Love vs. Fear Based Thinking & How It Helped Me After Being Laid Off

Months before I was laid off from my job I started doing coaching sessions with a therapist. Instead of it being structured like a traditional therapy program (past focused) it focused on the future. Felt more like life/career coaching. I met with my coach every other week for 3 months, and during that time we spent a lot of time discussing fear vs. love based thinking. It was a game changer for me, and I wanted to share the golden nuggets from what I learned in hopes it could help someone else!

What is Fear & Love Based Thinking?
Fear is a negative emotion that can include worry, hate, anxiety, blame, panic, disconnect, etc. It's when you're in a constant state of lack. 

Love is a positive emotion including joy, peace, faith, compassion, tolerance, happiness, etc. It's a feeling like your'e constantly being supported no matter what the situation. You see the good in all occasions. 

It's said that love and fear are opposite emotions and that we cannot feel one while feeling the other. Therefore if you're not choosing to come from a place of love then you're choosing to come from a place of fear or any of the emotions within each of those categories. 

Conscious Effort to Choose Love
I have made MANY decisions within a fear mindset especially in the workplace. What if I screw this up? Am I smart enough to lead this project? What if I say the wrong thing? Am I took young to be a leader?

One of my biggest takeaways while being coached was to be conscious of when I was in the fear mindset and actively work to choose love more often. Practicing mindful awareness has been huge! I try to check in with myself and ask myself what emotions am I feeling. You can observe your actions as well...what am I doing? Biting my nails, twirling my hair, trying to escape by zoning out with social media, etc. And then I have to ask myself "Is this how I want to show up?"

Have you ever been around someone who is constantly negative, filled with anxiety, or sucks the life out of the room. You now know they are living in fear based thinking. 

Being Laid Off
In February I was laid off with around 6,500 other employees at Dell. When I was laid off I felt immediate fear and bawled my eyes out. However because of my previous coaching, I knew immediately what I needed to do. I allowed myself to be sad and angry that day and from then on out I chose to view my layoff as an opportunity. What did I learn from this experience? What can I do differently in my next role? What if there is something better out there for me? I could have sat and wallowed in negative emotions for days, weeks, months but that was not going to help my situation. 

As soon as I got the news I began to text and send LinkedIn messages to friends and old co-workers that still work in tech to let them know I was actively looking. It was just one day after I was laid off I had my first interview with my now new boss! We hit it off immediately and then I went through a couple of weeks of interviewing with additional team members. I was able to get my foot in the door because my old boss from IBM now works at AMD. NEVER burn a bridge! I feel extremely blessed and do believe my mindset put me in a place to have positive relationships that have led to this moment. 

Thinking Traps
Another aha moment was learning about thinking traps which are ways of thinking that are false or inaccurate and that can make us distressed. Do you ever get a negative thought about yourself stuck in your head? Your mind is telling you one thing but deep down you know it's a lie. I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm a bad mom. 

One common thinking trap I am guilty of is mind-reading which tricks us into thinking we know what other people are thinking about us. Mind-reading can be problematic as it can deeply and negatively impact our relationships with others. I do this often with my co-workers and bosses.  

The ability to identify when our minds are engaged in unhelpful thinking patterns can provide the key to unlocking the door to thinking traps. One way to combat those unhealthy thoughts is by creating I AM statements. I AM a supportive and nurturing mother. I AM smart and bring value to my job. 

The key in all of this is to be aware of where our minds are. We're never going to escape thinking traps, and we have to give ourselves grace that it's ok to have negative thoughts. However we have to get out of autopilot and challenge our thinking traps. Most of our unhappiness comes from our minds going to the past or future, and what we focus on becomes our reality. 

Photos: Amy Willborn | Location: Imhoff House 

Bad things happening in life are inevitable, but we can choose our mindset. I hope this post helps you to practice love based thinking and mindful awareness so you can live your best life! 

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