Steps to take when disaster hits your career or your life.

My career was now officially in a shambles. My boss was standing right in front of me wearing a very grim face. He had just told me that he no longer wanted me in his office, that I was a big disappointment to him, and that he would transfer me to any other location I chose as long as it wasn’t his office.

I was devastated. I had tried very hard to please my boss, but I just wasn’t able to. I could give you many stories and reasons for what had happened and why I was in this predicament, but that’s not what I want to discuss now. I’d rather discuss what I did going forward, making something good out of this horrible situation.

I will say, however, concerning the events leading up to this, that my career had been on the success fast track for 15 years, which was why I was in this man’s office. He was one of the most senior officers in our organization; a man of great influence and intellect, very successful in his own right. I earned my position with him, picked from a host of candidates to work for him. But it ended up going very wrong, as I’ve described.

What I Did Going Forward

I’d like to say that I had an immediate plan going forward, that it was detailed, well thought-out, vetted, but that would not be true. Here’s what I did:

1. Personal Support System. I ran to my wife and family. I shared my disaster. I needed time to process all of this, and my wife and family helped me tremendously expressing their love and support. My wife is my biggest fan, an experienced personal coach, my confidant, my strength. She spoke so much encouragement to me that after some time with her, I felt like I could now face the coming days whatever the difficulty.

2. Renewed Faith. I took time to process the situation, think about all the success I had achieved in my career thus far, and put things in perspective. I was not a loser. I was capable of great things. Because my family ‘put me right’ again in my attitude, I began to think rationally about myself and my future. As a man of faith, I also went to scripture and found incredible strength there. My faith in myself was renewed.

3. Evaluate The Situation. I now began to evaluate the situation and consider the various alternatives. My boss had given me an offer to move to another office. I did have other good friends within the organization who were ready to assist me. I knew of several projects that I’d previously thought would be enjoyable to pursue. I listed all the opportunities I believed were available to me.

4. Decide And Move Forward. After talking with my family, my friends at work, and a mentor, I made a decision and moved forward. I told my boss I’d like to move into a consulting position within the organization. He laughed at me and said, “Well, you just confirmed how stupid you are by choosing that position. You’ll go nowhere there. I gave you an opportunity to go anywhere and you chose poorly.” As surprising as that comment was, what surprised me, even more, was that I was unshaken by it. I was confident in myself and my choice.

The Result

So, what happened? The position I chose turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It lead to the formation of my own company, which became very successful.

If you are currently facing a disaster in your life or career, think about the things I did above. You can recover like I did. You might take a different path than I, but consider the recovery I made by running to my support system, renewing my faith in myself, stepping back and evaluating the situation, and making a decision to move forward.

What do you think? Leave me your comments below. Join my blog for future updates.


Author Wayland Coker

My goal is to help entrepreneurs learn as much as they can about themselves and their businesses, and the vital connection between the two. I don’t intend this to be a monologue, but a dialogue. Please give me your feedback in the comment sections located at the bottom of each article. I will read every comment and respond as I am able. I am looking forward to connecting with you!

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Joy Herzog says:

    Wonderful thoughts, Wayland ! In some of my greatest disappointments when my career took an unexpected direction, I found new horizons that I would have never considered otherwise. Learning from those hard experiences, I believe I began to carry myself with a little more humility and eyes and ears wide open, I am grateful for every one of those challenges.

    • Thank you, Joy. I’ve heard it said that you’re either winning or learning…never losing. Keeping a healthy attitude and perspective is critical. You are not your circumstances.

  • DeAnn Johnson says:

    Excellent writing! Words that I could have used! Words that I will use in the future! Thank you for having such insight and willingness to share!

  • I love what you said…I guess the key is, when you run to the support system you have to say the truth and be honest however hard it is.
    If you run to the support system blaming others for your situation then you are not going anywhere from there.
    I guess at that point in life, when you hit the rock bottom being gut wrenching honest is the key!
    I know i was there not long ago in life and i recovered exactly following the four steps you advised above.
    I had to keep talking the positive truths to myself every single day…
    Eg.: You are not a mistake,but you made a mistake ;
    You are not a bad person, but you made poor choices ;
    God sees the heart unlike men ;
    You are the child of God and He will never leave you alone ;
    God’s plans are greater than yours ;
    If you think you messed up your life, my beautiful friend you are not that powerful than God!