Asian businesswoman using tablet surrounded by people rushing paIt just doesn’t seem fair. The company reorganizes and you’re out of a job. It doesn’t seem fair when someone less qualified than you gets the promotion you deserve. I know it’s a cliché to say “life isn’t fair”, but we know that there are times that this certainly seems true!

We’re only human and it’s natural for us to react emotionally. We often fall into a victim mentality. Terrible things are happening to us. Why does this keep happening?

Can you relate to feeling this way? I know I can. When I was passed over for a promotion, I felt betrayed and angry, very much the victim. I was a top performer and I worked really hard. I deserved the promotion.

But the reality is that feeling like a victim is a trap. When we believe everything happens to us, we give up any responsibility for the outcome. We give up our power.

When I lost out on a promotion, it took me a while to bounce back and realize that I did have some responsibility for the missed opportunity. Yes, I had a great track record and I was talented, but my avoidance of the politics and workplace dynamics put me in a vulnerable position. I didn’t build a network of allies and champions and failed to take the time to build a solid relationship with my boss.

When we become a victim of our own emotions, we can be blindsided to the reality of the situation. As a victim, we don’t allow ourselves to see how we might have contributed to the situation. A victim mentality prevents us from learning from the experience.

If you find yourself feeling like a victim because you lost your job or lost out on a promotion, the quicker you can shift your mindset and be open to assessing the situation, the faster you will get back on track.

Here are some tips to move forward:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings; the good, bad and ugly. Connect with your “victim”.
  2. Feel the pain and then let it go. Be gentle with yourself. Meditate, go for walks, and cry. Let the anger out.
  3. Look at the situation objectively and try to see if there were things you could have done to prevent the negative outcome.
  4. Shift to positive and constructive thinking. Write down your lessons learned.
  5. If you can’t find any lessons in the situation, speak with a trusted friend or colleague for guidance. Maybe it was just rotten luck! Maybe you were in the wrong job or working in the wrong company to begin with. Maybe this is actually a good thing and a great opportunity to move your career forward in a positive way.

Once you shift your energy from a victim mentality, you will notice a positive physical and emotional change. Now you are back on track and ready to attract new opportunities for your career.