I remember getting laid off from a job some years ago. It was just before Christmas and I was not a happy camper. At the time I remember being hurt, frustrated, and a bit shocked. I remember Chris was traveling for work in Turkey at the time and communicating with the time difference was complicated. The fact of the matter is that I wanted out, yet I had not walked away on my own. When things do not go the way that we plan, we fight back, get down on ourselves, and often wonder “why me?”
Yet, with hindsight we can often see the world with different eyes. Hindsight might take a few years, a few months, and sometimes with the smaller things just a few days. What matters is that we are able to reflect and see that where we end up is often so much better than where we were and that we learn, grow, and change as a result of these events in life. For me it was a job. For some it might be a marriage or friendship. For others maybe it is a health challenge.
I often think how we act and react in the world determines what our experience will be. I will give you an example. When I got laid off and had a few months of severance I could have relaxed and just kicked back. Instead I started this blog, I looked for jobs, and after three months landed a great one. Looking back though, yes I was successful in my endeavor, but the caveat was I did not take that time as downtime to explore and cherish that quiet time as much as I should have at the time. I was worried I would not find a job, that our income would be lacking, you know the list of things we tell ourselves.
I recently wrote about the book: “The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan. She writes about a job she herself lost and what her friend shared with her after the fact:
“’Your leaving was the best thing that could have happened, don’t you think?’ Walter asked. I looked at him in surprise, so he continued. ‘It didn’t make you happy at the time, but you would have been miserable staying there while he went off in all the wrong directions.’ Sometimes the simplest comment gives a new perspective.” Page 252
Kaplan is so right. Sometimes the smallest and largest things blow our life apart, and we are never the same, but often we are better for it. We just have to remember that sometimes life gets blown apart so it can be made even better.
We might all answer this question differently. What do you fall in love with? Maybe you might answer it with the person you love in your life and you think about how each and every day you fall in love with them over and over again. You might answer it in relation to the work you do and what a badass you are, by delivering kick ass delivery of _____ (you fill in the blank). Whatever it is that you continue to fall in love with, I hope you are falling in love each and every day.
“If we can fall in love with serving people, creating value, solving problems, building valuable connections and doing work that matters, it makes it far more likely we’re going to do important work.”
Gosh, if more individuals could think about our work, our day-to-day jobs and think about solving problems, creating value, and building connections the world would be a better place. I feel that is what I try to do each and every day. Maybe I sorely miss the mark, and maybe I am peeling back a layer of the onion to make things better. Sometimes it is hard to know. What I do know is that there are a plethora of problems to solve, from vast to tiny. If each day we continue to solve the tiny problems, eventually the larger problems are solved.
I feel most successful, most happy, and most inspired when I solve problems, create value, and connect with others. That is what the world is truly about – making change through people, resolution and, in the end, making things better for all. What is it that makes you passionate? What is it that you fall in love with again and again? Those are the things that you should continue to do daily.
The first day of school. It always had a degree of dread and a degree of excitement. What was my teacher going to be like? What would it be like to see and reconnect with different friends? How had people changed over the summer? How would we all fit together in this new year and new adventure?
The first day of school is very much like the first day of a new job. You may have no idea what your world is going to be like. While the job might be similar to your last role, the people, the leadership, and the team dynamics can make your day-to-day light years different. It is good for us to have these moments of change, newness and growth. That does not mean, however, that it is easy or that being the newbie comes naturally to any of us.
Just like the first day of school is like the first day of a new job, the bullying and politics that happen in school happen in the professional world. Individuals have agendas, sometimes you get picked first and sometimes you get picked last. There is competition, and sometimes that means that those you thought had your back, really do not. The only difference between school and a job, is being a kid and being an adult. Somehow we are all learning more about ourselves. What we are willing to stand up for and what makes us keep our mouth shut.
Since the school year is about to start, what are you going to do differently? Just because you might be in the same job for the last year or years does not mean you have to be stuck in a rut. Think of August as your new year. Who are you going to befriend or be less afraid of? Who are you going to stand up to? Get out your Trapper Keeper and start doodling. Come up with three ways you are going to change. Mine are:
_Listen more, talk less
What will yours be? Trapper Keeper, iPad, or old-school typewriter… make a note and decide: What are you going to stand for?