OMG, wait! Fired? How did this happen? What do I do?
Have you ever been fired? Wow, just typing that word it feels dirty, bad, sad, angry and more. Yet, being fired is not a bad thing. Yes, I said that!
Yes, 90 days ago my startup “fired” me as President. Better yet, I was let go because they were closing shop. The Founders brought me in to be the face of the company, lead our first ever capital raise and take us to $1 billion. Then we all exit and ride off into the sunset in about 3.5 years from now. I was excited! I have had two successful exits but this time I had significant equity and I was leading it all. This was finally the generational wealth opportunity.
On January 24, 2023, I started a busy day with excitement. I had two investor calls set up and seven more on the books for the next 10 days. As with every Tuesday, I had a 1 on 1 set with my co-founder at 1000 am. He calls me around 845am and I text him I am on with potential investors, so we will just talk at our regular time. He texted back “Ok!”
Call starts as scheduled: “Hey Derek, how are things?”
“Not good Scott.” And there it goes… “We are pulling the plug.”
GUT PUNCH!!! In shock. I gather my thoughts and ask why. Short version, he and our CTO did not see the vision I saw and amazing traction we had. It happens in the startup world. Most startups never start.
This was not my co-founder’s first startup. He has two successful exits under his belt. Brilliant mind and person. Will always love him and appreciate the time together. But we saw the company and the state of the world differently. I come from investment banking and he never “took” money before. In the end it just was not for them to do so; coupled with how he saw our tech competing. Again, 100% respect for each other and a lifelong friendship.
Now what? Still hurting from, the gut punch because we spoke the week before and it was positivity, full steam ahead! I can admit I sat at my home office desk for an hour and did not really move, did not call anyone or do anything. Then, hot yoga! Let’s find a class and get out of my head. So, two hours later I went and it was exactly what I needed!
Sitting on my mat an hour later, sweaty, breathing heavy and feeling great, I decided “Scott, you will not send a resume, try to get a job or do anything related to work stuff until Monday. You will sit back and just breathe, workout, golf, movies, whatever. But no job search!” That is what I told myself.
Now come Friday around 100 pm, home on my couch doing nothing. Yeah, I am not the sit around doing nothing kind of person so, yup, I am ready to jump out my first-floor window. But I made a deal with myself and even though I had an urge to send out 50 resumes I kept doing nothing. Made a nice lunch, picked a movie and did nothing! Then comes Monday. Up at 5am, off to the gym. Come back and in my daily meditations, gratitude and prayer I decided I will take these next 90 days and not try to get a job. I set an intention (key word here!) to instead, let God and the universe know:
- Here is what I think I am open to
- Ask for guidance, show me things I may not see or think of
- I promised to keep an open mind and have no preconceived notions of what I should or can do
- I made a pack with God to keep to my intention I just set
- “God, I promise to 100% let you drive this car the next 90 days and show me my path of opportunity.”
And the journey began! I was excited. Ok, that is a lie. I was nervous but telling myself I am EXCITED! Took a week to be comfortable with this intention I set but I got there through patience and friends.
This was new for me and DEFINTELY stepping out of my comfort zone. Over a 30+ year career in sales, of course I have been let go, fired and more. Never for performance, funny enough. Divisions closed, stock markets crashed, companies sold or merged. It is just part of the sales and investment banking life. And I always immediately got to work finding the next job. That was the intention I used to set.
Not this time! Maybe old age and experience brought me to a new decision and direction.
See, the last few years I have been a coach and mentor to startups and small business. I took the President role with Greenlight last June because I wanted back in. I wanted to swing for the fences again, feel that rush of energy and excitement. Also, this was the role that would lead me to my relaxing years of board/advisor roles. I wanted one more big success in my career to get the board roles I sought.
Everything I did these past seven months was to bring success to GreenLight AND set me up for the future. My network of VCs, startup people, highly influential business people and more grew quickly. Without knowing it then, it set me up to make this 90-day decision and I embrace it.
I was significantly changing who I am, and how I see myself, at the age of 52. A good friend mine says it this way last week, “So much has shifted in your energy, your passions, your visions of who you are and your overall belief system.” Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks 😊
So, let’s cut to the chase of what results came from these 90 days before I share the journey of emotions and more:
- Became a board member of the UT McCombs School Center for Global Business
- Become CEO and Co-founder of MyDATA, a Web3 innovator
- About to start an IoT company
- Created my own workout app powered by AI. It was my idea!
- Oh, and just signed a contract to publish the first book I wrote
Those are the “business” accomplishments. They all happened without me seeking them aggressively. Instead, I told God, the universe and my network that I am open to opportunities to create amazing high growth companies, give back in a board/advisor role and any ideas you think may fit me. At one point I had over 10 pitch decks to consider being CEO/Advisor or raise capital for. And again, I did not seek them. I set my intention to let God lead me. And guess what? They found me!
See, clarity is the key! I created momentous clarity in my intention. I have clarity in asking and staying open minded. I did not force anything. I listened to my spiritual advisor (and one of my best friends) and became energy in my daily meditations. I was working on my past traumas of life, admitting them, accepting them and telling them “I do not need you anymore. Thank you but you served your purposed and it is time to go.” Yes, I believe in this stuff. This is the powerful, life changing stuff to embrace!
I wanted a new experience at a time when my income was pulled from me. I decided to do it different this time! Yes, I have some money in the bank so I can pay my bills, but I am not set for life. I need to achieve income at some point in the next year from when this all happened.
And I am not talking from the cheap seats here. I have been fired when I had no safety net. I have the PTSD from a couple of instances of that. I have been at the top of the career/financial mountain and fell back to the ground.
A little about my story, 31 years old, making a shit ton of wall street money and on pace to my goal of retiring at 40. Then boom! Literally the world blew up in front of me. On that infamous day of Sept 11, 2001, a plane literally flew 100 feet outside my office window into the first tower of the WTC. When the second one hit, I ran home to my NYC apartment just next store in Battery Park. I got my wife and four-month-old baby. We were outside, evacuated from our apartment watching the horrors. Then, the first tower falls and this big cloud of who knows what is coming at us and we have no place to go. I can still close my eyes and see, hear, smell and feel that moment. It engulfs us, we can’t see, we struggle to breathe and we have a baby in our arms.
Yes, a front row seat that day and it turned my life upside down for 10 years, and honestly changed it forever. My dream of retired at 40 went down with that tower. I just did not know it then. Significant financial struggles, career ups and downs and more. In 2011 I got my feet under me and the career and success started coming back, but with lots of PTSD (fears) about money.
I can say I have struggled with money beliefs no matter how much I make. And it took these 90 days to finally recognize it, accept it, and let go of it. I had to lose my income to get over a fear of losing money to be able to truly open up to the possibilities of making all my BIG dreams finally come true. Like I said early, this was the best thing that happened to me when I was fired.
Now, this 90-day journey, like all journeys had some emotional roller-coaster swings. Waking up at 3am, sweating, “OMG Scott! WTF did you do not try to get a job that pays you?” Sitting in front of LinkedIn looking at job openings about to send a resume and talking myself off that ledge because I made a deal with myself and I was going to stick it out. I was trusting in it no matter how hard some moments of this journey were. And WOW there were some friggin hard moments.
And, wow the pain that would resonate through my body the first 40 days. All stress pain from not having a salary (fear of money trauma here), other past anchors in my life that we all have. Our body tells us what we are feeling and carries the past that we have not acknowledged, accepted, forgiven ourselves and others. With guidance from a good friend, she helped me recognize, face it, embrace it, and most importantly then thanked it and sent it on its way.
Yes, thanked it. It served its purpose and by thanking it we let go of anger, fear and other emotions that service us no good.
So here is the kicker on all the great stuff that has and keeps coming my way, all the roles written above pay me $0. They are startups. Need to raise capital to get paid. Yet, they EXCITE me! This is what I was always meant to do. As my brother says, “So you have four jobs and they pay you nothing?” Can you hear the tone in his voice? My big brother is my biggest fan and best friend. He always is a voice in my head to check myself. I am much more the risk taker and his voice keeps me grounded. I need that!
So now what? The 90-days is past. Simply, my journey of self-healing (with help from many), self-belief, confidence at a new level, believing that I deserve what I seek, and I see it all with clarity.
I see the new dream home I will buy from the success that is coming. I see the 9-figure sum of money that will fund my foundation and the purpose of that foundation to make the world a better place for as many as possible. I see all the people I will help along the way.
I see myself differently now. I am not he CEO/operator anymore. I now see myslef as all of the following:
- Highly sought after Advisor by many
- A man who has been healed in every way
- And much more…
I made a new deal with myself. This 90-days will continue in perpetuity. When you stop trying to grab and take from the world; instead, be a giver and open to greatness and your path then everything you desire will come to you and more. That is who I am now. I will no longer try to grab the reins, but live a life in this new intention of trusting in my path and seeking people for amazing connections with no expectations or asks. That it will all work itself out just by being open, and putting myself in new places and circumstances so I may accept what God and the universe desires to show me and provide.
I know, many are reading that last part and maybe I lost you there, maybe you are laughing or making a face. All good. I love you all. I ask one thing, have an open mind to it, try it and see. Try it in one small corner of your life and see. You may just be pleasantly surprised.
To wrap it all up, it is scary to be fired. Many of you know this and have felt it. If you are there now, what is your next step? How will you transform to your next chapter? How will you let go of what you think you are supposed to do, and what everyone will tell you? How will you let go, clear your belief systems and start fresh? What do you need to heal inside yourself?
What moon shot are you ready to take and trust that God and the universe has you. Just let go! Believe in them, believe in you and believe with an open and strong mind.
What intention will you set today?
YOU GOT THIS!