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The one question you need to ask after you’re fired

Joanna Weidenmiller, cofounder and CEO of 1-PageJoanna Weidenmiller, cofounder and CEO of 1-Page
Joanna Weidenmiller, cofounder and CEO of 1-Page

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you bounce back after getting fired?” is by Joanna Weidenmiller, cofounder and CEO of 1-Page.

In rowing, every millisecond matters. If one person pulls too hard, or not hard enough. If one oar drops in a moment too early. If your attention gets diverted. When I was a national college rower, my team and our timing together was everything. You couldn’t afford not to have your head in the game.

But what about when the game suddenly changes? When you’re dropped from the side? In these moments, how you respond is crucial. In life, the same applies. Getting fired from a job is a traumatic experience for anyone. But how you choose to respond will define you. As Lou Holtz, former Notre Dame head football coach, once said “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” So what’s the first step to bouncing back? Ask why. The people who struggle the most are the ones who can’t understand why their circumstances have changed.

See also: How to stay positive after getting fired

It may have been a factor outside of your control, but it might also have been because you weren’t in sync with the team. You missed a key milestone or let too many opportunities slide. In any case, asking ‘why‘ is the first step. The quicker you start tackling and turning the ‘why‘ around, the less likely you’ll slip into self doubt. And the hungrier you’ll become to get back in the game. Just like training, every day you lapse will make the next day’s slog harder. Get up at the same time as you used to. Keep the morning routine the same. Swap out the office for a coffee shop nearby, and make finding that next job your full time gig.

And finally, don’t forget your team. Your team is everything, and just as you rely on them to win a race, so should you to help get back up when you’re down. Go back through your contacts, and build a list that will equip you to get back on track. They might be old work colleagues, friends of friends or a previous manager. Spend 80% of your efforts on networking. At the end of the day, an unexpected firing can shake you to the core. But how you respond to that jolt makes all the difference. And if you choose to harness the burst of energy it creates? It can give you a powerful push closer to the finish line.

Read all responses to the Leadership Insider question: How do you bounce back after getting fired?

Never say this when an employer asks why you were fired by Clark Valberg, CEO of InVision.

Why this CEO won’t judge you for getting fired by Kevin Chou, co-founder and CEO of Kabam.

Why getting fired can be a good thing by Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow.