It was mid-afternoon Friday, August 31st when I walked in the Market Manager’s office. Within a minute or two the conversation took an unforeseen hard right when he said, “Your position has been eliminated from the 2008 budget.”
Still trying to grasp the meaning, I leaned forward and looked across the desk, “Does that mean I’m not coming back on Monday?”
“You’ll need a ride home. Randy will join you as you pack your office.”
The shock and awe of the moment quietly pushed me down the hall to my office. We emptied paper boxes in the copy room. Like a dazed driver at the scene of a car wreck, I gathered the pictures and memorabilia that made that office my space.
“Hey, Rita, I need a ride home,” I quietly advised. “My position has been eliminated.”
Everybody has a Story
What’s your Story? Something happened to you. Someone did something to you. Call it a debt, a transgression, or an offense but it knocked the wind out of you. Of course, it hurt.
And somebody’s going to pay.
Naturally, the offender must be punished. At first, it’s easy to blame or deny or be that victim. But as reality sets in and the pain continues, anger shows up. You feel increasingly annoyed, hostile, outraged, irritable, annoyed, aggravated, frustrated — depending on what happened to you.
Life’s not fair and the bottom line is you’re angry! Grief is healthy and required.
Where’s the gift?
It’s not easy but “the gift only you can give” brings resolution to the anger. To create the gift, you must release resentment. And that gift is forgiveness.
Forgiving demonstrates your ability and willingness to grow. Forgiveness creates space for another human being’s humanity and his/her struggle to do the right thing. Yes, they missed the mark.
To be clear, forgiveness is not weakness; it takes strength to forgive. Holding onto anger, resentment, and past hurt consumes your energy and steals your freedom to live. Forgiveness is a fundamental decision if you want to write the Story you want to tell. Freedom is the prize of true forgiveness.
Martin Luther King, Jr. nailed it when he said,
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
Forgiveness is about character and revealed by “letting go of bitterness and revenge.” Those who forgive recognize the problem and the pain but handle it in a productive way.
Failure to forgive deepens resentment and frustration producing unproductive behaviors. Trying to control the other person or situation. Manipulation. Harsh speech. Personal attacks. Lack of personal responsibility. The loss of personal influence.
Forgiveness is the attitude of someone who is willing to release the past to live in the present, on the way to b. Peace and the freedom to move forward are the rewards.
Creating Space for reflection
I’d gone from setting rookie sales records to general manager in 18 months. I’d earned rewards, raises and promotions over ten years of climbing the corporate ladder. Now I sat numb, in the passenger’s seat driving nowhere. Or so it seemed.
Yes, it took some time to process the Story and grieve the experience. But, I thank God for the ability and willingness to forgive. That decision allowed me to get on with the next chapter of my Story.
Yes, that moment was painful. Like an eaglet elbowed out of the nest, I was pushed out of my comfort zone. If ever there was a time to “go for it” and launch my company, this was the time. I reflected on my journey, talked with Rita, and others. I prayed. Then I embraced my passion: the development of people.
After completing an executive coaching certification program Next Level Executive Coaching, LLC launched January 1, 2008.
Here are a few questions to help you reflect on your Story:
- What’s your Story, what happened? Who do you need to forgive?
- Where are you in the process, today?
- Where do you desire to be?
- How will you get there?
- If you’re stuck, what are the ramifications if you don’t give the gift?
Here’s to your peace,
Image: Nancy Nance via flickr