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It’s when you’re lying on the floor crying so hard that crap is coming out of your nose that interesting things start to happen.
This is the advice I give myself when things are going, well, not so awesome. Or at least I try to. I’m usually ignoring my own words of wisdom because I’m on the floor sobbing and feeling sorry for myself. But I get up, I always do. I pick up the pieces of whatever situation I’ve found myself in and get on with it. I’m a professional getter-upper.
So why am I telling you about my personal pity parties on the floor? It’s because of that interesting bit that happens afterward.
Usually, when I’m playing out my personal 3-year-old tantrum hammering my fists into the carpet, I’m also usually thinking, “Well damn. A new lesson about life I just learned.” Some lessons I’ve learned on the floor include:
- Life sometimes isn’t fair and whining about it manifests nothing.
- In a relationship with someone, professional or personal, you own half the relationship part of the relationship. Sometimes even more than half.
- Sometimes a risky move doesn’t play out the way you wanted it to.
- Sometimes playing it safe doesn’t play out the way you wanted it to.
And my personal favorite:
If you try to be someone you’re not, you will always end up on the floor.
I’ve found myself on the floor a couple of times on this last one.
Recently, I had a chat with one of my mentees. She’s just out of university, and while she’s had odd jobs, this whole “corporate world” thing has been tough. Several months ago she came to me to talk about a position she’d been offered. Let me just say, there were, in my opinion, a couple of red flags surrounding the offer the company was making. I did my bit as her mentor, gave her my advice. However, I also told her that while I wasn’t jazzed about the job offer, even if it went south she’d have an amazing opportunity to learn.
Roll forward to the other day when I learned the job had gone south. My mentee no longer had a job.
Now she’s much more mature and savvy than I am. There were no tantrums and weeping on the floor for this girl. She did, however, tell me she felt foolish for not heeding my advice and passing on the job.
I pushed back, and we had a chat about all the great things she learned from the process. She doesn’t need me to identify the red flags in the future. She learned a ton about the kind of company she does and doesn’t want to work for. It’s all learning, and she’s the better for it.
We learn from both failures and successes. It’s what you do with what you’ve learned that counts.
Not surprisingly my mentee has already found herself an excellent new job. I have no doubt there will be some learnings there too.
So next time things are looking grim, get down on the floor and think of me having a little weeping session with you. Then blow your nose and figure out what awesome thing you’re going to do next.