I have been fired twice in the last 4 months because I am a leader. The manager that let me go from the second job actually told me that she needed a support person and that I was a “leader.” You’re fired!
Oooops… Fired for unauthorized leadership! Who would have thought of that???
Getting Over Some Hurdles
My family has experienced several major changes over the last couple of years. One of those changes involved the closing my real estate practice after many years. Another was my husband losing his job of 15-years do to downsizing. He had to move to another state without me where I was finally able to join him after 18 months.
This was all extremely difficult and very taxing on the whole family.
But I needed a change in my life. I was ready. I needed to start over.
Facing New Challenges
And with this new life came new challenges. It involved a lot of re-training and education. I needed a job to earn the money so I found a job with a brand new Home Care company. I was very motivated. I worked there for 5-months building their local office from no clients to 250-billable hours of work.
But when opportunity came to my door, I left that job for a better one in a doctor’s office.
When that did not work out, I was offered a job in a real estate office as the office administrator.
Just Trying to Help
For me both professionally and personally, I try hard to do my best and bring with it an attitude that reflects a great desire to help others become the best that they can be.
But unwanted “unauthorized leadership” has its consequences!
When my first “boss” called me in to her office, the Doctor, said:
“I know you are used to being the boss, but I am the boss and you need to just do your job.”
I remember thinking:
“What are you talking about, I am doing my job.”
There was nothing in my work that I was doing to “be the boss.” I had no desire to be the “boss!” In fact, my desire was quite the opposite. I wanted simply to be a productive, responsible, and helpful employee.
I took those jobs because I did not want to be “in charge” anymore.
Getting Past Difficulties
My life has been filled with some very difficult challenges. Some of these challenges could have provided me with excellence and justifiable excuses to give up.
But not me. I can no longer take the role of a victim. I made some decisions to succeed instead of fail.
I made a decision 30-yrs ago that I did not want to be a victim or depressed or any other term used by people to describe their lives. So I set out to do something about it.
Choosing the Path of Strength
I will say that it has been the most difficult choice I have ever made. I know from experience the difficulty of choosing to get up and move over sitting down and giving up.
I have done both. I prefer the first.
I am not a person that dwells on pain and difficulty but I am a person that has experienced both. I lived a childhood of multiple step-fathers and each had abused me in a variety of ways.
I did not want to accept that these experiences had made me a sad, angry, and depressed person, but the truth is they did.
- It was the discovery of this truth that moved me forward
- I chose to be a person with a purpose
- I wanted the things that had happened in my life to work to my benefit and to the benefit of others
Choosing the Steps to Take
Painful experiences, especially those that are inflicted on us at the hand of another can overcome us. They feel heavy and dark. The first thing we must have is a desire.
A desire to do something, anything to help ourselves.
It does not have to be something big, in fact it will be small and minimal until it grows and gets bigger. Step-by-step we move a little farther each day. And just like exercise builds our physical strength, mental and emotional exercise builds our brains.
We overcome weakness with our positive actions.
Choosing the Right Resources
I did not have any great teacher or person that said “Get going.” Sometimes, there are people that will be there to comfort us or times when they may even remove us from the situation if it is harmful.
And other times there may be no one.
I discovered that there are people who I have never met who have written their wisdom, guidance, and experiences to share with someone that is looking for a way to grow.
- I would find books, written by great leaders and read them
- I would think about how to apply their words to my life
- I would ask myself how could I use the things I read to move myself forward
- Then I would take action to apply it
Sometimes I was successful, sometimes not so much. I found that the key to continuing to move forward was not feeling like I had failed just because I did not get it right every time.
No one ever will. And no one expects that.
Choosing the Right Expectations
A perfect analogy is that of sending a 5-year old to kindergarten. When they came home on the first day, did you expect that they would know the entire alphabet and be able to read and write just because that is what the teacher talked about? Of course not.
So why would you expect that of yourself, and yet we do. Failure is only one thing to me. Giving up! Stopping with no intention of going on.
The only way to fail is to quit!
I believe that the experiences in my early life and even in my recent later life were unfair and wrong. They should never have happened. I did not cause them and I did not deserve them. Now there is one of my favorite words: Deserve.
I will just say this, I pray everyday, I NEVER get what I deserve.
Even though I had no input or control over the things that happened to me, I do have control over my response. And, with experience as the great teacher, I now have every control over what I do with those experiences.
And my greatest hope is that I can use them to grow and to strengthen others.
Even if it gets me fired. Twice again!
So, how have you taken experiences in your life and allowed them to positively grow you and not negatively impact you into a downward spiral? How have you overcome some small (or big) obstacles to help you become a better, more serving person? How can your leadership and level of influence grow when you decide to choose the right attitude, resources, and steps to take to overcome obstacles? I would love to hear your stories!
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Image Sources: 1.bp.blogspot.com
- Leave Your past where it belongs … behind You (simplymejustbe.wordpress.com)
- Lead With Your Heart, Not Just Your Head (blogs.hbr.org)