As we get older and experience more we become wiser.
We understand that when things are going brilliantly, that it might not always be that way. Or that when the chips are down, they will come up again.
Experience tells us that life moves forward. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger may be a cliché, but it’s true.
Sometimes you have to go through something painful in order to truly understand this. You have to be knocked down in order get back up.
I was reminded of this last week in a very surreal way…
4 years ago I was fired.
It was brutal, unexpected and quite frankly, terrifying.
I’d been working for a company for 6 years and was steadily progressing up the corporate ladder.
I liked my job. I liked the company I was working for. I liked my colleagues.
Then one day I was taken into a meeting room in a different building, sat down in front a panel of 2 people from HR and a director and was ‘dismissed with immediate effect’.
The floor instantly rose to my stomach and the sound my own heart beat crashed loudly in my ears as the reality of what had just happened hit me.
Due to poor judgement on my part (for making inappropriate comments on a group instant message channel) some months previously, I was now dealt the ultimate consequence.
I was taken back to my desk to get my bag and coat, asked to hand over my building pass and was escorted out of the building.
I was gutted. I stood there with the dismissal letter in my hand and tears in my eyes and cried.
Everything was going so well that I’d become complacent. I lost my focus and cocked it right up.
The carpet had been ripped from under my feet, and I now stood, shell shocked, on the concrete pavement not knowing which way to turn.
The next few days were, well, awful.
I thought I’d never find another job. That I’d lost the friendships of my colleagues. That the respect of my wife and family was gone.
Luckily those negative thoughts never came true. I did find another job. I’m still in touch with some of those colleagues, and my wife was at my side through the whole ordeal.
Last week I was asked to attend a client meeting for my current employer. I didn’t pay much attention to the location at first, but soon realised it was being held in the building where I was fired 4 years previous.
When we arrived I felt a bit uneasy , but when we got out of the lift on the same floor, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable.
I immediately remembered the meeting room where it all happened and with relief spotted it on the other side of the building. But, as we tried to locate the room number for our meeting we edged closer and closer until we stood right outside and the client said ‘ah – this is the one’. I hesitated as the others walked in and sat down. I was starting to feel flushed, so I took a breath, braced myself and walked in. The only chair left was the same bloody chair I had sat in 4 years before.
A bead of sweat escaped down my cheek.
But this time I didn’t get fired, and 30 minutes later I walked out of that room with huge relief and a smile on my face as rather than my building pass it was a business card I handed over.
Obviously this bizarre coincidence of having been sat back in the very same chair made me reflect over the situation and the journey of the last few years.
It reminded me not to get complacent when things are going well, to be grateful for what you have and to remain focussed and professional in order not to cock up.
It also reminded me that whatever life throws at you, whenever the shit hits the fan, however awful things may seem, to remember that it won’t be like that forever.
Just keep plugging away and keep positive. You will come out of it a better person, because life moves forward, and what doesn’t kill you definitely makes you stronger.
[Tweet “You can’t make a rainbow, without a little rain”]