A little over a year ago, I was fired. Why am I telling you this? Simple. We ALL fail, and like most impactful events in one’s life, the experience can leave a person feeling isolated. Whether it’s a failed marriage, business venture, career path that never materialized, or a job; failures happen. The reality of life is that it never, and I mean NEVER, goes according to plan.
The reason I lost my job was simple – I just wasn’t good enough. So while I agreed with my boss’ decision and left on good terms, I still had a gnawing feeling of self-doubt. How had I failed at something I was supposed to be good at?
With every failure comes wisdom. It’s important to understand what went wrong and why. Asking these questions of ourselves is so incredibly difficult. It means admitting our faults. For me it meant admitting that I had been so enamored with a change of scene that I willed myself into a job that wasn’t right for me, nor me for it.
And then there was the isolation. It seemed as though everyone around me was doing fabulously well in their jobs yet there I was, collecting unemployment, fearful I would never find fulfilling work again. It took a phone call from one of my dear friends to shake me out of my wallowing. My friend’s marriage was failing; divorce on the horizon. She too, felt isolated, so she reached out to talk about it. I in turn did the same with my family. The moment I did, I felt such relief. No longer did I have to carry this burden of my failure all by myself. I was no longer alone.
When failure hits us it can be difficult to admit to others that we’re scared. What we will do next? How will we get there? We feel lost. It’s okay. Let me repeat this, because it’s really important. It is OKAY to feel lost. It is okay to have these questions swirling around your head. It’s dizzying, but necessary. Let those questions wash over you, because success is just a failure away, if you let it.
Success comes in the form of understanding where we went wrong and working to improve for next time – whether ‘next time’ is a new relationship, job, or career path.
Optimism is hard work, but it’s worth it. In the months following the loss of my job I took a step back and decided what I truly wanted for myself, and I’m very content with my decision. And while I’m still in a state of transitioning, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time and am looking forward to the next stage of my professional career.
So, whoever you are, I need you to know that you are NOT alone in your failure. Please don’t let it define you. Let it guide and strengthen you. I’m a proud failure. I hope that you will be one too.