If you want to make the world a better place you better look at yourself and make a change — Micheal Jackson
Here’s a truth you need to be reminded about if you knew it or told if you didn’t know; You are 100% in control of your life right now. This doesn’t mean that you are in total control of a difficult situation you might be in, as that situation might be linked to external forces which are outside your influence. However, how you react or respond to the situation is all in your hands.
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Jack (not his real name) walked into the meeting room with David (not his real name) following closely behind. They’d finally found a meeting room for the final meeting that would determine David’s future with the company.
“I’ve got to say David, its not looking good” Jack came out words slashing like a grammar buccaneer.
“OK, How so?” David responding feigning surprise. He knew this was coming, He’d known it was coming from the very first time He was told his probation was being extended without a concrete reason. David was not worried but He was kicking himself for trusting that the system would work in his favor.
“Was I naive in thinking, I had the system on my side?” David would think to himself. If you did the right thing, walked the right paths and presented the best version of yourself. If you were honest, kind, likable and fit in with the company’s ethos, then the system will be on your side. Right? wrong!
“I’ve not seen the improvement, that we discussed. Given the time we’ve given you to work on this, I’m afraid I will be making a recommendation for termination of your contract” Jack continued.
David sensed that Jack felt there was tension in the room.
“This is the most difficult decision I’ve had to make, and you are really, truly a great guy. I’ve asked to see if there’s any other role in the organisation we can fit you but I’m afraid there's nothing and you just aren’t the right person for this role.”
This is fun to watch, David thought to himself. There was some truth to what Jack was saying but not for the reasons Jack was thinking. David was caught in a perfect storm, A manager that needed to justify himself and position to a company that was looking for savings in any and everywhere. David was new also, the newest addition to the mid-management team. Though he had technical skills, he hadn’t been hired for those. So if the right context was created, He could be sacrificed for the great good “savings”. But there was more to it…
“Well, thanks for coming down to see me and let me know. I’ve had a truly rewarding experience working here.” David replied
Jack goes on to reiterate all the “good things” about David and that He knew David will find something sooner rather than later. He spoke as David recalled the endless hours, days and long evenings, He’d spent trying to manage his team whilst trying to swim against the tide of this situation.
It was difficult!
“My only regret, is that I sacrificed so much family time for this” David thought to himself as He purposed in His heart never to allow His job interfere with family life ever again. “Its just not worth it”
“What happens now, is I will make my recommendations to HR and they will advise of the next steps. Please bear in mind this is only my recommendation and it doesn’t mean the business will follow my recommendation” Jack chipped in
David smiled, “Of course it does,” He said to himself. He had tried on several occasions to reach out to the so-called HR department who had, in turn, turned their backs on him even going as far as to cancel booked meetings where he hoped to raise concerns about what was going on. Being as a matter of factly, referred back to the person who started the thing in the first place.
“Thanks for letting me know, is there anything you’d like me to deal with as a priority while we wait” David had a commitment, regardless of how things turned out He will always put his best foot forward, He didn’t know how to behave any better than that.
“Its just flying a holding pattern from here, Dave” Jack stood up
David thanked Jack, both shook hands. Meeting over. A few weeks later, David was unemployed!
When asked about why David remained positive even to the end. David responded. When it's clear that you have no control of a situation, the only solace you have is in the fact that You are still 100% in control of yourself. No one can make you angry if you have purposed not to be. It took 5 months for them to communicate a decision they had already made back when it all began.
“I had already been through the pains of what it would mean to lose my job. We had had conversations about it at home. We were prepared. Copies of my CV had been sent out already, Job offers had come in although not matching where I wanted to go next.” David said.
By the time they were terminating David’s contract. He had emotionally settled himself and worked out exactly what would happen in the following months and years. As a matter of fact, in one of the final meetings with HR, David told the Sean (an HR Representative — not his real name) that He (David) knew this was all a tick box exercise, nothing positive was going to come of it. Sean, off the record, confirmed it!
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What is it that made David so confident to go through such a rough situation without losing his cool. The answer is simple, David has not only harnessed the power of self-control but He has transcended into a place of comfort in his mind that gives him the confidence to say “I’m in total control of me”
This is not an easy feat to accomplish, I know David personally and I can tell the experience hurt, emotionally. Even when He had to engage the balancing act of not losing it in front of those that depended on him to keep it together.
Life is always going to throw you a curveball. There is always going to be a shock in the system, something unexpected that throws you off your game. But you need to stand up, look at that situation and remind yourself that you aren’t a one-trick horse. You deserve to be at that table. You are in CONTROL.
When you are faced with a situation like David was, begin with YES! Acknowledge to yourself that this situation is not ideal, acknowledge that there is probably going to be a long rough ride ahead, YES. And, once you have settled this in your mind, begin to plan your alternative route to success.
In the shadow of every perceived failure or knock-down, lies a path to the success you deserve. We are often too emotionally unbalanced at the moment to see this path, but if you take a step back, breath and reassess, the lights will turn on.
David went on not only to find a new job, He is now the CEO of a growing startup.
Begin with Yes, and watch how far you will go!