Your Leadership LifeQuake


There you go… showing up for work…then everything changes…

So, there you are…sitting in your boss’ office (the founder and president of the firm), waiting for him to call you into the room.  He has sent someone to get you. Although you know you did “nothing wrong,” it still feels like you are being called to the principal’s office.


Imagine this: You have been working hard for the company for a few years; learning new skills and creating a new role from when you were first hired. It is a small firm and feels like a family. Naturally, there are some ups, some downs that come with the territory. But you enjoy your work and are respected by your colleagues for what you contribute…

So why do you feel uneasy?

Then, he calls you inside. He says this:

“Well, … it has been quite a journey the past few months in this economy, but we are finding new resources, new clients and making headway despite it all.”

(You breathe a sigh of relief.)

“Still, there is something I would like to share with you about the road ahead.”

(Your eyes widen and you are listening so intently that you can feel the words as they are spoken.)

“I have been offered an opportunity I cannot refuse.  It will greatly improve my work-life balance and give me more freedoms than I have now as a business owner…the position is at another firm.”

(He takes a breath and you realize you are holding yours until he speaks again.)

“I have decided to close down my firm for a while so I can pursue this new venture and fully engage into this new role. Officially, the business will close on June 1.”

(You quickly do the math – 3 months.)


(You breathe finally.)

So there you have it.  Three months and you will be out of a job…

My Very First LifeQuake

A “lifequake” has just shook you to your core.  What do you do now?

Well, you have a time limit so there is no time for a “pity party.” It’s time to move like a river around a rock and take actions to ensure your success. Professional development opportunities await!

It’s time for some serious assessment and professional development planning.

Professional development now – you ask? Yes! This is a great opportunity!

You do not have to only develop your expertise while at a company. You have heard of Strategic Planning for business purposes. So now it’s time to create a strategic plan of your own.

How to Make a Strategic Plan

1. Do your own SWOT analysis

Review your political, social, economic and technical skills.

  • What needs do you have?
  • Does anything need  revamping or further development?
  • Do you need more education or training to attain a job you would like to have in the future?

2. Work smarter, not harder

Get a piece of paper and write this down as a header: “My Strategic Direction” and make a list or a chart.

  • Determine what goals you should achieve, and the strategies you must employ to achieve the accomplishments.
  • Then, Network, Network, Network!
  • Learn to ask for help if you haven’t done it before.
  • You might be surprised at who assists you in your search!
  • Use online social media to help you attain mentor, knowledge of free/low cost resources in your area/field of interest and build community knowledge strength.

3. Action Planning

Specify your objectives with each strategic goal.

  • Give examples of the tactics you may use to reach each objective
  • Specify your responsibilities and timelines with each objective and monitor your progress so as not to fall too far behind – remember you have a deadline.
  • Remember to account for your budget and specify the money needed for the resources that are necessary to implement your plan.
  • Lay your plan out on a week-to-week basis if needed.
  • Be strategic.

Excellent Reading Options:

How have you addressed a “lifequake?” What are the best strategies for shifting gears and finding a new path? The biggest concern typically is the budgeting factor. What methods would you suggest for helping others address their budget when looking at a new and unexpected road? How have you used online social media and/or online tools to aid your transition into a new role?

Kilby Watson
is an advocate for Leadership Through Learning
She leads change through education, professional and organizational development

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