Your boss walks into your office and quietly shuts the door behind her. She sits down at your desk in a most somber manner. After taking a deep breath, she coldly releases the words you dreaded all your life: “You’re fired.”
Think of the emotional tornado now racing through your mind. Fear. Regret. Sadness. Shame. And then your internal chatter goes into overdrive with repetitive messages blasting in your head: “If I’d only done more. Why didn’t I take my job seriously? I wish I shared my big, creative ideas instead of held them back. I know I could do better if I only had a second chance. I’d do anything for the opportunity to prove that I can truly be a top performer. I just know I can transform. I’ll put in the extra time; I’ll over-deliver.”
So why wait to get fired?
Getting cut from the team, dismissed from a job, rejected by a spouse, or replaced from your nonprofit volunteer post are all examples of a stinging and painful wake-up call. But we don’t need to be discharged to make long-overdue change. Instead of coasting until that crushing defeat occurs, why not taking it upon yourself to proactively avoid it?
Customers fire suppliers all the time when a better alternative appears. Consumers change toothpaste and cereal brands with stunning regularity. Insurance agents get fired when a more compelling, service-oriented option enters the fold.
If you think about it, we are all only a few bad moves (or stagnant non-moves) away from getting fired in our companies, careers and communities.
This is actually a great thing, not a sentence to live in fear. Knowing that coasting is never an option pushes us to achieve more, to better serve others. The urgency of pushing our organizations and ourselves to the next level to avoid being dislodged by a competitor has driven peak performance in all aspects of life since the beginning of time.
My challenge to you: Fire yourself. Give your old self the boot, and replace it with a new and improved version. Embrace the same promise to do your best as if you were actually fired while avoiding the hassle of cleaning out your desk.
If you were fired, what would the ideal replacement do differently? How would they add more value? Build better relationships? Serve customers more effectively? Drive more impact in the community?
Don’t wait for catastrophe to strike. Fire yourself … early and often. In turn, you’ll create a strong company, brand, career, and community. It will create urgency, drive creativity, and allow you to embrace a fresh, bold, new perspective.
You’re fired. You’re welcome.