No, this isn’t a story about “Ahnald” and the classic Terminator films of the 1980s. This is a story about perspective.
I was “fired” from my job on Friday.
It started out as a typical day. Worked out in the morning. Got the kids to school. Prepared for a few customer meetings. But just as I was about to head out the door, I received the following e-mail (paraphrased):
Robert Clark, Employee 8642, is scheduled for termination. Deactivate all systems.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
It had to be a hoax. Things were going well. All was positive. Could it be?
I was running late. I deleted the e-mail and put it out of my head.
But just after my meetings, I tried to make a call on my cell and it didn’t go through. Hmmm. Must be in a dead spot. Then I noticed I hadn’t received an e-mail in over an hour. Gulp. When I got back to my laptop, I tried to login but was locked out. And so it goes.
I wasn’t angry or bitter. I was simply numb. But then, my brain kicked into action. What went through my head at that time?
I should have had a backup plan.
I need to provide for my children.
Where am I going with my life?
What is most important to me?
Other than this incident, my life is pretty good.
But before I could get too far with my new plans, I needed some kind of closure. I called my boss (from a land line!) to get an explanation. He didn’t know anything about it and promised to get to the bottom of it.
Our executive admin did some expert digging and 15 minutes later came back with the answer.
It was a mistake.
Employee 8643 was scheduled for termination. Not me. Apologies all around. Holy…
A massive wave of relief rolled over my body (But poor 8643!). Deep breath. And quickly relief was followed by glorious perspective.
I had been given an incredible gift: The opportunity to get “fired” and prioritize my life without actually getting fired!
And how many of us could benefit from a similar dose of perspective in our own lives?
Where Are We in Our Careers?
Our circumstances don’t have to be that dramatic. But once in a while, it is a healthy exercise to step back and assess our situation.
Am I happy in my job? Does this role maximize my strengths? Do I see continued success in my position?
If the answer is yes, fantastic! We need to pour all of our energy into crushing it.
Now we can dig in to maximize our productivity and satisfaction. What skills do we need to take the next step up the ladder? How can we expand our brand within the company? How can we solidify internal partnerships and relationships? We aren’t going to advance by accident. We have to be intentional about our next steps.
If the answer is no, that is okay. What is our backup plan? How do we make that transition? How do we ensure we remain good teammates while exploring our next passion?
We can’t always just keep our heads down and “plug away”. The ground is shifting all around us. We have to take control of our future.
What About Our Personal Lives?
The same is true in our personal lives. Are we satisfied with our relationships? Do we have our priorities straight?
If the answer is yes, outstanding! Now we have to maximize our happiness. What can we do to make our relationships even closer? What areas can we improve upon? What steps do we need to take to ensure we still make the right decisions?
Left unguarded, relationships and priorities can slip over time. It takes hard work and a solid blueprint to keep our personal lives on track.
If the answer is no, we need to be prepared for a change. Perhaps our relationships are chaotic and damaging. Perhaps we are not adhering to the proper priorities in our life. Everything may be a mess.
Okay, it’s time to get to work. Do we need to cut bait? Do we need to dramatically change our habits? Either way, things aren’t going to get better unless we are proactive. We can’t afford to get caught off guard. Preparation and perspective offer us some control.
We Need to Bulletproof Our Lives
We can get blindsided at any point in our lives. But we don’t have to let these tough moments define us. We have to be intentional. We have to be active. We have to defend what is truly important in our lives.
In order to stay resilient, we have to expect the best but be prepared for the worst.
Life is not something that happens to us. We are in control.
It’s all good. Employee 8642 is bulletproof. Aren’t we all?
Until next week, keep smiling!