I had an interview for a promotion at my job this past Friday. After leaving the interview I felt like it went okay… I didn’t hit it out of the park but I thought my knowledge level was adequate enough to warrant being given a shot at the position. Keep in mind that at the time I was the only one interviewing for the position. It wasn’t like there were a vast amount of people going for the spot- it was just me. A few days later I got word that I didn’t get the position.
I won’t lie, I was surprised.
While I know that a lot of people go through plenty of rejections before they ever get accepted and move up, I wasn’t expecting to go through the same process. I expected, because of some recent training and encouragement, that I was a level above everyone else. I would look at others already in the position that I was applying for and think, “I can execute more than they can.”
I let some entitlement sink in and therefore didn’t do all that I could to prepare. I thought that executing my job at a higher level than my peers would be enough to make me stand out.
My pride took a definite hit this week.
As much as it sucks to get rejected…it’s a good thing.
What this is now is an opportunity. An opportunity for me to stop operating out of pride and to get back to work with accuracy and humility. I have a better perspective of where I need to be in order to apply again in the future. I know I have work to do and that there will be bumps in the road, and I will adjust to those as well. It’s good that this has taken me out of my complacency and comfort and put a boot in my back to get going.
Rejection is needed sometimes.
I’ve talked a lot about making a big impact, trying to change the world, the whole Steve Jobs make a dent in the universe thing… While there’s nothing innately wrong with wanting to make a big impact on the world, you have to step back and look at your motivation.
Why do you really want to make a big impact?
Why do you want to be someone who is well known?
Is it really so that you could have a quality impact on the world?…
or is it for yourself?
Do you just want the recognition?
If I sit down and really reflect on my motives, I see a lot of pride driving my desire. If I’m honest “making a good impact” is secondary to me getting recognition for making the impact. My motives are mainly selfish.
With that being discovered, I realize that I need to step out of my delusions of grandeur and into the everyday parts of my life. If I just dream about becoming famous and making a broad impact, my day to day can easily move out of focus. I have to stop thinking about everything I want to accomplish in the future, and focus on what I am doing now.
I need to understand that most likely, the fame and fortune will not come, they come to very few, I need to take care of how I live my life right now.
If you don’t make an impact on tens of thousands of people, who did you make an impact on?
Did you treat your wife well and love her unconditionally?
Did you reach out to friends and help them in their times of need?
Did you show love to that family member that no one likes?
Were selfless actions a normal part of your life?
I have come to the realization that if you cannot be selfless and loving to the people around you, it really doesn’t matter if you get the fame and money and recognition. I would rather never become famous and live a quiet life with authenticity than become famous and not be living out what I’m preaching.
Authenticity is more important than recognition.
You know when you’re woken up from a deep sleep by a bright light? How much that feeling sucks? We squint and cover our eyes. We yell at the person who turned on the light and tell them to shut it off. It hurts. It hurts to be forced out of your restful sleep and shoved into consciousness.
When someone tells you the truth, it hurts. It’s painful. When truth is first revealed to you the last thing that you want is more truth. You just want them to go away so you can go back to being comfortable.
The discomfort is necessary. The pain is necessary. To change your current state you have to go through the discomfort of transition. The time it takes for your eyes to adjust is not nice or convenient, but it’s necessary.
After you go through the discomfort, you become used to the light. It becomes normal for you. Trying to see in the dark doesn’t work anymore, you just want to turn on the light.
One of the best movies I have seen is called Patch Adams. (If you have not seen it, watch it, it will improve your day.) There’s a scene in the movie where Patch is in a mental hospital. Patch has a conversation with another patient in the hospital named Arthur Mendelson, and it goes like this;
Arthur: (Holding up four fingers) “How many fingers do you see?
Arthur: “No, no. Look at me.”
Patch: (Confused) ….”What?”
Arthur: “You’re focusing on the problem. If you focus on the problem you can’t see the solution. Never focus on the problem, look at me!”
Patch: (Slowly takes his focus beyond the four fingers and focuses on Arthur, which blurs the fingers into double.)
Arthur: “Yes! Yes! Exactly! See what no one else sees, see what everyone else chooses not to see! Out of fear, conformity, laziness! See the whole world anew, each day!”
A simple principle with a profound impact. Everyone looks around and only sees what is directly in front of them. A regular person will look at a pile of wood and just see a pile of wood. A carpenter can look at it and see a rocking chair, handcrafted table, or a beautiful cabinet.
Be a carpenter, be a creative, in the everyday places of life. Get out of your comfort zone and the standard understanding and look for different perspectives to any of life’s problems.
I’m sure the majority of us have heard this comparison before, but for the few who haven’t, I would love to share a logical fallacy within our laws.
Destroying the egg of a bald eagle can result in a fine up to $5,000 and up to one year imprisonment. Why? Because Bald Eagles are an endangered species. There is a serious effort to preserve their lives and make sure that they continue living. The egg, which will turn into a bald eagle-barring something going wrong in the process- is protected under federal law from being harmed. It’s protected because of the probability of what it will turn into.
Now! You probably know where I’m going with this. Abortion. The single greatest catastrophe of the past century, is legalized in all 50 states under federal law. For most states anywhere from 20-24 weeks pregnant you are able to get an abortion…24 weeks. Two-thirds of the way into pregnancy you can legally kill your child for whatever circumstance you decide is adequate enough reason to do so. By the way, a heartbeat starts at around 6 weeks.
Now, I’m not arguing women’s rights, or when the child is “viable”, or why it’s my business what other people do with their bodies-Frankly because all of these arguments are completely worthless and if you argue them you are missing the point completely. This post isn’t about you, it’s about all of the children without a voice.
My point is this- we value the potential life of a bird over the potential life of a human being.
This. Is. Insane.
This is just one example, but it shows how our values have been tragically misplaced…
1. Honor the people in authority over you. Submitting to authority is a big problem for most people because of our pride. We want to do things our way, and when someone tells us what to do we resent it.
Have some humility.
Understand that there is a process to getting to the top and you may not be there yet. If you are doing your job well you will make those above you look good. Speak highly of those in leadership even if you don’t agree with their methods. When you discuss the leadership with other people, focus on their strengths and ignore their weaknesses. Do everything you can to build them up and don’t tear them down.
2. Respect the people next to you. Encourage each other on a regular basis. Even when it doesn’t benefit you, help them. When they don’t completely finish a job, finish it for them. Don’t make a show of it and try to make yourself look better, just finish it. When they make a mistake, have their back. When someone else gets promoted ahead of you, be happy for them.
3. Lift up the people below you. Be a hand reaching out offering help to the ones below you. Teach, train, and point out mistakes without belittling the person. When someone messes up, show them where they went wrong and how to fix it, don’t just be mad because the mistake was made. Be the leader that you want those above you to be.
Three rules summed up simply-
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
If you are running a 100 yard dash with people that are slower than you, you will win every time. It will only make you feel good about yourself because you are winning the race of slow men and women. If you are running a 100 yard dash with people that are much faster, you might consistently lose, but your time will be better. You’ll push yourself to get to the same speed as they are.
If you only have people around you that make you look good, that make you feel like you’re better than they are, you will not improve. You will be happy with the status quo. You will feel like you’re successful because you’re doing better than they are.
Get around people that force you to get better. Make it a point to be the dumbest person in the room on occasion, It will push you into improvement. Because when you look around and see people accomplishing more than you are, you will look at them and say, “If they can do it, so can I.”