When Julie first sent me the Ottawa Citizen article that went out yesterday, I was so pumped! But reading the first sentence, I had an immediate jolt of adrenaline in my body...
Holy shit. Everyone is going to know I got fired... twice.
And now you all do.
So, what was it like to get fired, twice?
Really shitty. Especially because the first time, I had chosen to travel to Palestine to do a development project over filling out a spreadsheet of leads for a small research firm when I was 20. And the second time, I was in a role that didn't serve my spirit and potential.
It's the latter that was a real 'kick in the pants' for me. I had taken a job that had all the promise I needed, I had beat out 30-some applicants, and was coming in as the youngest out of that pool. It was a super fun, cool place, and it gave me the opportunity to move back to Ottawa and leave a role where I felt underemployed (but loved the kind of work I was doing). It was also my first full-time job out of university.
I really wanted the job, and my new trajectory to work out.
But it didn't. The company culture wasn't conducive to my work style, and I found I wasn't contributing in a meaningful way that makes me come alive and that benefitted the community I was serving. I was planning great events, keeping my energy up, and doing by best to keep up, but something wasn't right.
I remember feeling dread every time the elevator doors opened and I entered the space for work. But I didn't want to quit. I told myself I had to make it work. So I trekked along knowing my work was not 100% and feeling my boss begin to disengage.
I noticed myself getting phased out. In my role, I was supposed to be part of key community meetings, one-on-one's with key stakeholders, but the trust wasn't there anymore. My boss and I had mutually checked out from one another.
Then came the fateful day, I had noticed a meeting in his calendar with me that he hadn't informed me of. I asked about it and he deflected. He had a private meeting with my colleague earlier in the day, and I noticed she wasn't able to make eye-contact with me anymore. At the end of day Friday, we met.
He let me go. And it was the most liberating thing that I have ever experienced.
I left that day with a fire in my soul. I now had the freedom to pursue whatever I wanted and a chip on my shoulder to temporarily guide me. I had no idea where to start, but it began with a simple e-mail to all my contacts that would mark the official launch of KoMedia:
I set up my web-hosting that day, and created my official e-mail account @komedia.ca. It was so scary, but it felt so right. I didn't say I was fired, because, well... because. And I ended up having five clients in under a week.
My family resisted, they wanted me to apply for new jobs stat. I knew I needed time, I needed to process everything that had just happened. In a span of 10 months I had graduated university, moved to Toronto for a job that felt right at the time, moved back to Ottawa for a job that I thought I would be more fulfilled at, and I eventually got fired and started KoMedia.
To say I needed a break was an understatement.
But when life takes you on a ride, you do your best, and you show up fully. And that's what I did. I let that period of time suck. I let myself feel like a piece of shit, and I picked myself back up, one day at a time. And without that very formative experience, I wouldn't be here today, doing what I'm doing. Sharing this story from a place of power, instead of a place of embarrassment and shame.
These 'failures' were a critical part of me daring to dream and be audacious. I didn't want to work in space where I couldn't be solving massive problems everyday. Where I couldn't be my highest expression of myself, and where I couldn't make world-changing impact like we are doing with Dream, Girl.
That former life wasn't enough for me anymore.
So yah, I did get fired twice. But along the way, I became a force of a human. No person, no boss, and no ego will ever hold me back from making my dreams come to life. They never have, and they never will.
So, take your failures in stride, but know that there's always tomorrow. There's always another round to show up for and to fight through.
And to those of you who look to entrepreneurship as your saving force in life, I have this insight to share from a dear friend and mentor who I was chatting with this morning:
"Being an entrepreneur is not about not wanting a regular job or a boss, it's about solving a problem for society. And when you go for it, and hold yourself to your own standards and expectations, it's worse than any boss in the world could ever be. Because when you let yourself down, there's no running away from that."
You see, if you go down this path with all your heart, and with a true intention of service, entrepreneurship is worth it and the previous failures don't matter anymore.
If fact, they become an integral part of your roadmap to success.
So yes. I was fired... twice. And I wouldn't change a damn thing.