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.
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.
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