Think back to a moment in time that you’ll never forget. What comes to mind first? The moment you walked across the stage at graduation? The moment you landed your first client? Your wedding day? The first time you gathered friends together for an epic game of Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64?
Maybe that last one was a little too specific. But we all have moments that we’ll never forget – moments that help define who we are and who we want to be. Around here I like to call them “epiphany moments”.
2010 had too many of these moments to count. It wasn’t a defining moment, it was a defining year – a turning point and transition from who I was to who I am today.
Today Ali Edwards submitted a great prompt for #reverb10 – keeping the momentum and spark brighter than ever for a series of blog posts that already has me feeling like I’ve got my writing swagger back. She asks:
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
It would be easy for me to describe my wedding day – because this was, by far, the best day of my life in my 25 years. But there was another moment that made me feel more alive, more excited, more defeated, and more terrified all at once.
That was 9:30am on Thursday, January 28th, 2010. The day I got fired from my job.
As I describe in the post I wrote only a couple hours after getting the boot - that Thursday started like any other cold, snowy Thursday in Chicago. I woke up, checked my emails, sent out a few Tweets, took a shower, kissed my (then) fiance goodbye and headed into the office. On the drive in, I vividly remember flipping between Mike & Mike and Lady Gaga. It had become a ritual during my hour-long commute to do my “Gaga” thing and then attempt to reclaim my masculinity with Mike & Mike.
Before going in I stopped at Starbucks, grabbed a blueberry scone and a Gingerbread Latte (then listened to more Mike & Mike because clearly my masculinity needed some reclaiming).
To spare you the details, 30 minutes later I walked out of the office, with that same blueberry scone and Gingerbread Latte, carrying a box full of my stuff and two weeks severance pay.
It happened that fast. It was completely unexpected. It was something I never thought could happen to me. And it sucked.
And as I say to many when I talk about this situation, “An hour later I became an entrepreneur”.
Sure, I called my fiance, I called my mom, I cried and apologized and told them not to worry about me. But as soon as I got home, room-temperature Gingerbread Latte in hand, the first thing I did, before anything else, was open my laptop and start writing.
Like many other times I turned to this blog because it’s always been a place where I believe I can be my best – where I can turn negative thoughts and bad situations into moments that make me feel alive.
And that’s exactly how that day – that moment I’ll never forget made me feel – more alive than ever before. Since that day, I haven’t looked back.
Today I’m running my second business, and I love everything about my life. I have great partners, a wonderful wife, a career I only dreamed of this time last year. Today I’m eating scones and listening to Gaga feeling more alive than ever.
It goes back to what I said a couple days ago and what I always say about change. It’s inconvenient. You can’t (always) prepare for it. It’s not about controlling change, it’s about controlling your choices.
A moment doesn’t define you. You define the moment.
What was your defining moment in 2010?