My career defining moment came on Dec 1, 2009. That day was supposed to be a little special. My team and I were looking forward to spending time with our boss who is based overseas. We were really psyched about seeing her. We had so many questions, and she potentially could answer most, if not all of them. So, on the day in question I followed my normal getting ready routine and hastily got on my way to the office to begin our week-long meetings.
Defining moment #1. Well, things kinda changed once I got there. See, my boss whom I was looking forward to seeing came to my cube, offered me a smile-less greeting and asked me to follow her (to HR). In the HR manager’s office, I sat across from my boss (with my mouth agape) and watched as her lips mumbled some incoherent words which I later surmised as her “we’re sorry but we have to let you go” speech. Just like that.
Seriously? I’d been with this company for 8 years. I’d worked my butt off starting on the ground floor achieving 3 well deserved and justly earned promotions along the way. All that gone… just like that. I must admit, that up until that particular moment,this job/this company WAS my knight on a white horse. And my knight had just thrown me off the horse’s back… quite unceremoniously I must add. What am I to do now? After all, I was comfortable here. This is where I “grew up”; where I matured as a professional; where I discovered my strengths and potential; where I’d been given opportunities to grow and to discover new abilities.
I now realize just how much of my identity was so intricately intertwined with this ‘great’ job of mine and this ‘wonderful’ company, so much so that losing the job totally upset my equilibrium and put my entire world in a tailspin. Suddenly everything was upside down and I now had to figure out how to fix things.
Defining moment #2. After much soul searching, I can to the realization that my destiny was in my own hands, and this was an opportunity for me to reshape my vessel and chart a new course. Looking to the “man on the white horse” was no longer an option. I need to tap into my inner self and capabilities to drive my own success. The stakes were much too high.
Make no mistake… these were some high stakes for me! My income was the main source of support for my family. At the time of my ‘separation’ the country was in the midst of a job crisis where thousands of jobs were being lost every day. Unemployment was steadily on the rise while the confidence of the jobless was in a steady downward spiral. Personally I had a mortgage, bills, and mouths to feed and suddenly I had no income.
Ladies (and gentlemen) let me say again, my knight had indeed thrown me off the white horse. I was bruised and bloodied and I needed to quickly find a way to make it back to safety or die in the wild!
Defining ACTIONS: So what gives? Well, I took a long hard look in the mirror and asked myself some tough questions. Two of these questions in particular were:
- How are you going to handle this?
- Are you going to let fear conquer and devour you or are you going to take charge and begin charting a new course?
I could have wallowed in self-pity and cried to the heavens “Why me Lord, Why me?” I could have let self-doubt take over and forget all the great talent that I have to offer, and bring to the table.
Instead, I opted not to give in to fear. I got up, dusted myself off and began charting my new course. I chose to focus on the fact that I AM a success, I AM smart, I AM capable, I AM strong and I AM wise. I decided to not be afraid, and to bravely step away from what used to be comfortable and begin writing the next chapter of my life.
There is no truism that is more true than this quote from Sir Winston Churchill:
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
Your path ahead is paved with insights and wisdom from others who have been where you are today, who have struggled to bring a dream to life, have endured their fair share of failures along the way but have always had the courage to get up and keep trying… keep moving forward.
Stop waiting for the knight on the white horse to show up and swoop you off to safety. Realize you already have within you the power to do for yourself what no one else can. Let your wisdom be your knight and your strength the white horse that will carry you to your future, the future that is destined for you! You can do it!