By Chris Dessi
CREDIT: Getty Images
Seven years ago, my boss called me into his office. I walked in to find the director of human resources sitting next to him. It would be my last day at that job.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t obsess over that moment. It’s misguided obsession, but an obsession nonetheless. The hardest part was how to tell my wife and family.
The first few weeks I drank myself numb. I reviewed every step of every moment I had in that office. What went wrong? Why did he decide to fire me? What had I said? What did I do? What could I have done differently? At which moment did he make the final decision? Was he swayed by others in the office?
My mind raced. It stayed racing for years. That’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s true. I was in a delicate emotional state. My Father was terminally ill, and I was out of work. I decided to launch my own business and become an entrepreneur. But I was angry.
I’d fantasize about jumping over the table and hitting him …you get the idea. I fell into a depression. Time went by, and the sting lessened.
But the anger lingered.
Until a few years later, I ran into a mutual friend. He encouraged me to reach out to him. So I did. I asked if I could interview him for my blog. It would be fun, I said. Our mutual friend was copied on the email and agreed with me. “Yeah, It will be fun!”
He never replied.
The anger that had begun to wane was then again ignited. This time it was different. This time, years later, I made a decision.
He was now my enemy.
I wouldn’t destroy his character, or mar his family name. I’m not him. He would do something like that. Nope. That’s not my style.
I wouldn’t do anything to him. But I had to process these emotions, so I used him. He became my benchmark. He became the rails with which I would run my businesses.
Since he led through fear, it guided me to choose to lead with love.
He was my enemy, and I had figured out how to channel those emotions into something constructive. It didn’t stop me from having nightmares about that final exchange. It did, however, allow me to rearrange the emotions into something powerful.
I built a successful agency. Then I launched an annual event. Then I made national television appearances and keynoted events. I would think of my enemy watching, and it motivated me.
I had once approached him while I worked for him, and said “you should write a book about this startup journey” he replied, “nobody reads anymore.” So I used my enemy to fuel me, and I wrote three books.
My enemy pushed me. My enemy fueled me in a positive way and propelled me to success.
So the next time you find yourself struggling with a tormentor. Channel that energy and those anxieties into something positive. Make the decision to turn that person into the enemy. A villain to your superhero. Don’t worry, nobody has to know — It will be our little secret.
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