Getting Fired: Am I Good Enough?

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Have you ever been fired? My God, it sucks. Even in the moment when you know it’s probably for the best, it just sucks.

I’m going to get really honest for a moment here, so stay with me. I think the biggest struggle I have had in my life is learning to believe, and therefore act like, I am good enough — that I can show up without flowers and a cake and it will be enough. I remember as a young girl writing over and over like Bart Simpson, "I am enough, I am enough, I am enough, I am enough…"

My struggle is not unique. I know so many of us struggle with this feeling, but it doesn’t make it easier to overcome. When I was in my late 20s, I met a woman who eventually became like a sister to me. She knows she is enough and for me, at the time, this was foreign behavior. I believe she knows she is enough because she was cherished by her family, especially her father.

I wish all fathers would give their daughters the gift of believing they are special because, first of all, it is so much easier than the therapy that it takes later in life. I remember a therapist breaking me down once, saying, "Wow, if your father doesn’t love you, how could anyone love you?" Brutal.

"Getting fired, from what I see around me and from this personal experience, is seldom anything but a blessing. It is a gift to get you back on your track."

But second, because I recently had an experience in my business that brought this "good enough" challenge home again for me.

The Hardest Part of Getting Fired

I was fired. I was fired from a job that I had put a great deal of myself into and in which I had been over-delivering. In addition, I got fired because I had done something that was going above and beyond, with the best of intentions, but was not wanted. Of course, there was a bunch of politics I had little control over, but my lesson was that I had been acting like I wasn’t enough.

Getting fired, from what I see around me and from this personal experience, is seldom anything but a blessing. It is a gift to get you back on your track. There is nothing good about being in a place that 1) does not value what you bring; 2) does not need you; 3) is not willing to invest in you; or 4) isn’t a fit for your skill set.

Getting fired set me free to get more solidly on my path and pulled me back into my "good enough" self. My friend, the one who has always known she is good enough, would never have found herself in my situation to begin with.

It makes me think of a fantastic poem, “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters,” by Portia Nelson, which outlines the five stages of learning beautifully. In the poem, she walks down a street and falls down a hole in the sidewalk. She continues to repeat the same mistake over and over again, until, eventually, she walks “down another street.”

Tags: Self Confidence, Career

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Written By

Helena Goto

Helena Goto is the Managing Principal of Goto Solutions Inc. Since 2013 she has successfully worked with, and advised indi... See Full Bio

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