How to Let Failure Feed Your Soul

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

 

36 Comments
  • Nadege
    October 28, 2015

    And you are all back in track! Off course, my friend!

  • Ali
    October 30, 2015

    What an inspirational article – it’s not the way I’ve ever thought of failure but it’s a great way to think about it!

    • Rica Lewis
      November 2, 2015

      Yes, we have to change the way we think sometimes! Failure is a door slammed shut, but we can find the courage to open it and move forward.

  • Jessica
    October 30, 2015

    This was really beautiful. And a perfect reminder that you can learn and move on. Thanks.

  • Kim
    October 30, 2015

    I LOVE this…so glad you made lemonade out of lemons..you sound happy about your discoveries!!!

    • Rica Lewis
      November 2, 2015

      I’m feeling free right now, Kim. Thank you!

  • Christiana Doucette
    October 30, 2015

    thus is a tough time of year to lose a job. 2 years ago, after having just moved to a new state, having just finished the 90 days to qualify for healthcare coverage, and with a 9 month old, my husband quit his job. It was scary. He did have a choice. But the boss was abusively angry. He quit the weekend after the boss physically grabbed him.
    We questioned ourselves and if we had done the right thing moving to this new state away from close family and the tight network of friends we had. My husband started job hunting 8 hours a day. He read What Color is Your Parachute and I helped fix up his resumes. In two weeks he had had 2 job offers- better than the job he had been at. Reading the book had helped him realize how to articulate aspects of jobs that make his heart sing. And within a month he began working for a new boss in an awesome company with Great health coverage. We are so grateful for Gods provision for us. But we will never forget that first few days and hours of thinking “oh no. What am I getting into. Have I just messed up royally?”
    I hope you are able to find a job that will make your heart sing soon

    • Rica Lewis
      November 2, 2015

      Thank you, Christina! I’m so glad your husband got away from his abusive boss. What an amazing turn of events!

  • Caroline S.
    October 31, 2015

    Absolutely loved this post! I’m in the search for a full-time job and I am super weary of the places I am applying to. Only because I don’t want to end up in a position for a company that doesn’t excite me. I feel that even if we don’t pursue our passion in a career we at least still need to have some passion for our work. I hope that losing your job opens amazing doors for you. Thank you for bringing a positive perspective in my day by taking some time to write out a piece of your story in this post.

    • Rica Lewis
      November 2, 2015

      Thank you so much for your well-wishes, Caroline. I hope you find an amazing position that nourishes your soul.

  • Sam - Journo and the Joker
    November 2, 2015

    Great words. I don’t handle failure well – and some of it is just my own perceived failure. This is a great approach. We can’t all be good at everything, after all, so why waste time on the stuff we’re not good at and don’t like? Thanks for sharing your personal experience.

  • Liz
    November 2, 2015

    Thank you for sharing. This is great. I love your sons words to you, he must have a great mom!

    • Rica Lewis
      November 3, 2015

      Thank you, Liz! I hope I am a great mom. 🙂

  • Kaye
    November 2, 2015

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I was let go from a job I did love for having a baby (they don’t “do” maternity leave). Only no one told me until my sub started sharing with people that she would be keeping that position permanently. From that point I have had a rapid decline of confidence. I was entirely over qualified for that position but it was “safe” and kept me in a routine. I feel as though I hit walls constantly as I am trying to determine what my next step should be. I needed this encouragement today.

    • Rica Lewis
      November 3, 2015

      Kaye, I am truly sorry. Perhaps you can see this time as an intermission, and an opportunity to just let the the next best things reveal themselves in their own good time. Something amazing is on its way. Believe it!

  • Jardana
    November 3, 2015

    this post is so beautiful. I often find spirituality is in the darkness. You clearly are on purpose in your blogging!

    • Rica Lewis
      November 3, 2015

      Thank you so much, Jardana! I appreciate that. 🙂

  • Charli Mills
    November 6, 2015

    It’s also a strength to have the self-awareness and courage to write into one’s own truth. Creative and wise, someone is really going to appreciate what you have to offer a place of employment. Isn’t it wonderful when our children can reflect back to us the wisdom we try to share with them as we are growing and learning, too? A powerful post! I found it through #LinkYourLife.

    • Rica Lewis
      November 7, 2015

      Yes, Charli. It was an amazing thing to hear my kid offer me a piece of wisdom I’d once offered him. I guess they do listen…sometimes! Thanks for all your kind words here!

  • Danielle Thompson
    November 8, 2015

    Something I very much needed to read today. Thank you.

    • Rica Lewis
      November 8, 2015

      Glad I could help, Danielle. Thanks for reading!

  • Rhonda Swan
    November 8, 2015

    Wow…what a blow that had to be for you. I know that you will have the right things come along in the future. Keep it up and live unstoppable!

    • Rica Lewis
      November 8, 2015

      Thank you, Rhonda…or should I say “Unstoppable Mamma?” 🙂

  • Emily
    November 9, 2015

    This post is so uplifting and inspiring! I had a horrible experience at my previous job and it’s what pushed me to pursue what I actually love, helping people look and feel their best! This is your opportunity to let your bliss lead you!

    • Rica Lewis
      November 9, 2015

      Thank you, Emily. I’m glad you were able to find your way, and helping people is such a noble endeavor!

  • Heather
    April 16, 2016

    This is so important to remember. I experienced something similar last summer when I went after my dream job but didn’t succeed. It’s such an opportunity for growth.

    • Rica Lewis
      April 16, 2016

      Yes, it is Heather. All the best to you. And thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    April 17, 2016

    I love how your son responded, Rica. I’m sure you seen what he said come true. Here you are inspiring us all !

  • Faye
    April 21, 2016

    Love this! Failure IS just an event…. although I understand how hard it can be to convince the ego. Every door that closes leaves room for another to open. You spoke wise words to your son, and he back to you. A good reminder for me and all of us.

    • Rica Lewis
      April 21, 2016

      Thank you, Faye. My son can be surprisingly prolific–when he’s not taking selfies in the hall mirror. Ha ha! I appreciate your kind words.

  • Wendy Bottrell
    April 21, 2016

    Like the quote ” Failure is an event, not a person” such a great reminder. Thanks

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