For your sake, I hope you have never felt this way before. But something tells me you can definitely relate.
On some level, haven’t we all worried about not being able to make ends meet?
But what if you woke up tomorrow and your boss told you that you were fired? Or suddenly laid off?
I imagine it might feel something like watching your livelihood slip through your fingers. A million thoughts race through you. Panic ensues. Money suddenly becomes a threat instead of an ally.
The stories I’m about to share serve as a reminder that even in our darkest times, all is not what it seems.
That even faced with great adversity, you will undoubtedly prevail. That although you might not see it yet, there’s something much bigger in store for you. That the universe is invisibly aligning, and the light at the end of the tunnel is just around the bend.
Below are the inspiring and incredible stories of the laid off and let go; members of our community who bravely turned a setback into a catapult towards their dreams.
“I promised myself never to give a huge part of my time to a company that doesn’t give a shit about anyone.”
A few years back I worked for a large Fitness Company which provided me with a good salary, a company car, laptop and mobile phone. All I had to do was work 7 days a week, 10 hours a day.
The company was very ‘sales driven’ and as long as I created good ‘numbers’ nothing could happen to me. But making sales meant that the people who already joined our clubs didn’t get the attention they needed, and left. I preferred to embrace the existing members instead of the stress of gaining enough new members.
To make a long story short, I wasn’t useful for the company anymore (although my clubs gained profit month after month) so I got kicked out of the company in a very bad way.
From that time on I promised myself never to give a huge part of my time to a company that doesn’t give a shit about anyone, only themselves, to make lots of money. While sitting at home I decided to start a company so I would be able to do work I love, and to be in total control of what went right and wrong.
In the beginning the company didn’t earn much money, so I found a part-time job working 3 days a week, which gave me the opportunity to earn enough money to pay the bills and still have 4 days to work for my own business. But it didn’t work that way.
The evenings I was home from the part-time job I wasn’t very productive, which meant that I had to fit all the other stuff (like working on building my company) into the other 4 days, while in the weekends I had lots of assignments. So the actual time I had left to build up my company was reduced to one day a week. In other words: I couldn’t combine it anymore. For me it was clear my company is that one thing I love to do most, so if I want to make it work then I need 150% focus and time. Decision made.
All my questions weighed even heavier then before, like ‘How am I going to make enough money?’, ‘What if I have to use my savings?’, ‘What do I do when things just don’t work out?’. But at the same time the desire to take control of my own life grew bigger and bigger. But the most exiting thing was: I had no doubts anymore. All the thoughts of failure and the ‘what if’ questions disappeared and turned into energy to move forward. Something I never expected!
If I was still employed at that job, I think I would live my life structured by society. In other words: Still working for my boss’s wallet, and not being able to do the things I love. What’s the most scary thing? I think I still wouldn’t know what I love to do and would not have the time for it to discover and explore myself.
Currently, Lindy and I just beta-launched ‘The Lifestyle Switch’, a 16-week course that helps people discover their passion and define what’s truly important to them in their lives. We encourage people to go out and spend more time on things they love to do, instead of on things society expects from them.
“I’m truly grateful for what happened, because it forced me to have exactly what I wanted: Freedom to pursue anything I want.”
I was recently fired because of my involvement in a podcast I did with another friend/co-worker.
The podcast was about finding your true self, your dharma, standing alone against the world if you have to (so long as you are being true to who you are), questioning everything, and not being a drone that’s programmed by external sources.
In the show, which is marked for mature and adult audiences only, we were full of sarcasm, adult humor, and mocked stereotypes and the programming thrown out by cultural and religious sources. Our CEO got wind of the show, listened, and was greatly offended personally, as his religion was mentioned.
At first he told us we’d have to stop the show, apologize to the rest of the company, and agree to never publish that type of content again — or else we couldn’t keep our jobs. They suspended us for the rest of the day and we came back the next morning and said we have the right to do the show and that we wouldn’t stop.
Those were our beliefs; and although it was delivered in a way that did contain goofy, immature, vulgar, and sarcastic jokes, our message was still about love, happiness, and truth.
We did the podcast on our own time, and didn’t mention the company or the employees that worked there, and overall it didn’t have anything to do with the company. Still, the CEO said we’d done irreparable damage to the brand and employees, and we were let go.
For a long time I’ve had a little blog that started out with giving simple advise about life and finding happiness, and it’s slowly turned into about helping people fall back in love with who they truly are and not live their life based on external control or programming.
This recent event only confirms my beliefs with that message even more.
I’d like to turn it into a business and help people rid themselves of the programming thrown on to them by society, religions, corporations, the media, etc. and help people discover their true self, their inner beauty, their unlimited power and potential, and live a life their dreams are jealous of.
I signed up for Trailblazer a few days after getting fired, and along with doing some life coaching on the side, I’m prepping and planning out how to make this business happen.
If I was still employed at that job I’d be waking up every day like an unhappy, unfulfilled, unmotivated drone, putting in just enough energy to keep the system going so I could return the next day to repeat it over again. I’d put more energy into dreaming about a new life of freedom instead of doing actual work at the day job but feel trapped and unable to do anything about it.
Looking back on it now, I was constantly in a poor mental state while working there, and I’m truly grateful for what happened because it forced me to have exactly what I wanted: Freedom to pursue anything I want.
I hope to take full advantage of this and never sell myself or my time ever again to anyone, especially for an illusory sense of security. My situation is proof enough that you can’t depend on anyone or anything no matter how good you think you have it. To paraphrase Buddha, You alone are responsible for your own salvation; depend on no one else.
As for me, I’m turning my “mess” into my “message”, and using it as a tool in my kit to create my own reality, my own salvation, and help as many people as I can along the way.
“It was like a bomb went off. I was laid off and out of work… just like that.”
It was a pretty rough year for me. My main business that I depended on for income was beginning to see signs of collapse early in the year, and it progressively got worse as the year went on.
Just when our savings buffer was completely gone, I had been introduced to an opportunity that looked like it would change everything.
I was hired to take over a large portion of the Operations and Affiliate Marketing strategies for a large, up and coming startup in the Internet E-Commerce space. The project was incredibly exciting, as it allowed me to work within my strengths. I really couldn’t have asked for a better timed opportunity and fit.
I had worked on that project for 6 months when I received a phone call that the company was out of money, and that they wouldn’t be able to pay me to keep going. It was like a bomb went off. I was laid off, and out of work… just like that.
I was not prepared. I didn’t have enough time to prepare. My savings were gone from last year’s disaster. For 6 months I worked on a bare bones salary just to pay the bills and get the company to launch. What was I going to do? My wife. My kids. They depend on me, and I’ve got nothing left.
Since that phone call, I’ve been working my ass off to get something going. I launched an Internet Marketing firm, Asheville Web Design Company, and relaunched the blog that I put a lot of heart and energy into prior to getting involved in the e-commerce project, TRIBE.LY.
Not jumping into action was not a choice. I had to move — FAST.
I jumped on elance.com and started bidding on Search Engine Optimization and Small Business Internet Marketing projects. It took a lot of proposals, but I eventually got that first sale. It happened 4 days into being laid off, in fact. And, it happened to be a pretty good one that will result in monthly residual income for SEO work that I will be doing. The first sale is always the hardest, and learning your sales process and cycles usually takes time. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
I’m not quite there yet, but I feel good about the direction I’m heading in. I’m helping people and small businesses, which is what I love to do, and I’m having to put my strengths out there for the world to know about. Having TRIBE.LY relaunched is a lot of fun too, and I plan to keep that moving forward, so that I can continue to build my tribe, and offer incredible value through that as well.
If I was still employed at that job, I would be solely focused on launching that business that I was involved in. Not that it was a bad project to be involved in… it just doesn’t seem like it was meant to be.
I am now focused on building and consulting several small businesses and am about to release a product called “The Artist’s Flight Formula”, which will be a coaching mastermind to help Artists build their tribes, platforms and get paid doing what they love. If I was still at that job, these opportunities would never have gotten my attention or commitment like they do now.
I truly believe the chaos of the job loss will result in a beautiful rising up, and use of my gifts and strengths in the form of coming alive in what I was meant to do to serve others.
“I knew that any job I went back to was going to make me miserable again.”
In February of 2012 I was hired at a new job in banking for another Fortune 500 company making 38k a year. I am a grad school dropout, and that was the highest I’d ever made at a job. I figured out in Grad school that I would make it a lot further in life if I worked on myself and my business due to the mass consumption of internet Master’s degree programs.
After two months of working at that job, I began to realize that this job was not for me and I probably wouldn’t last long. I chose to remain focused on my true passion in the meantime, which is real estate. I spent my time listening to podcasts, networking via internet/in person, and sacrificing my weekends to look at houses. I eventually got written up for my job performance, and I panicked because I didn’t want them to fire me.
I started looking for a new job and got two job offers within a 45 day time frame, but I turned both of them down due to the fact that I knew that any job I went back to was going to make me miserable again.
So I decided, once fired I will pursue my passion full time as a Real Estate Investor. I spoke to a friend who pretty much made me confirm it. She said “Nasar you will be 29 once, but you can always go back and get another job”. That opened up my eyes. In September of 2012 my Grandpa passed away, and I ask for some time off to attend his funeral. And guess what? My job fired me! Lol, I guess they said while you are out of the office, do us a favor and never come back.
Since then I have made as much as 19k in one month. At the age of 30, this is the first time in my life that I can save money at a noticeable rate. I can also go on vacation and come back from it not thinking about being stuck at a office desk answering emails, hoping to get caught up on the first day back.
Being your own boss is very stressful but the peace of mind is priceless once you build consistency in your business.
If I was still employed at that job I would have a horrible 40 minute commute spent listening to something to positive just to get me through the day. As soon as I would step into the office it would feel as if a refrigerator fell on my back. I would then go to my CPU and look out the office window and day dream how nice it would be to live life on my terms.
Luckily, I escaped that. You can check out my current work here.
“Instead of losing sleep and having panic attacks about constantly moving deadlines that were up to the whim of an egomaniac… this month, I made art.”
I was doing a lot of freelance writing work for a regional magazine for a few years, when the publisher asked me to step in as the copy editor. Right from the start, I didn’t want the job. I wanted to focus on writing — not editing someone else’s writing.
But as someone with two small kids at home, I also knew it was a good opportunity to expand my work experience and would also give me a steady writing gig and possibly more important, a steady income stream.
Can we say hell? It was awful. Horrible structure. Unmet deadlines all around. A really, really inconsiderate boss. It was like working in quicksand… you just couldn’t get out from the muck.
After a year and a half of this, I signed up for Jonathan’s 365 Days to Freedom program. He advised picking an ‘end date’. He also advised it being a year out. I knew I couldn’t wait that long. My goal was November 11th.
I had just started Jonathan’s program, and right away things were happening. Opportunities for my freelance writing and art business started showing up. Along with two other artists, I started making plans for a bricks and mortar shop for our artwork (now in place!!!) and even started another business where I could continue to write, but also work with people, collaborating and helping them get their message out to customers.
That week, I got an email saying “Danielle, I have decided to move in a different direction regarding the editing of XXXXXXXX, effective Monday. I would like to continue to use you as a freelance writer as often as I can and would like to continue printing your column. I want to thank you for all of your hard work editing, I know that it hasn’t been easy. But every so often I think a fresh set of eyes is needed in a position like that.”
I was blown away. Did I mention this person used to actually be a friend?!
In the end, that email ended up being good news after all. Instead of losing sleep, proofreading 64 pages of a magazine several times with no thanks, and having panic attacks about constantly moving deadlines that were up to the whim of an egomaniac, this month, I made art.
I loaded my shop with artwork and jewelry and had my first ‘bricks and mortar’ sales. I also reached out to all my professional contacts about standOUT and have projects lining up. I entered the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Contest, offered to help collaborate on a project with a virtual mentor, and found out that instead of writing about someone, someone will be writing about ME in September (I’ll be the featured artist of the month in a local magazine), and it will coincide with my first booked art show!
If I was still employed at that job I would NEVER have had the time or state of mind to pursue all of these things.
“The book sold almost 100,000 copies. It became an international bestseller, and is still being used as a text book at high schools and colleges to this day.”
My story starts quite a while back. I was 13 years old, making minimum wage working at Subway. I ended up getting fired because I had requested to take some time off.
Around that same time, I had asked my parents if I could go to a Game Programming Conference (called XGDX — Xtreme Game Developers eXpo) in Santa Clara, about 2 hours from my house in Sacramento. They said yes, and I went to the conference and met a publishing company there who was launching a new Game Programming book series.
One idea I had at that time was ‘Game Programming for Kids’, so I ended up submitting 80 pages to them, and changing the title to Game Programming for Teens.
The book sold almost 100,000 copies. It became an international bestseller (translated into 4 or 5 languages), and was one of the top 6 bestselling books in Poland for its translation. It was #20 on Amazon and made it to the Top 20 in Barnes and Noble. It’s still being used as a text book at high schools and colleges to this day.
The book also spawned a monthly segment on a TV show when I was 16. Overall, I ended up writing a total of 6 books (if you count multiple editions).
If I was still employed at that job I likely would have never have gone to the conference at all. Maybe I wouldn’t have even gotten into Stanford (which I did because of the book I think). I’d probably be a programmer or something in Sacramento or Bay Area.
Now I’m dedicated to blogging on my site Hack The System, and just got funded for a new startup: A bracelet that electrocutes you when you use Facebook.
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