Being well during a job search - People's stories
#1. I worry I could be short of money
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Introduction - People's stories
All People's stories are written in the 1st person to reinforce their impact.
While anonymity is preserved, all stories are inspired by real facts.
People's stories are examples, to feed you with concrete cases of how the Puzzle has been used. They are not to tell you what to think, or absolute truth: they were created with the intent to illustrate how you can transform your life with the Puzzle.
Each People’s story is presented in the following way:
Part 1. The authentic life experience
Part 2. What that same moment could have been, leveraging the Puzzle
Part 3. Decoding the story through the lens of the Puzzle framework
Part 1 - I must earn an income!
I just learned that I am about to lose my job. This is catastrophic!! Worst thing that could ever happen!!
I am the main family provider when it comes to income: I must have a job!! This is not an option to be unemployed: how will I pay the bills!??!! There are a lot of rich people, but unfortunately I am not one of them! I have to work to earn a living. I really cannot afford not to work!!
I have looked at my bank account and I do have some savings, but not that much. Plus I do not want to touch them. These are for extreme cases, or even better, for when I retire!! If I eat all my savings now, what will happen then?? I will run out of money even more!
I know I will earn unemployment fees - but that is only a temporary solution. This is only pushing further the problem!! Once my savings and unemployment support stops, then what?! Then I will lose all what I have managed to build throughout my career!! I will lose my home, I won’t be able to afford holidays, I won’t be able to offer any presents to my kids any more, I won’t be able to eat out, I won’t be able to go to any show…. There are so many things I will no longer be able to do!! As a start, I will stop spending anything on myself, so I save more. And the family will be impacted too: this year I can’t spend too much on holidays.
My manager tells me I have a bit of time, as there will be a notice period plus I might earn a small amount of money as I leave. Still, this is not enough. What I need is a secured and steady income, month after month! I need this money!!! I cannot afford to skip months and expose myself and my family.
Also, I cannot stand the idea of waiting until my notice period ends to find a new job! I have decided to start looking without waiting. So I do my long days at work, and in addition I look for a job in the evening. I had to update my CV as this was not expected, and now I spend hours on LinkedIn - trying to make connections, looking for job ads and applying. This takes a lot of my time on top of my job, but it is worth it as I absolutely cannot leave this position without having a new one!! I sleep less and spend all my free time searching. The idea of finding a job obsesses me!! It is all that I can think of and do. I feel like I am already running out of time. I know this is irrational as I am still in my current job, but time flies!! Will very soon come the day where I am out, and then what?? I must find a job now!! I feel more and more stressed by the week, days, hours, minutes!! Time seems to accelerate!! Despite all my efforts, I haven't found anything yet, and being out of a job panics me!!
I have tried to read about all these theories to come down - like there is money everywhere, if you want to be rich anyone can. If you want a job, you will be offered positions - have faith! I came to the conclusion that rich people are writing these books to give themselves a good conscience!! It is so easy to think this way when you are wealthy already!! Opportunities just come at you. But this is not the case for me! I have to earn my money, and I work hard for it. I also want to be rich, but obviously it doesn’t work that way!! I’m just left with the problem.
Each time I open my wallet these days, it stresses me. I try to protect the kids from this tension, but I notice how spoiled they are. And I worry that I won’t be able to maintain our living standards any more. This is a big concern that I will not be able to protect them from poverty. I thought I had made it in life, and now all is jeopardized and has to be redone again! I find it so unfair that I am losing everything!! This is only a long way down from now on.
I think I need to lower my expectations. All that matters is that I have an income. I cannot afford to wait to find something at my level. I will go for more junior positions, less paid - and then I will make my way back up. Surely I could do a lot more, but this is not the point. I need the money. That is what matters. Ensuring I have an income, at any cost!
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Part 2 - I have enough money, and more will come!
I just learned that I am about to lose my job. This is catastrophic!! Worst thing that could ever happen!!
As I realised I was panicking, I asked myself what I needed: a deep breath came to mind. And that I was not alone, which thought really both touched and comforted me.
As I felt better, I thought to myself: certainly it was comfortable to have this job, but I have not really enjoyed it lately! How many times did I complain, or even thought of finding a new job? I took the opportunity to dream about my next job for a few minutes. How would this look and feel like?! What would this job need to have to make me love it?! And how would my life look like - more or less travels, home and/or office working, with or without a team, etc. I took the opportunity to imagine what my dream life would be. No guarantee of course that this could happen, but it just felt good to imagine and feel it! I wrote down that story, using the present tense - to condition my brain to believe that there could be a good future, as an alternative to all the horrible scenarios popping up in my head!
Still, the fact that it is not my choice was the hardest part to take – also as I was not prepared.
I could see myself retiring from this company. Instead, I was about to face major financial issues!
I am the main family provider when it comes to income: I must have a job!! This is not an option to be unemployed: how will I pay the bills!??!!
I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, and realized I was short of breath! I did not want to feel “short of” anything, because right now and right here I was still employed! There was nothing I was missing… yet! And while this was one of the many options that could occur, it certainly was not happening now!! I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and visualized that I was breathing in and out money. That there was wealth all around me, circulating and enveloping me. That I too would have a share of it. Then my Ego kicked in reminding me that this was all good, but what I needed was real money in my wallet - not imagining money!! So I had a chat with myself, and we debated!! I explained to my Ego that I needed its protection against stress, and that it should shield me every time I would have good feelings - so I could enjoy it. That I needed to feed myself with positive ideas and positive moments: to best protect me, my Ego had to look for these moments for me, and ensure I could savour them!
I have looked at my bank account and we do have some savings, but I do not want to touch them. These are for extreme situations!! Plus if I eat all my savings now, what will happen later?? I will run out of money even more! I forced myself to pause. Is this true? well yes!! Is this really true that I will have no money and have to reduce my life to the bare minimum? This is certainly a valid option. Is this the only option? No. Then why focus only on this option? …it seems the most likely to happen! Is this true? OK maybe not! Then why focus only on this option? Because it is the one I absolutely want to avoid. And what is it that I want to avoid? I don’t want to lose my job and be short of money. How do I feel when I have this sentence in mind? Terrible! Dark! What is it that I want instead? I want to be paid a lot for doing what I love! And how does that idea feel? Liberating! And is the job I have now a job I love and that pays well? I don’t love it but it does pay the bills. Could I have both? Can I quote 3 people I know or have heard of in the media that are paid a lot to do what they love doing! Steven Barnett, Tony Robbins, Oprah! So it is possible if some have it? Yes… And how does it feel to know it is possible, and not just in my imagination?! I feel hopeful. Dear Ego please shield me, so I can stay with this feeling!!
I am even saving more in anticipation for when these tough days come. I will stop spending anything on myself, and the family will be impacted too as I won’t spend too much on holidays this year. And then I realized what I was doing to myself. Right here and right now, I did not need to touch my savings or spend less, as I still had a job. And I did not need to save more, because I still have a job! Why pollute my life right now, for something that had not happened and may not even happen?! One problem after the other: right now, I do not have any financial issues… “yet!” added the Ego in my head! True, I might. But my Ego made it so that the problem is right in my face, taking all the oxygen away from me. But this is not real: this is only happening in my head. Right here and right now, I have money on my bank account, and some savings on top. I have time, despite what my Ego says.
My manager tells me I have a bit of time, as there will be a notice period plus I might earn a small amount of money as I leave. Still, this is not enough. What I need is a secured and steady income, month after month! I need money now!!! I realized that despite all my previous efforts, I was still panicking. And I did not want to live like this! Finding my new job could take time: I would not be able to take this pressure too long, or I would break!!
This overwhelming stress was so vivid that I had to admit it: I must have had a Cold Case. So I started digging to get rid of it. How is it to be short of money? My life is miserable! Everything is complicated!! And how is it when my life is miserable and everything is complicated? Then no one helps you. I am on my own. And how is it when no one helps you and I am on my own? Very sad and transparent. How is it when I am transparent? I am not good enough, and therefore I do not deserve any help! And how does it feel to be someone that is not good enough and deserve no help? It hurts so much I would give anything to make it stop!
So if I summarise, when I am short of money, it implies I am alone and no one loves me (else they would have helped me), and it hurts so much it is unbearable? Yes! So it is not just about the money, it is about what meaning I would put behind having money? Yes! And is this life of worrying that no one would help nor love me, what I want?! No!! Was it even true that I was all alone? No! Then what is it I want? I want love and help for myself. And beyond others, could I start helping and loving myself? Yes. How does it feel to be able to help and love myself? It feels joyful. It also feel liberating. Is it in my power to love and help myself? Yes. What do I decide? I will start treating myself today, and every day from now on. And where would this lead me? To loving and helping me. To finding a new job, and the money that comes with it.
I have tried to read about all these theories about abundance. Like there is money everywhere. If you want to be rich anyone can and it will be new wealth created (you are not taking it from someone else). If you want a job, you will be offered positions - have faith! I had my doubts, but I decided to give it a try! Afterall, what did I have to lose?! Being less stressed?! So I decided to pay attention to signs of wealth around me, to pennies on the road, to nice cars, people well dressed, beautiful jewellery, etc. I decided to cultivate the mindset of a rich person!! And each time I would acknowledge a sign of wealth around me, I would be grateful and acknowledge that money was getting one step closer to me.
I was also noticing more each time I would spend money. Yet, there also, I decided to change perspective. This is the power of words: I am not “spending” money, I am not “losing” money, I am investing! In my good health at the supermarket, in the well being of my kids with little gifts, in treating myself at the hairdresser, etc. All these investments were to allow me to live a good life, and sustain a strong moral. I might spend less, but each time I would, it would be a good and wise investment. And each good investment implies a return: as I keep my eyes open, I will notice it is happening. It can be monetary or take other forms: what matters is that all these investments are paying!
When the stress and the doubts come back - and they do from time to time!; I come myself down by being present. I ask myself what I need in the moment, and I also emerge myself into the bright future I have imagined, and how nice it is to be there. I give myself a break.
Then, with my batteries recharged, I shall go back to my search and find my next dream job!
Part 3 - The Puzzle decoder
Let's decode this People's story with the lens of the Puzzle pieces.
When I can’t help imagining one horrible scenario after another, I have given the reins of my life to my Ego. And as its role is to protect me from anything, it will just keep on inventing all what could go wrong and warn me about it - so I can take actions and ensure it never happens! Still, my Ego has no notion of time: everything is happening now and has to be solved in the second! That is why all this horrible future seems so real: it is made real by my Ego!!
And this is where I need to come back and be present. My Ego is in my head only. None of it is real, and none of it is happening now. Coming back to my body, breathing and focusing my attention on observing what is really going on around me does help. And I am not neglecting my Ego by doing so: it is present with me. It is observing with me, and ready to warn me if something is truly wrong! But there is no such thing around me in this moment. Remember that a risk is a potential problem - not an existing problem! An important nuance that my Ego is not able to make.
Also keep in mind that my Ego turns on the volume and takes all the space when it panics. And not being able to protect me is one of the two cases that puts my Ego on fire! If it happens, taking a moment and discussing with myself is valuable. I am hearing my Ego, I am just not aligned with all the pessimistic scenarios it is building for me. Having a conversation and repurposing how it can best protect me does help.
When my Ego is so strong, I usually discard my emotions and physical sensations. Up to, for instance, not even realizing that I am short of breath due to stress! One way to come down is to reconnect with myself, for instance taking time to take care of my body. It can be as simple as making myself a hot drink, or massaging my skull. I can also leverage my body to release stress doing sports or taking a walk.
By relaxing my body or enjoying some emotions, I am able to send other information to my Filter, to counterbalance the inputs from my Ego. Opening up for more options, and not solely focusing on a dark future.
Also, when I am not able to exit dark thoughts, it could be that I have a Cold Case to solve. If so, when the time is right, partner with my Ego: it will provide the strength and resilience I need. As I go through the questioning process, it is likely that I will end up on a topic that has little to do with my starting point. Don’t think too much, follow the flow and go to the roots of the issue – then free myself!
I can choose to set my Compass on feelings that are comforting. When my Compass is set on (ex) fear, I am 100% sure that my future will be horrible. Yet, how would I know what the future will be for sure?! And indeed, I don’t know either whether everything will go well. But not knowing for not knowing, there is one thing I can do: choose what to believe in the most. Choose to live with something that stresses me, or decide to stay with an idea that suits me. That is my call.
In moments of doubt, I can also protect myself by bringing up good memories – that I have lived, or inspired from the dream life I aspire to. And when that happens, my Ego can then protect me from distractions, so I can focus and recharge myself.
In great moments of stress, everyone pollutes themselves. It is a natural process my Ego triggers, assuming it is the best way to protect me. However, thinking of all the issues that could happen does not help: it only generates more stress. It does require discipline to catch that I am polluting myself and bring myself down to Earth – yet it is possible, and it is within my power to do so. Negative options are plausible, so are opportunities. Let’s not forget them too!
We all have the bias to notice what we deeply believe in. When I put pressure on myself, I need to make the conscious effort to look for something positive around me. Every day, several times a day. Boost my optimism by noticing the bright side of life too!
Also imagine what my life will be once I have overcome my challenge. And feel how it will be like. I do not know whether it will come or not. But if that life suits me in thoughts, why not imagine it could be real? If it is a good place to be, it is worth it!
Being positive about my future will help me relax, and as I relax I will be able to see opportunities. Changing my perspective to live well.