Last week I got an email from an intern who worked for me back in 2000 and I hadn’t been in touch with since. She told me she had just written an article for SUCCESS.com and wanted to dedicate it to me.
My heart dropped into my stomach. I know it wasn’t an homage because I fired this girl 14 years ago. I read the headline, “6 Reasons I’m Thankful You Fired Me” and my anxiety heightened. What had I done to this poor girl? Did I scar her for life?
As I read her revelations, I realized she wasn’t bashing me. She really was thanking me. I guess I wasn’t prepared to have a The Five People You Meet in Heaven moment right here on Earth.
The piece serves as a great reminder that we win when we choose to use the hardships in life for good. It’s like what Joel Osteen says: “Every setback is a setup for a comeback.” And this is, of course, only possible if we take responsibility for our choices, much like my intern did at the time.
She could have held a grudge against me for making the decision I did. She could have been bitter and angry, and blamed me for her misfortune. Instead she decided that, as hard as it was to look at herself and take note of her flaws, she wouldn’t look away. She took the time to understand the grounds for her termination and learn from them so that it wouldn’t happen again in the future.
This remarkable woman wasn’t the only one who learned from that experience. That situation taught me about leading, managing people, communicating more effectively and setting clear expectations. And the only way to fix our flaws is to face them.
After reading her blog, I emailed her, and we chatted back and forth a bit. I told her that I was impressed by her self-awareness and maturity and loved how she was using her turning point to inspire and help others.
Now we’re back in touch, and who knows what will come from this rekindled relationship?
What experiences have you been through that changed you for the better? Is there someone you want to reach out to and thank for firing you? Dumping you? Hurting you? I’d love to read your turning-point stories in the comments, so please share.
Remember the things in life happen for us, not to us. If we can remember that while we’re going through rough times, we’ll come out on the other side better for it.