I was fired from my job. Not for lack of effort or enthusiasm; not because I was tardy or talked with my mouth full of food. I didn’t do anything obnoxious, offensive, or ridiculous. It was business. Immediately after that uncomfortable conversation with my boss, who was so damn cordial, kind, and apologetic, I called my son. Here’s what I said as I loaded the car with my files:
“Never be afraid to admit that you failed. Never be ashamed to admit sh*t went south. If you did your best…don’t be afraid.”
I said those words because I needed to hear them, not because I felt fearless or unashamed in that moment. Also, I wanted my kid to remember that failure does not define you. With tears tumbling down my cheek and that feeling you get when the lights go out, I started the car and drove home in a daze. And just when the what ifs started sprouting in my mind, my phone buzzed. A text from my son appeared: Everything you need will come to you at the right time, mom. And that’s when I realized that it would, and that being fired was not a kick in the pants from the universe. It was an affectionate thrust in a different direction. It was mama bird shoving baby out of the nest. Because that job was someone else’s work. It was not my path, not my passion, not even my area of expertise. So why did it feel like a loss?
Because my ego said so.
I spent the next few days resisting the urge to feel shame. I even told my guy not to tell a soul, because being fired is not glamorous. For a moment I worried about judgement, about those slight brow raises you get when something’s peculiar. If she’s so great, then why’d they give her the ax, they might ask. Yes, it took a few days for my self-esteem to return. I do believe I packed it up with my files when my employer showed me the door. But it came back, baby. And this post is about honesty, and if I am anything at all, I swear it’s transparent. So here’s my story, the tale of my struggle from a low pit of disappointment to the life that I’m currently loving. Here’s how I let failure feed my soul…
How to Let Failure Feed Your Soul
Is there a pattern that keeps repeating itself, or some subtle message you keep seeing? In my case, there was this: I was working in a field that I didn’t love, doing a job that was not well suited to my strengths. It was the equivalent of walking around with muffin top and a pair of shoes that pinched my feet. Not literally, but figuratively. The job just didn’t fit.
In the last conversation with my boss, he said “I fought hard for you in the corporate meeting, but the numbers are down and we’re bleeding money from this office. You’re so creative, you’re so full of potential, but we’re out of time…”
“Creative,” he said. I’ve heard it before and it was not some fluff he was using to pad the blow. I am creative. I have always been told that. So why was I working in a field where creativity wasn’t part of the job description? Upon asking myself that question, I could only come up with this: I wasn’t being true to myself. I was not honoring my gifts, or accepting my weaknesses. I am not equipped to do everything, but I was created for something amazing. So I sit here fully accepting and admitting to the World Wide Web that I was fired once… and that’s just fine.
Someone wise said, “Your career does not have to be your calling.” But it should be something you enjoy, something you’re good at, and something that suits your needs. I hope this post helps you see that, if you didn’t before. And if by chance you’re feeling low for some failure, it’s time to shake off the shame.
Mantra: Failure is an event, not a person ~ Zig Ziglar