Rising from the Ashes
In March 2006, my world came crashing down. I was in a high stress job that held tremendous responsibility with unbeatable odds for my successful performance. I was failing to meet the objectives set forth by my boss, for the first time ever in my life. My natural sunny attitude was seriously cloudy.
And still, I wasn’t willing to resign from the job until I succeeded. So, I worked harder, spending extra hours attempting to salvage my reputation and save the day. Have you ever experienced a situation like this?
I was determined to make it work, until one Friday I woke up with a headache that was worse than any headache I’d ever had. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a sinus infection. I got a prescription, came home and went to bed. On Sunday morning, I got out of bed and fell swiftly to the floor. I became lethargic and couldn’t answer my husband’s questions.
I was diagnosed later that day with meningitis. I remember my head hurting so much that I didn’t want to move an inch of my body. I was so ill that I truly thought I was dying; in fact, I began to imagine a conspiracy that I was dying and nobody would tell me.
As each day passed, I got worse, and then, suddenly, a little better. When I became cognizant of my situation, I remembered hearing my husband ask the doctor how I could have contracted the disease. The answer? It was a virus that could have been contracted from a shopping cart; however, my immune system would have had to be weak enough to allow the virus to enter my body. The doctor added that stress is a huge factor in a weakened immune system.
So, as I was lying in bed, still in intense pain, I had the insight that I was allowing my work to kill me. I made the decision that I had to do something about it. A few days later, I was well enough to leave the hospital, and a few weeks later, I was released to go back to work, albeit with a fistful of painkillers in hand.
Though I gave a brave attempt at a full return to work, there came a day when I had a discussion with my boss, making the bold statement that this work wasn’t my legacy, and I wanted to create some sort of exit plan. The next day, he fired me. You can imagine how it felt to go from voluntarily choosing to exit the company straight to getting fired from the company. I was shattered, humiliated, hurt and broken.
I’ve since put my life back together. I opened a private coaching practice in November of 2006, and am about to celebrate my 5th anniversary in business. I’ve never been more fully expressed in my work, and in my life. While I felt like a victim during most of the year in 2006, I now feel truly blessed that it all happened and to have risen from the ashes.
“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.”
I never wanted to fail at my job. In fact, I couldn’t conceive of such a thing. When it happened, I had the choice to break down from my experience or break open. I chose the open road. I’m better for having the experience.
Maybe you’re in a place like this right now, or maybe you’ve been there before. Life is like that: twisting and turning, changing and moving. These moments pass by us, and we are built to persevere. The lessons come as our inner wisdom deepens and matures, creating the growth that we’re meant to achieve.