As many of you know I recently heard the words “You’re Fired”.  Having never been fired before all I could picture was Donald Trump on the Apprentice saying those famous words.  I have had a couple of days and nights to reflect on what it means to be “Let Go” and have learned 5 things:

  1. You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It To:  Coaches who are pissed about getting fired when there is a lack of success are typically the ones that expect to automatically advance when there is success.  You can’t have it both ways.  You must accept that if you are going to move on with success you give up your right to security.  If one of the coaches that I have worked for were to go 12-0 and get offered the Green Bay Packers job, I would expect to go with him.  Therefore I must be willing to accept that if we go 0-12 I may get let go.
  2. Must Be Excited About the Road Ahead:  It is easy to get caught up in the negativity that goes along with being fired.  It is such a tight community and most of your life revolves around your position.  Everywhere you turn family, coworkers, or friends are upset.  You must not allow those emotions to cause you to be negative.  It is in those moments you must look to the future and the optimism it brings.
  3. You Learn Who Your Friends Are:  In the coaching world it is not uncommon for you to go weeks, months, sometimes years without talking to close friends.  It sounds crazy to the “normal” person, but that is how our world operates.  We are so busy that you don’t have time for chit chat.  However, when things go south friends go out of there way to make sure you are okay.  That could be support, encouragement, or help finding your next position.  I must warn you though, you also learn who your friends aren’t.
  4. Money for a Rainy Day: Years ago my wife and I decided to go through a course by Dave Ramsey called Financial Peace University and read his book Total Money Makeover.  Ramsey has a great way of communicating the obvious, but forcing it to stick in you.  In his course and his books he talks about the importance of savings and an emergency fund.  Since then we have tried to keep several months worth of bills in savings along with a $2,000 emergency fund in the bank for rainy days.  It is important to understand the volatility of our profession and how important planning for the worst is.  Thanks Dave!

    On a side note, I have had a chance to meet Dave Ramsey twice at UT.  He is a Alumni/Board Member (Thanks for letting me go Dave, Just Kidding!) and would do a chapel service for our team each of the last two seasons.  I thought it was a cool moment when I caught him before a chapel and introduced myself and he stated “that he had seen my work and was looking forward to meeting me”.    Here was a guy that I had read 3 of his books and I wanted to meet, looking forward to meeting me. It’s funny how the world works!  
  5. Lots of Time to Reflect:  You think about a lot of things as you are sitting up late at night or up early in the morning keeping your normal schedule.  You reflect about what you did right, what you did wrong, and what you could have done better. You question the volatility and demands of your career.  You think about your mortality in it.  Understand this is healthy.  As coaches we very rarely have the time to sit back and dive into some great quality control.  I already have pages of notes.  It is also important to understand that this business is tough and gets harder to stay in.  I recently spoke at the CSCCA National Convention and asked a question to the round table discussion I was leading “How many of you can name 5 Strength Coaches that have retired being strength coaches?”.  Maybe 5-10 people out of 300+ could.  At 36 years old I know I will rebound from this position, but what if I was 46 or 56?  It is important that we think about our mortality in this business and how we can make it better or what are some alternative to it.
I hope that my experience may provide insight to those that may be going through the same thing, or prove to be a resource to those who may still.  The ole’ adage is true “you are not a real coach until you have been fired”.  Please provide comments below with lessons you may have learned.  
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