In recent years, the economy has suffered and a lot of us have fallen on hard times. So how can ‘getting fired’ be the best thing that could ever happen to someone? Well, a lot of successful people were handed the pink slip before they found their place in the world.
Read on and find out why losing your job can be the most unlikely stepping stone to greater things just like these rich and famous people found:
Rich & Famous People Who Where Fired Before They Made It
1. Lee Iacocca: Trailblazing Pioneer
His journey to the top was not without roadblocks, one of the being fired from Ford Motor Company after butting heads with no less than Henry Ford II. As early as the 40s, he already had a flourishing career in sales and marketing and even became the company’s president by the late 70s.
After getting fired from Ford in 1978, Iacocca quickly moved on to Chrysler, whom he saved from bankruptcy by asking the United States Congress to bail them out. Eloquently describing the loan guarantee as a “safety net”, he was able to save Chrysler from certain doom. He then went on to release the Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant as well as re-invented the Imperial which had features ahead of its time.
2. J.K. Rowling: The Daydreaming Secretary
As a famous rags-to-riches figure in the literary world, millions of teenage (as well as adult) readers have gobbled up her seven-volume saga of the boy wizard who also came from humble beginnings like JK. Rowling.
But what you probably didn’t know was that she got fired from her job as a secretary in Amnesty International before she hit it big. Back then, she was already forming the foundations of Harry Potter in her mind, along with the characters and situations he would be faced with. Soon enough, all that daydreaming led to her getting fired, which put her on the path to becoming one of the world’s most celebrated authors.
3. Steve Jobs: The Comeback King
The recently departed technocrat didn’t just get the boot back in the day – he got fired from his own company. That’s right: the co-founder of Apple was actually exiled from the very empire that he helped build from the ground up.
But as everyone knows, it worked out pretty well for Steve Jobs and his legacy. Getting fired gave him the opportunity to work on other things, such as creating NeXT, a computer company that catered to the business crowd as well as a division of Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division which later became Pixar. His triumphant return to Apple several years later heralded the creation of the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
4. Lady Gaga: Getting Back On The Horse
After dropping out of Collaborative Arts Project 21 (a New York-based musical school), the unconventional singer did some small gigs around town until she gained a loyal following in the downtown Lower East Side club scene. She finally caught the eye of Rob Fusari, a music producer who then collaborated with her to cut some tracks in the studio that they shopped to other people in the music industry.
Things took a nasty turn when Lady Gaga was suddenly dropped only after three months of being signed onto a major label. Not content to wallow in misery, she soon picked herself up and continued using her previous material with Fusari for performances, particularly one at Lollapalooza where she gained critical fame.
By 2008, she was already signed onto another label and released her debut album “The Fame” which has become one of the most successful albums in pop history.
5. Walt Disney: Father Of The World’s Most Loveable Rodent
The revolutionary animator went through a string of failures before he created one of the biggest entertainment companies on the planet. He had a short-lived career as a newspaper artist, drawing political cartoons and comic strips. Soon after, Walt Disney hopped from one job to another until he put up Laugh-O-Gram Studio, which gained popularity but went bankrupt.
After setting up another company called Disney Brothers Studio, Walt finally struck animated gold after creating the classic short called “Steamboat Willie” which catapulted Mickey Mouse as one of the most recognized cartoon characters in the world.
6. Truman Capote: Literary Rebel
Before the famous author wrote classics such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood”, Capote worked at The New Yorker as a copyboy who sorted cartoons and clipped newspapers. He held this unassuming job for a full two years until he was fired, thanks to an angry whim by Robert Frost who convinced the magazine to let him go.
Fortunately for Capote, this planted the seeds for what was to become a prolific writing career. After writing a series of short stories, he managed to sign a deal with Random House who published his first novel, “Other Voices, Other Rooms” which put him on the path to becoming one of America’s most memorable cultural icons.
7. Annabelle Gurwitch: Bouncing Back From Insult and Inury
The comic actress and hostess of the famous cooking show “Dinner and a Movie” had to endure verbal abuse from none other than her idol Woody Allen who fired her for not living up to his expectations. Allen even went so far as calling Gurwitch “retarded” before kicking her to the curb.
But she went on embark on a successful career in showbiz, playing various parts in TV and movies. Ironically, she was responsible for the 2007 documentary “Fired!” which featured a number of people (including herself) who were axed from their respective jobs before becoming successful.
8. Jerry Seinfeld: The Creator of The Show About “Nothing”
Unhappy with Seinfeld’s performance, the bosses behind the sitcom Benson decided to cut the comic genius from the show – he was the last to know about it. After showing up for rehearsal, he found that his character had been erased from existence without any warning.
No matter – he sucked it up and returned to doing stand-up gigs at local venues. Eventually, his hilarious performances impressed the likes of Johnny Carson and David Letterman. In time, his career took off to incredible heights, having starred in nine solid seasons of his hit show “Seinfeld” for almost a full decade.
9. James Hetfield: Sticker Printer Turned Metal God
Before becoming the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for one of the most epic rock bands of the 20th century, James Hetfield worked in a sticker printing factory. Ultimately, he lost his job but he went on to collaborate with drummer Lars ulrich to form the face-melting, ear-shattering heavy metal act known as Metallica.
Since Hetfield joined the band in 1981, his band has created a total of nine studio albums featuring classic rock anthems that their countless fans headbang to until today. That sure beats printing stickers!
10. Oprah Winfrey: The Media Juggernaut
She’s easily recognized as one of America’s most successful media figures, having been a talk show host, actress, and producer throughout her career. But no one gave her any hand-outs during her journey to success. Oprah Winfrey’s turbulent family life led her to carve out a self-made career as a television personality, even when she was let go as a news reporter for Baltimore’s WJZ-TV.
The good thing about getting fired though was that Winfrey moved to Chicago which was a pivotal move for her professional life. This was where she became host of AM Chicago, an unremarkable talk show which quickly climbed TV ratings. It was later renamed as the “Oprah Winfrey Show” which ran for 25 seasons over the course of 25 years.
After 4,561 episodes, Oprah Winfrey has not only become the wealthiest black person in the last century, she’s also one of the country’s leading black philanthropists.
11. Anna Wintour: Fashion Icon
This edgy fashion journalist first got her feet wet at Harper’s & Queen, a magazine where she served as one of its very first editorial assistants. Thanks to her work, the publication came out with groundbreaking photo shoots with the likes of Helmut Newton and other innovative photographers in the industry.
Anna Wintour often clashed with another editor, and she moved on to work as a junior fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Unfortunately, her shoots were deemed too much by the editors and got subsequently kicked out in less than a year. However, Wintour eventually became the editor-in-chief of Vogue and has occupied that position for a running total of 23 years.
She continues to be an influential force, not just within the fashion world, but also beyond the industry. Wintour reportedly even talked Donald Trump into letting Marc Jacobs to use the Plaza Hotel as a venue for one of his shows!
12. Bill Belichick: Coaching Prodigy
Bill Belichick had been a defensive assistant, special teams coach and defensive coordinator for the New York Giants for 12 years. It was in 1991 when he became head coach for the first time for the Cleveland Browns until he was fired from his position four years later. After that however, Belichick was named head coach of the New England Patriots in 2000 and was responsible for the team’s five appearances at the Super Bowl. Since his removal from the Browns back in 1995, he was also designated as the AP NFL Coach of the Year three times.
13. Dave Mustaine: Rising From The Ashes
The former Metallica guitarist got kicked out of the band in 1983 for excessive partying and alcoholism, and Mustaine used the anger from this incident to form his own metal act called Megadeth. In the same year, he created enough material which Mustaine then used for his new band, giving birth to their debut album “Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!”
His career soon took off, with Megadeth extensively touring the U.S. and Canada. On one occasion, they even played at the same venue as Dave Mustaine’s former band. To date, they’ve released 13 albums and have a worldwide fan base as fiercely loyal as that of Metallica’s.
14. Howard Stern: Terrorizing The Airwaves
Widely known as a “Shock Jock”, Howard Stern gained notoriety as a radio talk show host in the 90s because of his blunt style and controversial topics. He particularly gained fame during his time as a host for both WWDC and WNBC and greatly increased their respective ratings during his time there. However, Stern found himself fired by both stations because of the raunchiness of his material, touching on sensitive topics such as sexuality and religion.
Getting the suits worked up over his unorthodox style proved to be a beneficial career move for Stern since it opened the door to bigger things. In fact, he was named, Nationally Syndicated Air Personality of the Year from 1994 until 2002. Since 2006, he’s switched to satellite radio where he’s free of FCC regulations and continues to entertain his millions of devoted followers.
15. Madonna: The Queen Of Pop
Anyone who’s even remotely knowledgeable about music knows who Madonna is, and to date she’s sold over 300 million records as the top female pop performer of all time. On Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, she’s right up there with the likes of The Beatles and her influence in the world of music is second to none.
Before she achieved any of that however, Madonna first worked in various diners and fast food joints while she was starting out. In one particular job, she quickly got fired for dousing a customer with donut jelly on purpose. Although her potential career in the food industry crashed and burned, this paved the way for her to become one of the most recognized faces in the history of music.
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave
It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.
Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:
1. Where Are You?
No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.
The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
2. Where Do You Want to Go?
When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.
There’s this saying: When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.
Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.
So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?
3. Why Do You Want It?
Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.
You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.
So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?
“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins
4. How Are You Going to Get There?
And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.
For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”
To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.
In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.
Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.
Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.
Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work
A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.
The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.
A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.
Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.
Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:
1. By being unafraid to share her own story
Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.
When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”
Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.
“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson
2. Committing to a strong value system
VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.
With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.
Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.
Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.
3. Listening with action
As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.
Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.
Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.
“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:
“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.
I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.
From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.
What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!
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