There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; True nobility is being superior to your former self. –Ernest Hemingway
There’s a reason Hemingway will always be considered one of the greatest writers of our time. He’s certainly a personal favorite of mine, in fact, one of my first literary crushes. I really admire that he had such an unorthodox perspective on the human condition, especially the complexity of its flaws and inner battles. This quote really resonates with me, and even though I would like to think I’m on the pathway of nobility to my former self, past events have no problem reminding me that I’m not quite there, but I’m certainly headed in the right direction.
Before I started my Master’s program this summer, I worked in retail for about 10 years. It’s one of those things that started out as part-time gig in High School, that kind of just stuck–so much so that even after graduating with an English degree, I literally only had retail to fall back on.
So much for the writer’s dream to set off to NYC and make it big.
Anyway, what started out as just a job turned into promotions and bigger and better opportunities and before I knew it, I was actually climbing, what I imagined to be, the ladder of success. I’ve managed very high volume stores for stores like Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, Coach, and my last stop, Sunglass Hut where I became a store manager just at the age of 24. I can honestly look back on my career and feel like I accomplished something, and even admit that I am proud of some of my professional achievements.
There’s nothing more brutally awakening than a harsh reality check of your personal measurement of success than when someone takes it from you, or closes that door for you. A little over a year ago, I was terminated from a job that I sacrificed a great deal for, and poured so much of myself into because I loved it. I was completely blind sighted and absolutely devastated, especially because the result of my termination was over an honest error that was so completely far from being intentional. For the driven ones with extreme work ethics such as myself, I would never dream of the day where I would put myself in a situation where my professional security could be compromised in the blink of an eye. But, it was. And, because I am someone who is very reflective about my actions and role in situations, and because I take on that responsibility so deeply, I often struggle in recovering from as they seemingly find a way to haunt me as I attempt to move ahead.
After I was terminated, I was not exempt to any of the lingering emotions that typically develop after such a traumatic event. I felt rejected. Not good enough. Stupid. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Angry. Terrified. Lost. Confused. Belittled. Defeated. Guilty. The saddest part is that over a year later, I sometimes feel many of those feelings even though I have taken such a different direction in my life, and in many ways, moved on, and I can honestly confirm based on where I am today, to bigger and better things.
So, what is the lesson when life closes doors for us that we weren’t ready for, or emotionally prepared to lose? In my experience, it is a deeper understanding that it is no longer beneficial to compare yourself to anyone except the development of yourself. That means shedding skin on the habits and actions that are no longer serving you, and moving into thoughts and actions that are shaping you into the best version of who you are inherently meant to be. Sure, it’s hard seeing other people reach dreams that you once had envisioned for yourself, but when you challenge yourself to focus on your journey and your growth, not that of others, the lesson becomes clear and the answers do come.
When I was a manager, my goal was just to make something of myself, and I think I was terribly confused with making something of myself and becoming something of myself. I used to think that I was someone of importance because I was amazing at managing my store, my business and my people. I loved connecting with my client’s and leaving that impression on them. But, I never imagined that those experiences would only prepare me for working with people on rich, more meaningful levels through counseling and life coaching. Or, that I could actually reach people through my words through my life empowerment brand, be + LIFTED. I certainly never thought that I would be 26 years old in the stages of building my own business and practice.
When I really reflected on my experiences in my career, I could literally point to a million reasons as to why life was purposely shutting doors for me. That door closed for a multitude of reasons because I had to prepare for better opportunities to present themselves to me. In that timeframe, I have restored my health, taken off much-needed time to reassess my life and my personal goals, manifested an amazing Master’s program in a field that is aligned with my higher self, and am working on certification to become a Life Coach. That’s crazy progress that I would have NEVER taken steps towards had I still been in an environment that was essentially stifling me from my higher and more fulfilling calling. Quite simply, being a store manager no longer served me. I can’t deny, it would have been a lot less painful to stumble upon that discovery on my own timing, but how long would it have taken me to reach my ultimate dreams and ditch that comfort zone?
Someone’s rejection or disapproval is the Universe telling you that positive movement forward is ahead, not regression or failure. A door closing is a subtle reminder that your energy is no longer needed in that area, so do not be mistaken–development is on the forefront to guide you to where you should be investing your talents and gifts!
Nobility is looking at a situation and deciding that you’re going to learn from that scenario for the benefit of your best self. You’re doing a disservice to yourself and the direction that the Universe is preparing for you when you resort to those feelings of guilt and shame when a situation did not turn out how you hoped it would, or anticipated a vastly different outcome. By replacing those wasted emotions on excitement for new opportunities and a willingness to learn from the past to be a better individual for your future, you experience growth, restoration and clarity!
Don’t ever, ever, ever lose hope of what is to come, and don’t let those harder moments in life stifle your ability to blossom into an extraordinary human being that is growing from adversity, not succumbing to it!
Consciously and actively, be + LIFTED!
Love and blessings,