 5: Seek to understand not to be understood (Stephen Covey). Find the “Why” for everything in which you engage. If it’s important enough to expend resources (time and/or money), then you should understand the why on both ends. Why they do it? And why you’re interested? You will be amazed at how motivational and fascinating other people’s “whys” truly are.

Step No. 6: Build a team of people. Build a team of people to legitimately support you through the good and bad. Actively seek, build and nurture relationships with people who promote even exchanges of energy (make sure they’re not people who drain you by always wanting something but never giving anything).

Step No. 7: Trust the internal voice you have inside. Your intuition is your higher power and your experience telling you exactly what you need to stay safe (even in risky situations, this internal light WILL guide you.) Stop consulting with the enemy, stop thinking you need everyone’s approval…because you don’t need permission to be GREAT!

Step No. 8: Move with precision and calculation. Make sure that you’re weighing the benefits and consequences of your decisions in advance. A tactical game of chess with forced moves can require knowing 10-15 moves ahead. (I try to think 4 to 5 moves ahead…Stop being lazy and use your brain!!!) In business and in life, so many people either fail to plan or fail to execute. Sit down and develop a strategy for your success.

Step No. 9: Learn to receive! Most people in a rebuilding phase are doing so because they have given too much and it has cost them dearly. We have to learn to STOP trying to save everyone. Your journey is for you. Stop inviting others who don’t know or understand your “why” on your journey! You can’t receive when you have too many other Mofos around you with their hand out!!

Step No. 10: Stop OVER COMMITTING! (This one is hard for me, but I am learning how to apply it). You can’t do everything and you certainly can’t do everything by yourself. Your mess was not created in a day and you’re not going to overcome it in a day. If you keep over committing you’ll never get the chance to rebuild with a strong foundation. You MUST tell some people NO…you have to carve out time consistently to work on yourself, your business or whatever is important to you. Over committing keeps you from investing quality time in yourself and the things that will help you grow. Short and simple — stop doing stuff you know you don’t want to do nor have the time to do!

Step No. 11: Admit when you’re wrong and when you need help. This is a critical step to rebuilding because at some point in your last building stage you were wrong and you didn’t identify it soon enough to keep everything from collapsing. You have to be open to feedback from successful people, experts and advisers, but you also have to be observant enough to see, hear and absorb information about others mistakes and learn from them. There is nothing shameful about needing help. The most successful people identify their limitations and find someone they trust to handle the deficiency (see Step 6 re: team building).

Step No. 12: Out hustle everybody!! If your hustle is intellectual, think harder, faster, better than everyone else. If your hustle is a product then make sure it’s the best quality and has a uniqueness about it that makes it stand out and up against the competition. If it’s a physical grind then stay up later, wake up earlier, talk to more people, and make more calls, HUSTLE/GRIND like no one else! The hustle cannot be taught or bought, it is innate, you either have it or you don’t. I have hustled a lot of things in my life and one thing has remained the same MY HUSTLE GAME IS 25/8 because even when I’m not hustling, I’m thinking about how to improve the hustle!

Bonus Step: Know that you have the power to create anything you want! You have the power to create the kind of life you want. You have the power to seek knowledge. You have the power to harness healthy love. You have the power to improve your finances and grow wealth. You have the power to create memorable experiences that enhance your life. Each one of those sentences starts with YOU, no one else but YOU! Rebuild your life and START with YOU!

This article was written by Tiffany Taylor-Hicks, CEO of Velvet Rope Experience and Chief Blogger at An Entrepreneur’s Addiction.

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