Two weeks ago, I was in a roller coaster ride. Not the type that will make you scream and make you pray to all the saints while others are looking at you at the park, though.
On the last of January, my client let go of most of the Philippine team of VAs to cut expenses. One of them was me. In between the horrible “We’d like to inform you…” until the end of the contract was only 4 days.
A few days later, I started February with a 10K walk on Skyway. I walked because I did not have the slightest decent training.
I was tempted to think “So that’s why I was pushed by the woman behind me when Pope Francis was passing along the road leaving Intramuros during his Papal Visit. I should have thought of that as a sign!” I do not really see that as a bad omen or sign of bleak days to come.
Now that it’s done and over, I need to look at the lessons of the firing and running (or walking). Because honestly, this time may be difficult for me, but I know I am going to look back at this experience. So I need to learn from this while I enjoy the journey.
1. Have more than one client. I was a full-time VA for my former client. My whole 8 hours was dedicated to one client only. I was telling myself previously that I should get another VA gig. But then, how will I be able to serve another client when all my energy was already exhausted to one client for a full 8 hours?
Having more than one client (aside from many other VA concerns) was discussed on this Forbes.com article on a freelancer’s outlook for 2015.
2. For all it’s worth, I am working on a new skill before I got fired. My blog is now filled with stories on how I’m showing my skills on Facebook ads. I committed to finish this project before February 2015 ends. I concentrated on this so I stopped applying for new gigs because I thought that concentrating on one project would make me more focused, aside from I would be able to finish it.
It was also a blessing when my former client asked me and my other team mates to study native ads, creating landing pages, and promoting through Facebook ads. They complemented the Facebook Ads skill that I was working on!
3. It’s better to be “fired” when it’s the client’s fault, not yours. This was not the second time I got “fired” by my client. A previous client fired me because she does not know what to prioritize on her business. Sadly, she had to let me go. This time around, my former client had to cut expenses, so they had to let me go. Although it’s sad to part ways with them, my former client told me that I was one of the best social media managers that they had (I have a LinkedIn recommendation to prove that), and they are still willing to do business with me once opportunities come.
I think that’s a cooler way of being fired, instead of “I got sacked because I suck at my work.”
4. That’s what training is all about – mindset. Never underestimate training, we are always told. I took on the cold morning breeze on one of the top peaks of Skyway to realize that. Having no training for running 10 kilometers, I told myself that I will just walk to prevent injury. Guess what? I only walk an average of 30 minutes every other day! By the end of the three-kilometer route mark, my brain was already telling me, “I still have 6 kilometers! That’s still too long! Where’s the ambulance? I’m telling them I’m quitting!”
I realized that training is not just to prepare my body to endure 10 kilometers of road. Training is to prepare my brain and my guts. Training is for me to know that whatever lies ahead, I need to overcome them because I can.
5. You are never alone. When I was fired by my client, my family and friends told me that I can find a better online gig. The better part was when friends tell me that what happened was a blessing and I should wait for greater things. During my 10-kilometer ordeal, Mama Mary was with me for the first half of the race (I was praying the rosary). On the other half, Jim Rohn (through an audiobook) accompanied me.
As I pray every day, I am re-assured of God’s words. So I know I will just be great!
6. What-ifs will appear on your doorstep. But it’s up to you to slam the door. I know that this situation will pass. But as a human being with a complicated brain, it is humanly possible that all what-ifs came to my mind:
What if I’m still gig-less at the end of the year?
What if I just quit at the 4th kilometer? I have not trained anyway.
I remember when I had my mid-year planning for 2013 (which I attended from Jomar Hilario). I wrote some of the fears I had during that time. Jomar Hilario then discussed that “Do not worry” is God’s commandment. It’s mentioned many times in the Bible. He also said that “impossible is not real”. Looking back at that list now, I was surprised to know that my fears never really happened!
So after writing this blog, I will make a list of “I am afraid of these things but surely I will laugh out loud at them one year from now”.
I now memorize this prayer featured in Jim Rohn’s “Kick the Worry Habit”.
7. Forget overwhelm. As I mentioned, I wanted to stop walking by the end of the three-kilometer route mark. Honestly, thinking of walking for 10 kilometers is really overwhelming, especially when you know you did not train. So I calmly re-wired my brain and thought of two goals: 1) reach the 5-kilometer mark and 2) go down the Skyway (because a few meters more is the finish line).
I now use my Passion Planner for the activities and ideas that pops in my mind. In this way, I would be able to work on a schedule so I won’t miss a minute as I do my morning walk-runs, learning time, gig search and book reading. I got my Passion Planner in PDF file through the official website because it cannot be shipped to the Philippines for now.
8. I am always at a better state than before. My friend, Niña Mendoza, told me this via a long Facebook comment:
Moreover, before my 10-kilometer run “wave” (that’s the term for running per batch) started, we were informed that 44 SAF members were lined up on the other side of the road, each holding a photo of their comrades who died last January 25 at Mamasapano, Maguindanao. We were encouraged to give them a long salute as we pass along the brave men.
As I give my long salute (you guessed it, while walking), I realized this: I am alive. I woke up that morning to do a crazy thing: walk for 10 kilometers at the Skyway with no training. If I make it alive (which I did, if you’re wondering), I can do more with my life. Those brave men gave their best every day until their last breath. Heck, they would even do more had they had they made it alive. Why will I not do better?
So if I see you in person and you see me smiling, you know that I am enjoying this journey.