When your wife is pregnant with your fifth baby and you get that call, it's all the more interesting.
Yet despite being 33% over quota back in February 2004 I could not escape being the youngest, shortest-tenured salesperson on this bleeding-cash company and was let go at the exact moment my wife had spread out a blanket on the front yard for a little early Spring picnic at our home in Austin, TX.
At the time we were wondering if Shannon might be pregnant. (Actually, we "knew" because we've always just "known," but she hadn't been to the doctor so we didn't officially know, yet.)
But times were tough at my company and I had survived 3-4 layoffs and at least 8 reorganizations, so I knew the call could come at any time.
After taking the call I walked out the front door to my family of five (not counting me) at the time and looking at my wife I said,
to which she replied,
"You just got laid off."
We both chuckled and sat down to enjoy the Austin sunshine with a Coke and a smile.
Shannon and I knew several things at that point in our lives:
- There's no use crying over spilled milk.
- Each time I had to change jobs—fall of '97, spring of '98, summer of '99, winter of '99, summer of '00—we ended up in a better place.
- Corporate America will do what's best for them when it's best for them, so do not be surprised by anything "it" does to you.
- We lived within our means so money was not an issue or a stressor.
- As long as our relationship was solid and our kids were healthy, nothing else really mattered.
Before my 6-week severance package was up I was employed by the former President of the company that just let me go. He landed his first CEO role and moved from Massachusetts to my home town of Austin, TX.
From 1999 to 2004 my base pay rose from $36,000 to $80,000 plus stock options, plus commissions, plus expenses.
I had $20,000 months, $65,000 commission checks, was flown to multiple countries for training, bought two homes, and had three of our five daughters (to add to our two sons).
And through it all I continued to invest in myself.
I was investing in gold and precious metals because of the self-studying I had been doing since 1991.
I was investing in real estate after investing in a mentor in the real estate space.
I was investing in sales, marketing, and negotiation training both on my own and through the companies I had worked for.
I had a workout partner, so I was physically fit.
My wife and I had a strong faith and never missed mass on Sundays and remained active in our church.
It's easy to share these feel-good memes that say things like
"Life's not about avoiding the storms, it's about learning how to dance in the rain."
It's another thing to get rained on non-stop for years.
But you will get through it, as long as you have your priorities in line, and continue moving in the right direction because motion beats meditation.
You may not have your goals perfectly mapped out, but you should know your general direction, and progress beats perfection every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.
So keep moving, because if you're going through Hell, don't stop, and if you're leaving Hell in the dust,...don't stop.
Now go sell something.