I was asked recently what one of my most embarrassing moments was. And had this been a few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have shared it. But I’ve come so far with my own personal development, especially in these last few years, and I’ve really come to acknowledge and appreciate the lessons that I’ve learned from the situation. Actually, I’m not embarrassed at all by it anymore, and I realize now that I learned so many lessons from the experience that really have shaped me into who I have become.
I thought I would share that with you in honor of my 50th podcast episode today!
Let me share my experience with you...so that hopefully, you can apply the lessons to your own life, or use my bad experience to help you never have to go through it yourself.
Listen to Episode 50: A Defining Moment in My Life on iTunes, Spotify or Podcast Addict or click here. http://bit.ly/CHANGEbyCHOICEpodcast
Here’s the condensed version of the story.
My most embarrassing and defining moment?
I got fired.
At the age of 20 or 21, this people-pleasing, overachiever was FIRED. At the time, I was too embarrassed to even speak the words “fired”. I didn’t even want to admit to myself that was what had happened.
When I was 19, I went to design school with dreams of becoming a fashion designer. I loved every moment of the experience; the people, the work, the creativity, the fact that I was finally successful in school. When I graduated, I got an internship working for a huge manufacturing company in Canada. It was my first real career job; I was naive, I was a people pleaser and I really lacked a lot of skill and experience. But what I lacked in experience, I made up for with ambition, passion and work ethic. Within a couple of weeks, I was offered a job as a merchandising assistant.
I loved the work I was doing, but worked with an incredibly difficult boss (think Meryl Streep from the Devil Wears Prada). So when the opportunity to move to a different position came up, I took it. Here’s where the pivotal moment happened. They offered me two positions: a production assistant or a design assistant. Every ounce of my being wanted to take on the design assistant role; I could work with some of the best designers in the company, I could be creative and I could put my passion to work every single day. It was aligned with my passions and my strengths and just thinking about it got me so excited.
Sounds like a no-brainer decision. And the me I am now would have taken it without hesitation.
But the 20 year old me? I followed my brain and my practicality instead of my heart. Now, that approach works really well in certain circumstances; that’s the tricky and fun part of life is knowing when to follow your head and when to follow your heart. In this case, I made the wrong call. I took the other job because I thought it would be better experience, would look better on the resume and would build up the skills and assets I thought I needed.
It was absolutely treacherous. First of all, I worked alone; and if you know me, you know I’m a huge people person. I had zero room for creativity or passion. I dreaded every single moment. I had zero ambition to do the work, let alone do well at the work. I did not hold myself to a high standard and it started to trickle into my personal life; I stopped caring about my health and well-being just like I had stopped caring about my job. I was drowning in the position and in my life, and they noticed and they fired me. Should I have quit? Yes. Did that make getting fired any easier? No.
Lesson 1 - Everything connects.
We can’t compartmentalize; we can’t be so miserable in one aspect of our lives and NOT have it trickle into every other area of our life. We try not to, but we just can’t do it. Especially when the thing you dread most is what takes up the most hours of your day. If you’re feeling really stuck or unhappy in a certain situation in your life right now, take a minute to really think about how that is affecting your other areas of your life. Eventually, that dread turns to misery and that misery turns to stress; and stress is toxic on your physical and mental health. It all connects. That’s why taking all the steps you possibly can, to put yourself in all the best possible situations in your life, is so important. It’s why working on building a strong mindset is so important; to help you transition and navigate through those tough times so that you can make it out the other side.
Lesson 2 - Courage is everything.
When I took the production assistant position, the practical side of me took over. Sometimes that approach is best, sometimes it’s not. That’s part of navigating through life is sometimes learning those lessons the hard way and through making those choices. The lesson I learned here is NOT that I should have listened to my heart and taken the other job. The lesson is that I quickly realized that the job was NOT for me, and yet I allowed it to destroy me. I stayed for a long time, doing crappy work and living a life that was not my best. I was not courageous enough to leave the situation I was in, even though I knew what it was doing to me.
Courage is everything; in High Performance Coaching, we spend a lot of time discussing courage because courage is how you face challenges, it’s how you achieve your goals and it’s how you live your best life. It’s like a muscle; you need to build up and work on your courage. At the age of 20, I didn’t have any. I didn’t have the courage to step up and make the decision that needed to be made. And I suffered a lot because of it.
Lesson 3 - How are you showing up for YOU?
The majority of our lives is spent working and sleeping. If you are spending your life working in a place that is not aligned with the best of you, that makes you miserable and full of dread each day...give yourself a shake. You do not get that time back. I was in that position for a relatively short period of time, but had I not gotten fired, I could have been there a lot longer. And that’s the sad reality for many people; they lack the courage or the clarity to make the tough calls so they stay. Is it worth it? How is it affecting everything else in your life? Are you showing up for YOU and taking care of yourself?
Lesson 4 - Let go of your pride.
After I was fired, I first went home to take over our family restaurant until we sold it. I wasn’t ready to root myself in and stay in my hometown. When I moved back to Vancouver, I got a job working for Lululemon Athletica. They had just three stores at the time, and I thought I would just work there until the “right job” in fashion came along. My role at Lululemon evolved into a position of developing out teams and people; and I absolutely loved it. I loved being able to marry team operations and personal development and really started my own path of personal and self development. I began to realize that although fashion design was a passion of mine, it was not meant to be my career. Working with people and teams? That was my thing. The best decision I ever made for myself was letting go of my pride. I had told countless people that I was going to become a fashion designer. I had to let go of the pride that would come with admitting that I just wasn’t the right fit for that career and I had to be okay with that. Had I not taken on that opportunity with Lululemon, and had my ego stood in the way because I was waiting for a “better job”, I would have missed out on what ultimately was an opportunity that changed the course of my entire life.
Think of your life. Do you have moments where you’re being guided a certain way or being offered a certain path? Are you feeling stuck where you’re currently at? Do you feel defeated and miserable in your job?
What is leading your decision making right now? Your head or your heart? Do you lack the courage to step up and make a choice? Maybe you lack the clarity on how to actually move forward or make a change? Are you paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong choice, that you’re not making ANY choice?
Only you will know what is coming up for you right now. As always, sit with those feelings and journal. If you want some help moving forward, come join my monthly program. You get an in-depth themed magazine each month and a 90 minute training call and Q&A with me each month. Check out the details here to join the EDGE Insider and get in there in time for our June training call: https://charlotte-ferreux.mykajabi.com/p/theedgeinsider
Hopefully this helps you start to move forward in an area or just dig into an area, a relationship or a job that isn’t aligned for you. You can’t keep pushing it aside because it’s slowing chipping away at you. The time is now.