There's a restaurant in Lakewood, Ohio called Angelo's. Odds are if you live in Cleveland you already know it's the best damn pizza in all the land. I've looked at their menu many o'times and this has always stuck with me: On the menu is the story of the owner who's name is surprisingly 'Tom'. He shares the history of the restaurant and how is father-in-law said to him once: 'Wow, Angelo - you're an overnight success' and Angelo's response was 'Yes, it only took 20 years...'.
When I was 22 I interviewed for a company in Arizona and got the job. They even offered to pay for my moving expenses. I was bartending, literally living in my parents basement and still considered Ramen a food group. I wasn't particularly driven to do much of anything except hang out with my friends. So when this company said here's $2,000 smackers and 'we'll see you in a month' - I said OK!
I packed up my 1998 Volkswagon Beetle with everything I owned and headed west like the lyrics of Dixie Chicks song. The second I left my parents' driveway I knew it was a mistake. But I didn't care. I wanted adventure, I wanted to see stuff, I wanted a change, I wanted to have fun!
Fast forward four months in and I'm sitting across from some well coiffed bro telling me that the company 'no longer sees potential in me'. Seriously, OUCH. Ok, in his defense this guy was probably 3 months older than me and had a wee bit of a jump start at this start-up but nonetheless, ouch. Oh, and it was the day of the Christmas party so naturally I was wearing my finest ugly Christmas sweater - so I was fired in sequin Santa vest!
I moved 2,000 miles away from home, I had no money, no job (...my pets heads were fallin' off)*. I felt alone and unworthy. I had student loans to pay. I mean if this company saw no potential in me then how could I even add value anywhere else? I was a loser! Right?
So I did what any self-respecting 22 year old would do - I went and bought a $5 bottle of wine, smoked a bunch of cigarettes and got drunk by myself on my couch. I called my Dad and he said 'Vick, you only get to be sad for 1 day and after that day you have to make a plan'.
So I did. I soon got another job and I still felt like I had no idea what I was doing but I got to travel and had the best coworkers. I learned so much about businesses and how they operate and how all people really want is something to make their lives easier. I've actually stayed at that job for a little over 7 years which has come with it's own ups and downs. If you read my previous blog Just Jump, you'll know that I've had some recent recognition for my work but it didn't happen right away.
In my lifetime, I've been rejected by American Idol producers not once but twice, I've failed more than I can even count and I have been told 'no' by more people than I care to admit. I even asked a guy to senior prom (very feminist of me, I know) via handwritten note and was totally shot down.
My point here is that getting fired was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me because it showed me who I am. After that, the universe conspired with me get me to the place I am today. A place where I can share my story and say to you that there is always something on the other side of pain or tragedy. There's a kind of grit and will to do great things if you let yourself. I think before that happens you have to let the past be the past. Now I know I'll always fail at some things but I'll always be succeeding where it matters most.
You've already survived and overcome so much in your own lives and the fact that you're reading this now means you lived to tell your story! So pat yourself on the back, girlfriend because you're survivin' and thrivin'!
How many pizzas do you think Angelo had to burn to make the greatest pizza ever created?? (if you've never been there - run, don't walk.)
If you've recently gone through something traumatic like a break up or a lay off or any kind of life change - really believe that all is meant to be and let life do the rest because magic tends to appear when you least expect it. ;)
*no pets were harmed in the writing of this blog