A month ago I got fired. Not from a job (that’s one of the perks of working for yourself–you get immunity from being fired). No, I got fired from a romantic relationship. Once it happened, it was obvious that doing what I’d been so committed to doing was way off course for me personally. But I had to get fired to learn that. And that got me thinking about getting fired in general.
Sometimes, the firing really isn’t fair, right, or reasonable. Those are really hard to get past because the hurt seems so legitimate. But most of the time, getting fired also means that what you were doing was not a good fit for who you are. Perhaps it was a matter of skills. Perhaps it was a matter of personality. Perhaps it was a matter of motivation. Perhaps it was a matter of morals (and yours may have been higher than theirs). Regardless, it was a case of a bad fit.
I will not pretend this is easy. Your ego takes a massive hit, and you may end up asking yourself “Am I good for anything?” The answer is YES. And that’s the beauty of getting fired. That event removes the major obstacle to finding the right place to be…the right work, the right “significant other,” the right group of friends, whatever you got “fired” from. Getting fired from what really wasn’t a good fit for you gives you a wide open shot at finding what is.
It’s embarrassing to get fired though–especially for those of us who joined the workforce when it was pretty rare and usually the result of flagrantly bad behavior when it did happen. But embarrassment is temporary and the opportunity that results can make a huge positive difference for the rest of your life.
So back to my own recent firing…
Since that event, I have rediscovered myself in numerous delightful ways. I have more energy. I get up excited about the day and spend it trying to make a difference somehow. I have reconnected with an unexpectedly large number of people I’d lost track of for the sake of “the relationship.” I am doing things my way and loving the space I’m in as a result. I am connecting with nature when I am out in it (instead of worrying about “keeping up” or “why isn’t he talking to me?”). I am more alive. Far more alive.
That potential resides in every firing-even if it looks bleak beyond words. Sometimes, the Universe gives us a good swift kick instead of a gentle nudge. It’s time to do something different. When that’s the case and you don’t get on with that yourself, you just might find yourself fired. Be grateful. It offers a ton of potential for being something much, much better.
Mary Lloyd is a writer and speaker and author of Supercharged Retirement: Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love. For more, see her website.