5 Lessons Learned After I Was Fired

5ThingsFIREDThere aren’t too many people who can say that they’ve been fired. Let me rephrase that, “There aren’t too many people who will tell you that they’ve been fired.” Let’s face it, whether you’re at fault or not, it’s an embarrassing experience.

The Human Resources Manager who almost never comes to your side of the building enters unexpectedly. With a folder in hand and an austere disposition, she heads directly into the meeting room where you usually have your one-on-one meetings with your manager. Moments later, you hear the familiar clicking sound heels make against a hard surface as your manager’s matte finished red pumps begin to peek around the corner. The most difficult moment you could imagine was about to happen.

She approaches your cubicle, and calmly asks you to gather your personal effects and join them.

For some people, this story is all too familiar. The fact of the matter is most people don’t talk about getting fired. And why would they? It’s not an experience worth bragging about. And if you do decide to share, some falsely believe that somehow it must have been your fault; especially if they’ve never been fired.

If you have been separated from an organization or what everyone else calls “fired”, I am happy to say it doesn’t have to end there. In fact, it doesn’t.

Here are five valuable lessons learned after I was fired.

1. Life Goes On
Life Goes OnIt is not the end of the world. Don’t get me wrong; at the time of the separation, accepting the fact that life goes on was the furthest thought from my mind. Besides, the idea that I should somehow immediately overcome this traumatic experience was absurd. As an HR professional, I have conducted countless separation meetings; all of them successful. I base that success on the fact that none of the employees I was firing went “postal”; most of them embraced the change because of how I packaged the message. During one particular meeting, I remember telling a very emotional employee that this is not the end of their story; they must continue to write. This may be the final chapter with this particular organization but it doesn’t have to be the final chapter in your book. Take a moment to think back to a time when you experienced adversity, with time you eventually overcame it. With time, all wounds eventually heal. The amount of time you take depends solely on you. The sooner you realize that failure is an event and not a person, the sooner you can move on from this. It may not seem like it now but trust me, life really does go on and you really will get back on your feet. The “how” and “when” is totally up to you.

2. Manage Your Time Wisely
use your time wisely (1)
Most people have difficulty finding the silver lining to the dark cloud that is created once you are fired. Here’s an upside to losing your job, you now have time and a whole lot of it! This new found freedom and increase in down time should not be wasted on wondering what you could have done differently. It’s over; use this time to plan ahead. Right after I was fired, it took several weeks for the dust to settle and for me to pull myself up from my bootstraps. It took several weeks too long. What I would have done differently was immediately pull out a pen and a pad and start brainstorming ideas about a future I wanted to create. Understand that looking for a job is a fulltime job in itself. The sooner you start looking, the sooner you may find it. Use this time to organize your life and prioritize what is most important. Immediately file for unemployment, even if you think you may not be eligible. Although the amount may be miniscule compared to your previous salary, it’s certainly better than no income at all. Besides, collecting unemployment insurance isn’t a new job; it should not be viewed as income. Your goal should be to return to work as quickly as possible. You would be surprised how many resources are available to those who are unemployed. Visit the Department of Labor’s website (www.dol.gov) to view a list of resources available to you. Here’s an article that lists 10 FREE Government Resources for the unemployed. http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2011/01/26/free-government-resources-for-the-unemployed/

3. Do Something You’ve Always Wanted To Do
today-do-something-youve-never-done-before From every negative experience, the opportunity to accentuate the positive exists. I know some of you may be thinking, “What could possibly be positive about losing your job?” One thing I learned after I was fired is that you need to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Losing your job can be very stressful, especially if you haven’t planned for it. And believe me, most people don’t. If you have a dream, pursue it. I decided to focus heavily on starting my own business and taking all of the valuable knowledge, skills and abilities I’ve acquired over the years to market myself as a free agent while doing something I love. For those who aren’t quite ready to start their own business, focus heavily on pursuing your next opportunity or go skydiving. Yes, skydiving. After you lose your job, the last thing you want to do is stay depressed. Believe me, you will experience some form of depression because it is one of the stages of grief after you experience a loss. Losing your job is not exempt; you can’t avoid it. What you can do is limit the time you are depressed by doing something you love or trying something new. Remember, tremendous success always comes at the risk of great failure. Now is a really good time to create and execute your bucket list. After all, what do you have to lose?

4. Count Your Blessings
Count Your Blessings
One important lesson I wish I didn’t have to learn the hard way is the fact that no one is entitled to anything. A false sense of entitlement can potentially ruin your life. We all make the mistake of expecting more than we are blessed with ignoring the magnitude of the original blessing. If you are on this side of the dirt, you are already immensely blessed. There was a man who complained about not having shoes until he saw a man with no feet. It isn’t a crime to want more, it really isn’t. However, wanting more must mirror the time and effort you put into acquiring that which you are expecting. In my case, it was money. I wanted more money. I was already earning six figures and most people would be satisfied with that salary. Yet I wanted more and truly felt I deserved more. I completely ignored the man with no feet. I was blessed yet I still wasn’t satisfied. There is a distinct difference between desire and greed. Greed is attempting to possess more than you need or deserve and desire is simply wanting something very much. I was greedy. Don’t allow greed to block you from your blessings. Being employed is a blessing, don’t take it for granted. It’s insane how many people complain about their jobs never stopping to think about those who are unemployed. I was one of those people. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I didn’t want to look at the big picture. Just because you think you deserve something doesn’t mean that you actually do. Sometimes it takes others to recognize your contributions and quantify your value; and sometimes that takes time. Appreciate what you have because it could all be gone tomorrow. Count your blessings; being gainfully employed is certainly one of them.

5. Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees
Money Saving
My father always says, “Son, make sure you save as much as you can. You may not need the money today but you might need it tomorrow.” He’s absolutely right but how many of us actually live by this unwritten code of the “Traditionalist” generation; babies who were born between 1929 and 1945. My father was born in 1943 and he’s sort of a hybrid between this generation and the Baby Boomers. Either way, he has always preached the value of saving a majority of your income and not spending unless you absolutely have to. In a world where we focus more on wants than needs, it is reasonable to assume that it’s much more challenging to save; especially when everyone is trying to keep up with the Joneses who may actually be in debt themselves. What I learned (the hard way) was that he is right! I had no idea I was going to be fired but I did have about three months of living expenses saved in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, three months is just not enough. Finding a job takes time, lots of time. Some people who lose their jobs can take up to 18 months or more to return to the workforce. I had the opportunity to save so much more and the time and income to do it but I didn’t. If you are like some people who falsely believe the good times will always be good, then you are in for a rude awakening. Some of you may be thinking, “I will never get fired because I am a great employee.” From an HR professional to you, it can still happen, even to the top performers. Companies downsize and reorganize all the time to ensure that they protect their bottom line. Unfortunately, when assessing a company’s bottom line, one of the first items on the list of sacrifices is human capital. No one is exempt from this unless you are the one making the decision. You can’t predict the future so you might as well prepare for it.

After a traumatic experience you are left with two options; either sink or swim. Sinking is easier but swimming is worth it. Don’t wait until you lose everything before you start to appreciate what you have. Losing your job is not the end of the world; it may actually be the start of something great. Embrace this change and believe that this new course of direction may be where you were intended to go in the first place.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

Joe Paul is an American author, keynote speaker and life coach based in Washington DC. He tweets @JoePaulSpeaks. To connect with Joe Paul, please visit www.JoePaulSpeaks.com, email info@JoePaulSpeaks.com or call 202.553.7718.

Morning Cup of Joe – Actions, Not Words

If someone loves you, trust me, they’ll show you. Telling someone you love them does not take much effort, showing them does.

Above all else, love yourself first!

To The Top!
Joe Paul 20140714-084346-31426866.jpg

Morning Cup of Joe – We Shall Overcome

overcome3I know it may not seem that way sometimes but if you look closely you will notice that every cloud has a silver lining. Yes, it is true that this particular cloud or clouds may be blocking your view of the sun but aren’t all clouds are temporary? Simply, there is something to be said about how you look at your circumstances. It may not be as bad as you perceive it to be.

The other day a friend and I went to grab some lunch downtown after moving a few items. As we anticipated the food we were going to devour we took turns exclaiming how starved we were. We turned a corner and there lied a destitute man with no shoes and withered clothing who was obviously homeless. He was sleeping on a bench surrounded by bags filled with his worldly items. His face was weathered from all of the storms he had lived through and his body clearly suffering from lack of proper nourishment.

As we headed towards the restaurant I couldn’t get that image out of my head. While we felt we are starving we at least knew that it was temporary and were going to remedy that issue immediately because we had the capacity to do so. overcome2The man on the bench put everything into perspective; you may think you have it bad and that your problem is the biggest one in the world but someone else is going through worse. While that doesn’t make your problem any less important than the next and it certainly doesn’t solve it, it should help you understand the dynamics of your situation. Simply, while it could be better it could always be much worse.

Thank goodness for all of the blessings that are bestowed upon you and be even more thankful for the challenges you face in life. For it is in solving a problem, overcoming an obstacle, and beating the odds where our incredible strength to endure and carry on comes from. You have made it this far and this is truly the beginning. No problem is too great to solve, ask Albert Einstein. Take a step back, assess the situation, create a plan then execute until your desired results are met. It’s that simple.

Do not allow an issue, problem or challenge to be greater than the blessing that comes from overcoming it.

To The Top!
Joe Paul
Motivational Thought Leader, Corporate Trainer & Keynote Speaker

www.JoePaulSpeaks.com
Tel. :202.553.7718
hello@JoePaulSpeaks.com
Twitter : @JoePaulSpeaks

Morning Cup of Joe – Give Something Back

Give Back2One of the main requirements of success is that you give something back. Being successful doesn’t mean that it’s a personal achievement because no one whoever became successful did so on their own. Which is why it makes complete sense to turn around, reach out and bring someone up with you.

To whom much is given, so much more is required. Success certainly comes with a price. We have all been uniquely blessed with specific gifts and talents. There are some who have yet to recognize their gifts as truly gifts. Your gift is the “thing” that you are able to do almost better than everyone else. Once you’ve recognized your gift, it is imperative that you begin focusing on how to share this gift to the world. Sharing our gifts with the world, if executed correctly, is exactly what will yield us financial freedom. In essence, when you do what you love and love what you do, the money will come in abundance.
Give Back
Many of us are past the stage of recognizing our gifts. For the most part, most people know exactly what their specialized talents are yet a majority of those people will not do anything about it. For those of us who do, we must not only find satisfaction in earning but equal, if not greater, satisfaction in giving. We are blessed in order to be a blessing to someone else. What good is a man’s treasure if he cannot share it with the world? I’ll tell you, it’s worthless.

To whom much is given, so much more is required. You have used your gifts to receive your blessings but the transaction is only half-way complete; the final piece are the blessings you give to others. Most people don’t realize that their blessings come from blessings others; which explains why less and less people give. Understand that we are all connected. And since we are all connected, it is imperative that we understand that we all have a humanitarian obligation to support one another. You are absolutely your brother’s keeper.

If God has blessed you with increase or abundance, the expectation is that you will return the favor by being a blessing to someone else. This is a requirement of success. In order to receive, you must give.

To The Top!
Joe Paul
Motivational Thought Leader, Corporate Trainer & Keynote Speaker

www.JoePaulSpeaks.com
Tel. :202.553.7718
hello@JoePaulSpeaks.com
Twitter : @JoePaulSpeaks

Morning Cup of Joe – Hard Work, Work

Hard-Work-3
I have a confession to make. At one point in my life I actually thought that there was a substitution for hard work. I falsely believed that there were shortcuts on the road to success. No seriously, I thought it had more to do with luck and being at the right place at the right time but I was sadly mistaken. The time I spent looking for shortcuts was certainly time that I could have invested to vigorously pursuing my dreams.

Think about the most successful person you know. What do you think separates them from everyone else? What makes them successful? What are they doing that everyone isn’t? I can tell you what separates them from everyone else; it’s hard work. I’ve seen people with less charisma, less talent, less appeal become more successful than others simply because they chose to work harder than their counterparts.

hard-work-quote-1Understand that anything worth having never comes easily. Whatever you want in life you have to vigorously pursue. You have to chase it like you don’t know any better. You have to work like hell to get it and work even harder to keep it. There are no shortcuts. There are no handouts. Don’t expect people to just hand it to you because it doesn’t work that way.

What you should understand about hard work is that it is not prejudice, it’s not racist or sexist. Hard work is not exclusive to a particular group of people and neither is success. However, success is the result of hard work. While you are sleeping, your opponent is working hard to make sure that you are not better than they are. Your opponent is taking 100 more practice shots than you are. Your opponent is waking up 2 hours earlier than you. Your opponent is out creating opportunities while you are sitting at home waiting on opportunity to come to you. It doesn’t work that way.

It is a common thought that successful people experience success because they are lucky or blessed with talent. The truth is, successful people simply work harder than the average man. Luck is the byproduct of hard work. That’s the secret to success.

Victory does not always go to the person who is the smartest or the most talented but to the person who works the hardest.

THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTION FOR HARD WORK!

To The Top!
Joe Paul
Motivational Thought Leader, Corporate Trainer & Keynote Speaker

www.JoePaulSpeaks.com
Tel. :202.553.7718
hello@JoePaulSpeaks.com
Twitter : @JoePaulSpeaks

Morning Cup of Joe – Ignore the Naysayers

Ignore2In 1773, Phyllis Wheatley became the first Black person to publish a book.

In 1872, Victoria Woodhall became the first woman to run for president of the United States.

On May 6, 1954 Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes.

In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Black President of the United States of America.

You may be wondering what exactly is so significant about these facts. What do these facts have in common? Simple, they are all firsts. What’s significant is the fact that they became the first to ever do it. Meaning there was no framework or “how to” guide to describe steps that one should take in order to experience the success that these folks have experienced.

Another thing these firsts have in common is the fact that 1) they had an unequivocal belief that winning was possible; 2) they ignored the naysayers; 3) They were crazy enough to believe in their dreams.

There are many factors to consider when measuring the success of a person. One major factor is that most successful people refuse to surround themselves with people who do not dream as big or bigger than they do. Winners surround themselves with people who believe that ANYTHING is possible. If you have people in your circle who constantly try to bring you down or downplay your dreams, you must separate yourself from them. If you can’t do it physically, separate yourself from them mentally.

During your journey towards success, it is imperative that you understand naysayers are absolutely unavoidable. The main issue with naysayers is that their vision is limited and/or nonexistent. They do not possess the same wherewithal to see past today and into a future overflowing with possibilities. They cannot see what you can. They do not believe the same way you believe. Thus, they will not be able to achieve what you inevitably will.

It takes a very special person to create a way where there was seemingly no way. To travel places that they had no idea even existed. To reach for the stars when they cannot even see past the glass ceiling. To think bigger than their limitations. To take unconventional routes through a conventional system. To unequivocally believe without a shadow of a doubt that anything is possible. Are you that special person?

The one thing that you cannot stop nor control is other peoples opinions about your life. People will share their opinions because it doesn’t cost them anything. Your job is to ignore anyone who does not support your dreams and goals. You are going to run into people who will discourage you from seeking out your goals simply because they lack the ability to dream themselves.

If you believe in your dreams you must be willing to do whatever it takes to make them possible. You must work like hell, trust yourself, dream big and ignore the naysayers. Believe that ANYTHING is possible and it shall be so.

When the world tells you “you can’t” because it’s never been done before, use that as motivation to show them why it’s possible.

If its never been done before, it simply means you have an opportunity to be FIRST.

To The Top!
Joe Paul
Motivational Thought Leader, Corporate Trainer & Keynote Speaker

www.JoePaulSpeaks.com
Tel. :202.553.7718
hello@JoePaulSpeaks.com
Twitter : @JoePaulSpeaks

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Morning Cup of Joe – Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Failure 2Do you ever wonder why there are only a handful of people in the world who experience off the charts success? Well, I have and I’ve discovered there is a really good reason for that. One of the main reasons why only a few people experience this type of success is because they do not stop at the first sign of failure nor do they stop at the first sign of defeat. They keep going! Unfortunately, most people want the fruits that are available for someone who commits themselves to hard work but are not willing to commit themselves to the hard work necessary to bear the fruit. Hard work is only half the battle, the fear of failure is the other side of the coin.

The main reason why so many people don’t try is because they are afraid to fail. It’s as simple as that. They are afraid that if they try they may not succeed. My question to those people is “How do you know if you’ll succeed or not if you never try?” Theodore Roosevelt once said “It is hard to fail but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” I believe that 100%. Failure sucks but not trying because you are afraid is far worse.

Failure is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can experience. No one wants to experience failure; not even me. Yet I know and understand that failure shows up right before a win; sometimes several times. When Thomas Edison and his team of talented engineers were trying to figure out how to bring light through a light bulb, they failed hundreds of times. That did not stop them. He said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” It is because of the way he viewed failure coupled with great tenacity and an unwillingness to accept failure or defeat that we can flip a switch and say “Let the be light” and it actually works. That is the risk you must be willing to take if you want to be successful; the risk of ongoing failure.

In order to be successful you must take risks including the risk of failure. Failure is inevitable, success is not. The good news is, one typically comes before the other. The fear of failing can be debilitating, it can also be a great motivator. Remember that F.E.A.R. is simply false evidence appearing real. We create our own barriers to success. The main barrier to success is the fear of failing. Do not be afraid.

    A few of my favorite quotes on the fear of failing…

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.” – Maya Angelou

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – JK Rowling

“There is only ONE THING that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

To The Top!
Joe Paul
Motivational Thought Leader, Corporate Trainer & Keynote Speaker

www.JoePaulSpeaks.com
Tel. :202.553.7718
hello@JoePaulSpeaks.com
Twitter : @JoePaulSpeaks

Take a moment to check out my radio show! www.blogtalkradio.com/theANSWERSshow

Failure

Morning Cup of Joe – BREAK THE RULES!

Break The Rules4“What’s the point of being on this earth if all you want to do is be liked by everyone and avoid trouble?” While listening to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Six Rules of Success, this question stood out as he was explaining rule number two; Break the Rules.

If success is on your radar then you must understand that there are some things that you’re going to have to do that others have never done before. You may have to try unconventional ways in order to get people to listen to you or notice you. It’s very true that you can experience the same success someone else has by traveling the same roads that they have. However, the obstacles that you face on your journey towards success may be very very different. The rules may be different. The cards may be stacked a little differently against you. The person who comes to mind who exemplifies Rule #2 of breaking the rules is Steven Spielberg.

By the time Steven Spielberg was 17, he’d made four films. His parents were divorced. Steven applied to two of the best film schools in the country, UCLA and USC, but his poor grades kept him out. After a summer job as a clerical intern at Universal Studios, he enrolled in Cal State Long Beach. Bored with his classes and anxious to get on with his movie career, he dropped out and began to “hang around” on the Universal Studios lot where TV shows and movies were being shot.

Even though his clerical internship was over and he had no business being on the lot, Steven knew that the guards would still recognize him, so he dressed in his suit and tie, grabbed an old briefcase, walked right up to the gate, waved to the guards and strolled on through the studio lot. I learned a long time ago, if you look like you are supposed to be there, no one will question you.

Once on the lot, he hung around every department he could get into, asking questions. He introduced himself to actors, producers and directors. He watched movies being shot and soaked up everything he could. Years later, he said he probably got kicked off of a set every day. But clearly that didn’t stop him.

Steven Spielberg was relentless and found creative ways to break the rules and write his own. Eventually, after being on the lot so much, he had people assuming that he worked there. After countless times of being dismissed, kicked off the lot and downright rejected, Universal Studios signed him on a 7-year contract to direct TV and movies. Steven was only 22 years old.

It is critically important that we view obstacles as detours to success.

Imagine if Steven Spielberg would’ve went the traditional route of becoming a successful movie director. We may not even know of a Steven Spielberg. There are countless people throughout history who have broken the rules in order to get what they want. Do not be misled, there is a distinct difference between breaking the rules and breaking the law. By no means am I condoning breaking the law. But it is important for you to understand that you may have to take some unconventional routes in order to experience wild success.

You must be willing to do whatever it takes and go wherever is required in order to accomplish your dreams; even if it means breaking the rules.

To The Top!
Joe Paul
Motivational Thought Leader, Corporate Trainer & Keynote Speaker

www.JoePaulSpeaks.com
Tel. :862.259.2WOW
Tel. :202.553.7718
hello@JoePaulSpeaks.com
Twitter : @JoePaulSpeaks

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Morning Cup of Joe – Trust Yourself

Trust YourselfOne of the greatest barriers to success is placing your trust in someone else’s opinions about what you should do with your own life. Everyone will have an opinion as it relates to your life but only yours matter. Often times we seek out the advice and guidance of others to help direct our path, all the while we are the answer to the questions we’ve been asking all along. One of the most important factors to experiencing wild success is trusting yourself.

Growing up, my mother would constantly say how proud she would be if her baby boy ever became a doctor. I didn’t think her vision for my life was far-fetched nor did I think it was unreachable; it just wasn’t my goal. It wasn’t a future I envisioned for myself. Now don’t get me wrong, I had no idea that I would become a keynote speaker either. My goal was simply to use the gifts God has blessed me with to help leave an indelible mark on the world by positively affecting the lives of those whose paths I am fortunate to cross.

One of the most common mistakes we make on the road to success is talking ourselves out of inevitable blessings simply because we don’t trust ourselves enough. In my humble opinion, I do not believe that there are right or wrong decisions but rather each decision we make leads us closer to our predestined fate. Those same decisions should be yours and solely yours. Everyone is equipped with an incredible sense of intuition, always trust yours.

The fact is, right or wrong, you must live with every decision you make. It’s critically important that you trust yourself and trust that the decision you make is the right one for you. Do not be misled; am I saying not to seek the advice of others? Absolutely not. I’m just saying to trust yourself a little more. You may not even need the advice of others. The answer you seek is well within you.

The late visionary Steve Jobs once said, “Don’t let the noise of other peoples opinions drown out your inner voice.” Remember to trust yourself always.

To The Top!
Joe Paul
Motivational Thought Leader, Corporate Trainer & Keynote Speaker

www.JoePaulSpeaks.com
Tel. :202.553.7718
hello@JoePaulSpeaks.com
Twitter : @JoePaulSpeaks