Five Strategies for Moving Beyond the Election


How am I dealing with the outcome of the election?

I’m continuing my post-election strategy to stay insanely busy, completely self-absorbed, and intently focused 24×7 on writing, recording, my kids, and business. (Here it is Sunday afternoon, and I’m writing this).

Obviously, there are many people very happy with the election results – however I am not one of them. On November 9th I honestly felt similar to the shock I felt in New York City on 9/11.

Prior to the election, I was obsessed with Google News, The New York Times, Washington Post, New Yorker, Five-Thirty-Eight, Politico, The Hill, Cook Political Report, Talking Points Memo, HuffPo… you get the idea. Spending way too many hours nervously… clicking. Since the election, I have tried to completely tune out. No NPR, no cable news, nothing.

Since the election, there have been a number of thoughtful articles targeted to HR leaders and recruiters. Here’s a small sampling.

TLNT: How President Trump Is Likely To Impact HR
Daniel Schwartz: What a Trump Victory May Mean for Employers and Employment Law
Workforce: How Do We Heal at Work After This Election Season?


Imagine That! Book Cover
Imagine That! Book Cover

Looking for some solid advice and coping strategies to confront my shock and disappointment, (let’s face it, ‘tuning out’ is not a strategy), I contacted my good friend James Mapes. We had been planning to get together to record an interview regarding his new book, IMAGINE THAT! Igniting Your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance. In the interview, he shared with me five strategies that can be used for dealing with loss, change, and highly stressful events.

1. Identify your emotions. Now that sounds simple, but it’s not that simple because a lot of people act out of their emotions. When they act out of fear (which always turns to rage or anger or depression by the way), then you don’t identify the emotion. Now why identify the emotion? Because once you do actually identify it sit and ponder, write it down, “this is what I feel,” it starts to diminish the hold of the emotion which allows you to think more clearly

2. Understand that your in control of letting go and that a question to ask yourself in step two is, “what’s the payoff for me holding onto this rage and anger?” What’s the payoff?  What do I get out of it?  Because I’m telling you if you’re holding on to something you get something — there’s a payoff. That could be being “right.” Identify that, and the hold loosens a little more.

3. Recognize you actually are in charge of letting go

4. Here’s a fabulous little exercise. Anyone can do anytime to reduce stress.  And that is to write down a list of everything that’s bothering you at the moment. So you just list… say I list 10 things. Take a breath go back cross out everything you have no control over. And immediately, that reduces all this angst and stress more because, I believe, we spend a majority of our time trying to control the uncontrollable, including other people’s beliefs. Then your circle everything you have control over.

5. The fifth step is tougher — that’s forgiveness. Because most people don’t understand what forgiveness is. They think by forgiving you can condone bad behavior — nothing to do with it! Forgiving means you forget — nothing to do with forgiveness. In fact, forgiveness is the most selfish act in the world!  I always say how can you ingest poison and expect the other person to die? So harboring these kinds of toxic feelings of revenge has little or no effect on those with whom we are angry. All we’re really doing, then, is hurting ourselves.

You can listen to the complete interview with James Mapes on TotalPicture Radio.

Author: Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton is "Chief Jobcaster" at He is an award-winning producer/director of corporate marketing videos and podcasts. Peter is founder/host of TotalPicture Radio, focused on talent acquisition, HR, TA tech, and leadership.

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