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on Thursday, July 14, 2011


Originally published: SEPETEMBER 5, 2006

I was talking to a very nice reporter slash writer in Mexico City today.  (Hi Kelly!)  Anyway, we discussed at one point how when one can own what we feel uncomfortable with, such as being fired, we then can interact with others without that upset taking over the conversation.

I find that most people who are trying to get another job after being fired have this problem.  How do you handle talking about something that was obviously embarrassing or painful or at the very least does not reflect well on your abilities, when you're already stressed out about appearing competent and professional to a potential employer?

Or when, like me today, you realize that your entrepreneurial strategies are off...perhaps by do you stick with the row you've hoed?

One word: ownership.  We all have to own the "what's so" of our lives.  There is no perfect trajectory in anyone's existence - we are all at some point faced with either owning something that did not go well or, as an alternative, curling up on the sofa and hiding under a blanket.  The second option works for a short time, but eventually you have to get up and do the owning.

Ownership sounds a lot scarier than it is.  It implies responsibility (yuck), courage (gulp!) and fortitude (huh?)...and when you feel like a helpless bunny rabbit lost in the big brightness of the world, those words don't fit easily.  However, on the other side of fear and paralysis, there is a place you can stride with confidence.

Ownership says, "I made some choices that didn't work.  I know what didn't work and I am changing the way I handle these things".  Or ownership says, "I stayed too long with a company that eventually didn't require my position.  I'm happy that it ended amicably and that I can find somewhere that wants to make use of my unique talents".  Ownership says, in an entrepreneurial context, "This strategy that I thought was so great isn't working and it's time to admit it and try something new". 

We don't like to change and we don't like to admit failure but the person who can do it without bitterness, fear, squeamishness, anger or any other emotionally-off-putting way comes off the better for it.

This is not to say that you shouldn't have those likely will for a time.  I think I've moved through each of those emotions by 1pm today. 

But at some point, you need to feel those feelings, move through and make your decision about how you're going to interact with what happened.  Then create one or two complete sentences you feel comfortable saying out loud.  Practice those sentences.  Then when you get a "Why did you leave?" question, you're ready.  Stick with your sentences.  It's likely they won't ask anything else.

Ownership applies to all parts of our life we feel shameful about or are unhappy with the outcome.  But as a wise friend of mine (word up Bill) said to me today, "Buck up - it's very hard not to feel lousy about yourself in times like these but while it's good to cast a discerning eye over one's own practices just to see if you need a tune-up anywhere, do NOT take this as a reflection of your personal worth!  This too shall pass like everything else". 

If it's tune-up time, all there is to do is to figure out your next steps.  Making it mean anything else only puts you in bunny rabbit-land again.

Yours in proud ownership...

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