The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


You’re fired…

No one wants to hear those words – they sting.  Unfortunately in today’s real world, companies sometimes need to “go in a new direction”.  When one loses our job, it tests our toughness; our resolve; even our identity:

Failure is the greatest opportunity I have to know who I really am. 

John Killinger

A client of mine called me recently; he had just been “given his walking papers” by the firm that hired him 12 months previous.  His sales results weren’t acceptable; his firm was “going in a new direction.”  It stung.  We talked about it for a while.  In reality, he wasn’t happy in that role anyway; he wasn’t performing up to his standards; he wasn’t making money; he wasn’t happy; he knew it wasn’t “him”.  It was time to move on.

Amazingly that same day not 30 minutes after we spoke, I received a call from his boss.  He called to tell me he had to let his sales rep go; needed to “go in a new direction”; generate better sales results.  It stung.  We talked about it for a while.  The reality was he had given his sales rep sufficient time to perform.  It simply wasn’t working out; no one was happy; letting a sales rep dangle and starve wasn’t “him”.  It was time to move on.

This remarkable coincidence of these two conversations immediately flashed me back.  It was February of 2011; and it stung.  (See )  The sting has faded somewhat, but not the memory – never the memory.

The good news is my sense of humor back then was up for the challenge.  When I joined the conference call that day, I knew what was coming.  The executive who hired me was joined on the call by my new Sales Manager, and a representative from HR.  They informed me that the company was “going in a new direction – without me”, my initial response was, “You know, it’s not too late to change your mind.”  We all chuckled, but it stung.

Tom Hopkins once wrote:

I never see a failure as failure, but only as the opportunity to develop my sense of humor.

Actually the toughest part of that experience was telling my wife.  Thankfully, she dealt with it.  I suppose sticking with me for over three decades of the highs and lows of a professional salesman helped her develop her sense of humor, too.

As it turned out, “going in a new direction” was better for me than if that company had decided not to.  Don’t get me wrong – I really liked that job.  I felt my initial sales performance was pretty good; and I could have become a stellar producer for them if given a little more time.

But how much more time?  That’s the sticky wicket for business leaders, true?  When I’ve been on the other side of that discussion I must admit I have been impatient for performance.  When in doubt (when the person wasn’t “the obvious choice”) I have made the roster move; “gone in a new direction”.

It’s not revolutionary, really.  Business leaders have done this since last century (even longer):

Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. 

Henry Ford

So the advice I offered my two colleagues that day when they both called me simultaneously, was yes – it was time to go in a new direction.  And learning from the experience, do so more intelligently with our sense of humor intact.


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.


One Comment

  1. Lindsay
    Feb 21, 2014

    A nice lesson to remember! All things happen for a reason.

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