There are all sorts of failure–some people even get labeled as such. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would experience so many failures in my life, let alone in such close proximity to one another. In the last 12 months I have experienced the following failures: divorce, unemployment (due to layoff), foreclosure (which led to of course losing my home), another failed relationship, debilitating depression, living with my parents, bankruptcy, applying for food stamps, and last, but certainly not least, being fired. How you may wonder, could someone be such a colossal disaster? Well, for one thing, there seems to be a snowball effect with failure. My advice is to avoid any failure at all costs at the risk of multiple successive failures creeping in. I also have discovered (okay, it’s nothing new, but still….) another approach. Embrace the failure as a part of your big picture and see it for what it is.
I was fired recently from I job I hated. Or maybe more correctly, a workplace I hated. I rather enjoyed selling furniture, but I didn’t enjoy my obnoxious boss and disrespectful co-workers. I kept plugging away at it and trying harder because I was so determined NOT to fail again. I knew I could do that stupid job!! At first I sold tons, I was exceeding my coworkers’ numbers immensely, and of course, they didn’t like that. They started stealing, also known as “snakeing,” deals and making fun of me, it turned into some sort of junior high hazing nightmare. In truth, 2 degrees and a love for furniture and design do not a furniture salesperson make.
I simply didn’t know how to navigate the commissioned sales environment. Once co-worker competition and outright underhandedness factored in I lost my confidence. The result, of course, was terrible sales. It seems the harder I tried the less I sold. And so I was fired. At first, I was devastated. I pride myself in doing things well, in being great at whatever I’m pursuing, and I’m usually rewarded for this. I understood that this was not a case where that was true. I simply wasn’t selling enough and they were in business to make money, they needed someone else to sell their furniture.
My life coach recently pointed out that firing seems to happen when you failed to leave a job when it was time to go and so if you don’t go they’ll arrange an exit for you. Like a mother bird pushing her babies out of the nest sometimes we won’t go unless we’re pushed. There was absolutely no reason for me to stay in that God forsaken job, I kept hanging on hoping to get better, not wanting to admit defeat. The truth is the real defeat would have been to stay there. Being an especially great furniture salesperson would put me no closer to where I want to be in life than I already am. My energy needed to go elsewhere. And now it can.
The afternoon of my firing I was lamenting that all of my friends, family, and even my ex-husband were taking vacations at the beach and I was stuck in Ohio landlocked and unemployed. Then it hit me—there is a beach nearby. It’s not the beach, but it sufficed. The day turned into a sort of celebration of freedom. Suddenly I had a weekend off, which I hadn’t had in a long, long time. My boyfriend had come over to comfort me and we ended up having lunch with my grandparents and then spending the afternoon at the beach. In the evening we grilled out at my aunt and uncle’s house and as I drifted off to sleep that night I didn’t feel failure, I felt love.
It seems all of my recent failures are less failures and more of a nudge to hop out of the nest and see if maybe I can fly. Although the nudge isn’t fun I hope I can catch an updraft and soar to the next tree.