By Sunny Simon

Recently, I spoke to Susan, a client of mine who is going through a rough patch. Her father’s declining health has caused significant stress. Adding to an already overweight worry load, she was informed due to a corporate restructuring her job has been eliminated. It sometimes happens just when we think we cannot cope with another issue, a great big fat problem plops itself smack dab in the middle of our other burdens.

In life, change is evident and any type of change can elevate our stress triggers. When life throws us a major curve ball, it takes a good deal of positive self-talk to stay the course. Surviving periods when it feels like we’ve been shoved to the bottom of an inky dark pit requires a large dose of resilience. Although it may seem counterintuitive, rather than fight against adversity the key to survival is leaning in and accepting the challenge.

How do we proceed with acceptance? Begin by acknowledging the reality of the situation. Spend time analyzing the dilemma to find something positive. Randy Pausch, the author of “The Last Lecture,” who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given mere months to live viewed his remaining days as a gift. He used that time to create a manual filled with life lessons for his three young children and his students at Carnegie Mellon.


Admittedly, there is no action Susan can take to change her fate, however as she analyzed her situation she observed some good news. Her dismissal was not immediate; she was given 90-days advanced notice. The most beneficial thing Susan can do is recognize the termination had nothing to do with her performance. She needs to develop a plan to move on. What is crucial at this juncture is to remain calm. Giving in to panic mode only creates doubt, fear and more stress. Embracing the fact that she is a talented individual possessing employable skills will help Susan adapt and eventually thrive. It is very possible her next job may evolve into a step up the corporate ladder.

Next on the road to breaking through adversity is to create a plan. Susan needs to polish her resume, begin networking and launch her job search. As she puts her energy into creating her future she will be invited to interviews and land a new job.

The next time you face a challenging situation, remember the words of Professor Pausch. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we played the hand.” Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at