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What strategies can you use to create a positive shift after a setback or crisis?

Recently I had a client who had a major setback.  In fact, she was so upset that she couldn’t gather her thoughts and make sense of what had happened.  Can you relate?  I think we’ve all been in that place where it feels like your spiraling downward after a professional or personal blow.  You feel like you’ve lost your equilibrium.  We scheduled a session immediately and took a look at what had occurred and how we could create a shift.  Here’s what we worked on….
My client was expecting a rather large promotion.  The promotion she was anticipating (and had been told was as good as hers) was to allow her much more visibility, grant her more money and more respect from her colleagues.  Then the proverbial rug was pulled out from under her.  She was passed over for the promotion.  Suddenly, she found herself feeling angry, bitter, betrayed and very sad.  In fact, she was contemplating quitting altogether.
I shared with her that with every crisis there is a door that opens, a lesson to be learned and sometimes both.  Here’s an interesting fact: The Chinese character for crisis actually has two parts to it.  One part is fear, and the other part is opportunity.  When we encounter unexpected setbacks or terrible circumstances, our negative reaction in large part is because we feel powerless.  Instantly, it feels like things are happening TO us rather than our creating them.  We feel that we are out of control, and that feels frightening.
The facts in this case (not getting the job) were not in her control.  All of her emotional pain was coming from that framework so we worked in our sessions to reframe what had happened and to give her back a point of control.  To stay in fear and all the pain it was producing was one choice, but there were other more empowering choices.   We explored other lenses she could use to view  what had happened.  We discussed how she would choose to make meaning from the events.   We looked at what she might learn about herself from the experience.  And, perhaps most importantly, I asked her who she wanted to be around all of this.  With new questions came new answers.  With her new answers she began to feel a shift.  Then very quickly she found her balance and power again.
Since then, my client has created some changes within the old job.  She spoke up and asked for more leadership, responsibility and money in the position she was already in.  Guess what?  She got it.  In fact, she told me she feels that staying in her present job but expanding it may just work out better for her in the long run.  If it doesn’t work out, I have no doubt she will know how to make choices that empower her again.

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