Survive or Thrive Part 3 – “No Permission Asked!”
Funny thing about change. Whether it’s good or bad, it doesn’t ask for permission to show up. Just open the paper or watch any newscast and you will see someone winning the lottery alongside someone losing a child to a horrible tragedy. Someone finds the love of their life, while someone else has a broken heart due to a failed relationship. Change happens, and it doesn’t ask for your permission.
Sometimes hardships arrive in waves. Sometimes they are big problems, and sometimes they are small and accumulate quickly. I remember a time when a friend had taken over the payments on my car with the expectation that once the note was paid I would sign over the title to him. Now—surprise!—after a year this person decided he didn’t want the car anymore, broke his agreement, and dropped the car off at my office. As I was driving home in a car that I couldn’t afford and needed desperately to sell, a rock bounced off a construction truck and hit my windshield leaving a huge crack. Minutes later while filling up the empty tank with gas, I noticed the driver’s rear tire was flat. I found an air compressor and scrounged around for fifty cents in the bottom of my computer bag. When I deposited
my money, it didn’t work. And I didn’t have another fifty cents. So, I decided to change the tire. However, when I checked the spare tire, it was flat, too. All these irritating problems in the midst of
bigger problems surfaced in a matter of a few hours. It seems like a little irritation now, but at the moment it was a small storm to me. Could life get any more challenging at this point? Challenges come in waves.
I had been through challenges before. I recall another situation that happened just before I started my own consulting firm. A former boss started a company not too far from where I lived. His company was a new start-up, only two years old. We had become reacquainted while I was doing a contract job for another company. My old boss’s company had a service we could use for the contact customer.
In the process of getting the two companies working together on the project, I was offered a full-time job with both companies. Both had good offers on the table for employment. However, I felt more loyalty to my old boss since we had a long history. He needed my expertise and assistance, and I was glad to help. I felt it was a wise and good move—and a company that I could stay with until retirement. I ran my decision by others just to make sure I was making a wise move. I had looked at the company and its current challenges, asked a lot of questions, and felt I understood the present challenges. I accepted the position with the hope of having a long, profitable future with them.
Then, a change occurred. After just three months, the company’s investors pulled their support. I was faced with being laid off along with over two hundred other people. To make things worse, I was laid off at the end of November, with Christmas just around the corner. My loyalties to my old boss resulted in no severance pay and travel expenses that were unlikely to be reimbursed. My financial situation was desperate. Christmas was twenty-five days away. I had enough financial resources to cover the first-of the-month bills and get us through December 15. I was angry and felt stupid and used. How could this happen, and why at this time?
Telling my fellow employees that everything would be OK felt good at the office water cooler, but when we parted, I was still left with the harsh realities that in fifteen days there would be no money. That night I remember lying in bed, paralyzed by fear. One part of me said, “You can’t get another job in two weeks; it will take too long. You will never, ever make it. What a loser you are.” I told myself, “You did all the right things, looked at the company, asked the right questions, and sought wise counsel. And look how things turned out. God, you must hate me. Well, I hate you too.” At the same time, another part of me was thinking, “What did I learn from this? I have gotten out of tight places before. I can do it again. I do have options, my life isn’t over, and I am a winner, not a loser. God, thanks for helping me out!” I found that thinking this way helped me feel less depressed and more hopeful.
Change happens, and even the innocent get hurt. That night, I decided on a course that turned out better than I could have expected. In fact, what happened beginning that night was an incredible turnaround for me that I will share with you later on in this book. I learned key principles from this experience that, looking back, I could not have learned any other way (see Chapter 5, Victim Versus Warrior in Survive or Thrive Book). I discovered that even though I had been blindsided by change, I still had choices. I could run and hide, or I could march boldly onward with a solid plan to turn the tide.
B2B Sales Trainer/Coach | Sales Transformation Specialist | Author | Speaker