About 10 minutes after she ordered, she started snapping her fingers and shouting across the restaurant, “Excuse me…waitress…where’s my oatmeal?”
I walked over to her and repeated what I’d said earlier, “Our oatmeal is made from scratch and takes 20 minutes to cook.” She screamed, “Just bring me my oatmeal NOW!” So I walked over to the chef and asked him for her oatmeal. He told me it was still raw. I said, “That’s how she wants it.” I got fired that day.
I was in shock. I mean I wasn’t sad to leave a place that was sucking the life out of me, but, I was completely humiliated and embarrassed and job-less.
I remember driving over Coldwater Canyon, screaming & crying in the car. I was SO angry. All I could think about was how much of a loser I was… how I had nothing: no money, no plans, no future.
Once I got home, panic set in. The more I thought about the situation, the worse it got. I became so depressed that I didn’t get out of bed to do anything but drink water and use the bathroom. I just couldn’t figure out how I had gotten here. I had a college degree, I was smart. What happened? I cried and cried and then cried some more. I threw things around. I moped. I freaked out. I just didn’t know what to do and was too embarrassed to ask for help because then I’d have to reveal that I’d been fired and was a failure.
After about a week of this… it hit me – hard!
I was listening to a song on the radio – Freedom by George Michael. I couldn’t get the chorus out of my head… “Freedom, Freedom….” and at some point during the day, the word freedom clicked. Freedom! I started to think about it and suddenly, as if lightning struck me, I realized…I was FREE. I hated that restaurant. I had been unhappy for months. I was settling every day that I walked into that place. And now, I was just wasting time, obsessing about being fired, feeling sorry for myself, blaming others, and getting nowhere.
Getting fired meant freedom. It was an opportunity for me to create the incredible life I had been putting off. I mean, let’s be honest, I got myself fired. I knew that when I brought crazy-lady her raw oatmeal – it wasn’t going to go down well for me. But now…I was FREE! And that failure opened up a world of possibilities and opportunity for me.
In that moment, I went from feeling sorry for myself to being excited.I put on my mix tape, got out a piece of paper and started brainstorming. My dream had always been to be an entrepreneur and now, I could do it. I was going to do it! I couldn’t contain myself. I was going to start my own company. I had so many ideas. I couldn’t write fast enough. I’ll admit, for a second, I had a “what if I fail” moment, but, I pushed it out of the way…quickly. I didn’t care. I was tired of being afraid to fail and ready to just do it.
One year later, (and after some major trials and tribulations), I had a vending machine company with 300 machines installed. (Learn more about that crazy ride here). I was up, running and making money. I learned about branding, marketing, sales, accounting, and customer service. I had no idea what I was doing, made tons of mistakes, but I figured it out. With commitment, resources and support, I did it!
Five years after that, I began coaching other women to be successful. And over the past 20 years, I’ve helped thousands of female entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality. The realization that my entire life could change in one moment simply because I shifted my thinking from “I’m a loser who got fired” to “I got fired and now have endless opportunity in front of me” was the most powerful insight that I had ever had.
My life hasn’t been the same since. Now, I’m excited to get up every day and help others. Right after I have a really killer bowl of oatmeal. Made from scratch, you know. Some things are worth the wait.