Heather Hansen

I Had to Fire Myself

Something happened recently. I’m not proud, but I have to tell you about it. Last week I had to fire myself. It was the perfect storm. It happened after a long week of challenging days. They were those slow and quiet days of August. August has always been a slow month for me. Courts are slower, people are away, and there seems that there is less work to be done. But for me, there wasn’t. I had a plan. The slow days of August were when I was going to focus on honing my keynote speech and my workshops. This is solitary work. No one can do it for you, or even with you. So I was bored. And boredom is dangerous for this particular employee.

The final straw happened at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon. I’d been writing and researching all morning, and had hours of slide creation ahead of me. I was still in my tennis skirt and a t shirt, with my hair in a ponytail, from the only break I was supposed to take all day. I’d gone out to get a salad, and when I returned home I found myself drawn to the television. I can’t tell you exactly what happened, but the next thing I knew I was eating the salad with one hand while I watched an episode of WWHL on the DVR, phone in my other hand so I could simultaneously scroll through Instagram.

Remember this was at 2pm on a Wednesday! And I wasn’t on vacation! And let’s be honest–it wasn’t the first time I’d caught myself like this! I realized what was going on and I actually said it out loud. “That’s it. You’re fired.” I had to fire myself.

If you’ve been to my keynotes or read my blogs you know I talk a lot about hiring yourself. I urge you to hire yourself to be your own advocate. Hiring yourself works because you’ll often do for others what you won’t do for yourself, and that’s especially true when it comes to advocating for yourself. Asking for what you want, negotiating, and being your own champion can be hard. When you imagine that you’re hiring yourself to do those things, and start treating yourself as a client, often the results will amaze you.

On the other hand, though, we sometimes allow ourselves to get away with things others would never even try. If I walked into my office and a team member was eating a salad while watching Bravo and scrolling through Instagram– I’d have a lot to say about that, and none of it would be good. And if it happened again (and again…..) I’d have to let that team member go. When you don’t take the job, yourself and your responsibilities seriously, it’s time to take yourself elsewhere.

Hypocrisy is one of my biggest pet peeves, so I had no choice. I had to to fire myself. I wasn’t living up to the expectations that I’d clearly set for myself that week. Nor was I keeping the promises I’d made. I lost credibility; I lost opportunity; and ultimately I lost the job.

The good news is I got to start again. I rewrote the job description and reset my expectations. I created a structure that made it more likely that my next hire will succeed. It’s a good thing, because my new hire is….me. I know I’ve got a lot of potential.

Is it time for you to fire yourself? Are you not living up to your own expectations in your business, or your relationships? Are you failing to advocate for yourself or neglecting taking care of your health? Try firing yourself. Then regroup, reset expectations and start again. I know you’ve got a lot of potential too.

Heather Hansen

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