Today's Reading

To get ready for this moment, I practiced exactly what I was going to say in my mirror at home. The morning of the meeting, I picked a red outfit, a power color that allows me to feel my best, and I did my hair and took some extra time to look good because I knew it would turn my self-confidence up a notch.

I wanted to stand tall and exude confidence, and with all my preparations completed, I knew I would.

I had reached a point where nothing was worth allowing me to feel like a B-rated version of myself. I wasn't nothing. I had delivered millions of dollars' worth of business to the company for years. I deserved to be seen and heard. To put the icing on my confidence cake, I played my "Fire Me Up!" playlist as I drove to the office.

I showed up to the meeting and chatted everyone up. Many people complimented me on my red dress—I smiled and thanked them. It was game on.

Then, in came the interim CEO, my new boss—the villain. She walked from person to person as she always did, and passed by me as she always did. She sat at the head of the table where she always sat. That's when I made my move.

I raised my hand and said, "Good morning! You must have missed me! I'm down here and excited to be here!" I gave her a big smile and a wave.

I wasn't being mean or disrespectful, but in that moment, I was building my confidence. And I could see that hers was being chipped away.

The reality is that, in any moment, you are either building your confidence or chipping away at it by the actions you take or don't take.

If my new boss had wanted to build her confidence back up, she could have simply said, "Good morning, Heather, thank you for understanding that it wasn't intentional. Glad you are here. Now, let's begin our meeting."

She didn't say anything though. She hadn't seen that one coming. I saw a few of the men at the table shoot glances to one another and even saw one of them try to hold back a laugh. I had let it be known, loud and clear, I would no longer be ignored.

That was it. The game ended right then and there, or so I thought.

Looking back, I believe this was the moment when the villain decided to get rid of me for good. Within a few months, I was gone.

I'm sure you know the saying "When one door closes, another door opens." That's not how I saw it—I was in a total panic. My source of income had been suddenly and irrevocably cut off. Not only that, I had signed a noncompete agreement when I became chief revenue officer, which prohibited me from taking a position with a competitor for one year after I left the company. This meant that I couldn't leverage my vast network of connections in the industry—for the next year, I would have to find some other way to generate income.

And I needed income. There's another part of the story I neglected to tell you. When I was fired, I was a single mom with a ten-year-old son, Dylan.

While you may be expendable, you are never replaceable.

There's no one else in the universe like you. I didn't realize this at the time, but today—as I write these words—it is crystal clear. You have the ability and opportunity to take your unique skills and attributes anywhere you want. Just because you have been successful in one lane doesn't mean that you can't succeed in another.

Getting fired was painful and heartbreaking. That day I truly felt I had lost everything. What I didn't realize was that while they could take away my paycheck, everything else stayed with me. No one can ever take away your reputation, your experiences, your network, and your talents. No one is replaceable.

The scariest thing I did was deciding not to go back to corporate America and work for another company. Instead, I decided to go to work for myself. I would take all the success I had earned for others and use that success instead to ensure the future of my son and me.

Sitting here right now, I still can't believe I did it. While I loved the security my steady paycheck provided, I hated the way it made me feel. I wasn't living up to my potential, and I certainly wasn't happy. I was simply surviving—hoping my boss would finally recognize my worth and leave me alone to do what I did best. But that's no way to live.

To find your true calling in life, you need to be willing to take risks and put yourself on the line. This may mean escaping your box by jumping out the window and realizing you've got wings and that they will open when you need them the most. I think we all intuitively know this is the case, but sometimes we have to be pushed out the window to discover our wings have been there all along.

Making the decision to sit alone instead of sitting at a table where you are not supported is not easy, but it will be worth it.
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