When a setback becomes a setup

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Whether it be professional or personal, life is full of setbacks, for example: being impacted by a layoff. 2023 alone has already had over 168,000 layoffs in the United States, with tech layoffs currently exceeding the total amount of layoffs for 2022. On this episode of Dana Being Dana, host Dana Michelle and her guests talk about turning L’s into W’s and how important it is to keep the faith when going through a rough patch. Dana is joined by Billy Dexter, Managing Partner of Heidrick & Struggles and co-author of Making Your Net Work: The Art and Science of Career Networking, and Elle Davis, CEO of The Ellevate Group, LLC. and author of The Art of the Bounce Back: 31 Days of Resilient Living. The three engaged in a lively conversation which lead to the ultimate conclusion: your biggest failures can really be setting you up for your biggest successes.

Navigating a layoff

The saying goes, “when one door closes, another one opens,” but how do you navigate the waiting period in between? Dana asked her guests for their take on navigating a work layoff, to which Billy Dexter said, “the first thing is you’ve got to be really honest with yourself […] second thing is, you’ve got to get off the couch. You can’t get stuck there, and that’s easy to do.”

Elle Davis agreed and added a tip from her book, “be creative, because we are always saying, Oh, I’m not creative, I can’t dance, I can’t sing, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t […] So that is one of my favorite things, is to get people to challenge and think outside of the box in terms of what they bring to the table.”

Dana related to Elle’s comment, “And being creative, I think it brings you to a happier place. It’s tapping into some of your natural talents. You know, I like to write and I write, produce, do things like that in my spare time because it’s something that makes me happy.”

The group then talked about identifying your skills and honing in on your “superpower”, or something you excel at that can potentially guide your life’s purpose. When asked about resiliency during a major setback, Elle responded, “your superpower is being able to get back up. It is looking at the challenge in the face.”

Regardless of what challenge you are facing; loss, getting impacted by layoffs, or just being stuck in a rut, it is important to remain resilient and never lose sight of your end goal.

Making networking work

Dana and her guests talked about the importance of networking and relying on your cultivated group of peers during your setbacks. Billy emphasized the importance of networking for the right reasons, “you network to give, not to get. But if you do and if you do it over time it comes back to you. And so that takes discipline. It takes commitment.”

The group discussed the importance of leading with your true self to build connections based on common interests, Elle added, “So often when we’re in work environments, what happens is people say, Well, what do you do? Right. Like, that’s the first question people ask. And that is actually one of my pet peeves because I’m like, there’s so much more to me than the work that I do.”

Billy concluded, “People hire people that they feel good about, that they know that they have a relationship with. So you’ve got to be intentional about that.”

Creating new opportunities

So you’ve done the networking, now what? Elle suggests that being still is sometimes key to getting back on track, “when you sit for a moment and you’re still and you’re quiet, then you can begin to write those things out so that you know for sure what your value is. And then you can begin to communicate that value in a different way. And what happens when you’re able to communicate in a different way? Opportunity starts to come to you.”

It is never easy to experience a setback or be impacted by a layoff, it is crucial to remember the power of  connection and resiliency. Lean on your “village,” or those around you who could offer support, hone your skills, and never lose sight.