I was a mom to be and the breadwinner but suddenly had no job. Life is full of days you do not remember but for me, that day is a day I will always remember. It was a crucial turning point in my life.
It was a cold winter morning in Denmark. I went to work pregnant and happy; excited to be a mom and thankful for everything in my life. Later that same day, I was called to the office of my chairman. He presented me a letter and a short notice to leave the company. I was not allowed to talk to anyone or to say goodbye to my staff. I had no idea why. No reason was given. Details of the rest of my day are faint; I only remember speaking to my lawyer to plan the lawsuit as my exit from the company felt prejudice. My path became clear in 2007. I was pregnant, fired, and had to make a living. I was on a burning platform.
There will always be consequences to everything you pursue in life. My consequence was the loss of trust I had in being employed.
Since I was 15 I have been working. I developed a great work ethic and felt that I was great at my current job. Yet my termination came unexpectedly with zero warnings. As you can imagine, this was truly a low-point in my life. I was a highly paid and rewarded young leader, but now, I was unemployed and pregnant with no leads. I was overwhelmed with anger, confusion, and shame.
This termination turned out to be a blessing.
My priorities changed to implementing my values and staying true to them. I wanted to have time for my 5 F's: family, fitness, financial independence, freedom and flexibility. This was the beginning of my new life-design as a global keynote-speaker, writer, advisor, and board member. I designed my life to be on my terms, instead of working for a company and allowing them to fire me at will. Those days were long gone.
I used my trauma as an engine and drove towards my life as a solopreneur. My first repairs were on my self-esteem and my network. I needed both to move on and to be successful. I got stronger in this transition and was forced to acknowledge my core talent. When I decided to own my own company, I had no idea what to do.
The only thing I knew was sales: sales training, strategic sales and partnerships, supply chain management and networking. Those are my core talents and I knew it would be easy for me to teach this to others. This was the beginning of my consulting firm.
Was it easy? No, it was very hard to build a new company while pregnant and figuring out the kinks and twists. The combination of drive, anger, willpower and an amazing network of people with whom I could seek advice, forced me out of my comfort zone. I was determined to grow my wealth from day one. After being fired, I realized that I was capable of making it on my own. I learned everything I needed to learn about global sales, all I needed was motivation.
Looking back on this experience, I can now say that it very refreshing and liberating. I have had many struggles that I turned into 14 books (written and co-written) on all the mistakes, failures and obstacles I have had to face as a solopreneur. Writing somehow became my therapy. I was fired in 2007 and my first bestseller came out in 2009. It was hugely satisfying to teach others my life lessons and how to overcome these hurdles.
“I decided never to be in a position where anyone could fire me again".
It is impossible to avoid adversity, but what is important is how you tackle adversity.
To give up or not to give up? It really is a mental decision.
Adversity made me stronger. Throughout my upbringing, I developed certain qualities and survival techniques that continue to play an important part in my success. My days of hardship have been transformed into something very positive. My personal leadership, values, and my sense of responsibility can all be tracked to my challenging childhood where I struggled to fit in being the only student with an exotic name and of a darker skin complexion. I was constantly told by my teachers that I wouldn't achieve much in life because of being a woman and a person of color (from Morocco). At the age of 13, I decided to move out of my parents' house and dropped out of the 7th grade.
My determination derived from my childhood and now I was faced to rise to the occasion again. This time my unborn child was my burning platform to make sure I succeed. I did not rebrand myself as a mom but more so as an expert. I began to ask my network to recommend me for opportunities that would contribute to helping me build my business. It was not a big deal that I was becoming a mom. I was focused on utilizing my skills and networking in a way I never had to do so before.
This termination is just one of many setbacks I've experienced. Setbacks are how you grow wiser, stronger, humbler and more confident. My setback allowed me to be my own boss, and you can be too. I have freedom, and I work well without a boss bossing me around, however, I have no one to blame for lack of results or if I feel I lack a work-life balance. Being 100% responsible for my own success is no easy feat, but I take on the challenge voluntarily.
You have to reach the point in your heart where you finally feel that you cannot afford to not be successful. Stand up, speak out and move on to a better position if you have to. By nature, I am not an optimist so I had to work really hard with on my own mindset, mental limitations, ego, and anger to make it happen. Once you can train your mind, it will become second nature and you'll lead with positivity in everything you do.
I now dedicated my own life to improving the lives of others. My second job is to help people become brave and bold. I also help them to unleash their enormous potential and find their true talents and passions. My passion is to serve people – to serve the world. This is done as an author, speaker, investor, mentor, and CEO. I simply took all platforms available to me and made them my “stage". I like to impact and scale good stuff. I see how I can impact laws; implement change in companies, countries, and in people's lives. More importantly, I am welcomed to speak in settings that I could only have dreamed of.
A great career and personal life are all about having the courage and the ability to seize the opportunities that you run into. I believe that people can decide to become successful and reach essential goals by means of hard work.
WRITTEN BYSoulaima Gourani