5 Lessons I Learned After Firing Myself from Disney
Nineteen years ago, I walked away from a job as Sales and New Business Development Director of the world-renowned Disney Institute based at Walt Disney World Resort (#Disney).* I had a guaranteed paycheck and benefits galore. I didn’t want for anything and was on the fast track to a bright career future.
In the midst of living my own version of the American dream, something was missing.
There was a hole in my soul, a gap in my mind, and a sense of being stuck in neutral and going nowhere fast. One day, I reached a point where it just didn’t click for me anymore.
It had worked until it didn’t work anymore, and I couldn’t fake it.
Professionally, I was content but not happy. I was successful on the outside but insignificant on the inside. I was going through the motions because I had settled for a chair, a check, and a cup of coffee in a cubicle farm. I woke up and was done.
With more and more businesses treating employees and clients like commodities, you may find yourself experiencing similar feelings. We now have companies monitoring an employee’s every move with sensors and software and brands paying people to pose as customers. I submit to you, O’ Brilliant One, to be future-present, because at some point you will hear a conversation in your spirit about who you are becoming.
As a spiritual being, what you hear expands your lexicology, and the neural mechanism in the brain that controls comprehension and production begins to program your tongue to say what you hear and see.
So the question becomes: did you hear your future first, or did you see it? I submit to you a new way of thinking. You heard about your future in your spirit first and then began to repeat verbally what you heard. Then you started acting as if your future were happening in the present.
I decided to cash out my entire 401K retirement plan with significant Disney stock and take out a line of credit on the house. Why did I do it? As I explain in my book, Shift Your Brilliance, you were created in brilliance to be audacious.
The posture and disposition of audacious living is to possess a daring attitude of confidence with a high disregard for conformity, conventional thinking, or common existence.
Shifting your brilliance is realizing that life is not a remote control, but you can change the channel on your tell-a-vision. I had three years of savings to make this new venture work. I decided to go after what I couldn’t see in the natural, but I saw in my spirit.
There was a resolve in me that even if it didn’t work, at least I tried to do something instead of being sucked into the vacuum of obscurity.
This was the best decision of my life. A ton of things have happened in 19 years. My children are older, I’ve made money and lost money, business relationships have come and gone, and I’ve experienced failure like you can’t even imagine. I started more projects that never got off the ground and have tasted the sweet pleasure of success, and now realize it’s time to shift to significance.
I am here to tell you that risking career suicide in the way I did–it was totally worth it! (Warning: do not feel the need to do what I did; do only what is best for you.) Nevertheless, I want to share with you in a few lessons that I learned in business since leaving the mouse house.
1. Show Me Instead of Telling Me
I’ve discovered that people will tell you what you want to hear instead of discussing the results that they’ve produced. Over the years, I’ve been approached by a ton of people who wanted to work for me, collaborate with me blah…blah…blah…and I am a pretty good judge of character. Some people have a way of pulling the wool over your eyes. I can vividly remember an instance of when I was going to hire someone for a full-time position only to find out that she was the girlfriend of a potential investor. I quickly ended that business relationship.
2. Trust Few and Watch Everyone Else
When it comes to money, people will do whatever they have to do to separate you from your hard-earned dollars. They will smile to your face and tell you that you are the best thing since sliced bread. They will pitch you on ideas and tell you that everyone in your field is doing it. Their information is a mile wide and an inch deep. Now, today, I size a person up in 3 seconds. In that time, I am determining if I know, like and trust an individual.
3. An Open Hand is Always Full
I’ve learned in 19 years that those who do well in life and business are givers. They are not stingy, cheap, or the epitome of a tightwad that requires the jaws of life to pry open their wallets. Confession my friend: that was me once upon a time. But I quickly realized that I needed to change my tune if I was going to have any longevity in business. Our favorite charity to support is the www.usdreamacademy.org. I love their mission and everything that they are about. They believe that a child with a dream is a child with a future.
4. The Answer is Yes
What exactly do you want me to do? I love people who come to me and are willing to do a few things for gratis to prove their value. One of those individuals is Jessica Vick. We met via LinkedIn after she had taken an online course called Building Business Relationships. She asked me to mentor her, and I agreed that I would do it. After I talked to her for 12 months straight via phone, I decided to ask her to do a small project. She did it with speed, excellence, and creativity. I threw a few more things her way, and she continued to exceed my expectations. Today she is Content Strategist for our company and does an amazing job.
5. See the World
I was born in the ghetto of Buffalo, NY, and the only country that I had ever visited prior to leaving home was our neighbor to the north – Canada. My Jamaican Grandmother lived there, and our family drove two hours to see how she was doing. Here’s the point: the greatest education one can ever have is to be dropped into a country where you know no one and have to figure it out. Thank you Disney for sending me to Brazil at 29 years of age. It changed my life.
I sense that there are some of you ready to take the leap but unsure if it’s the perfect time. There will never be a perfect time to become the person you might have been. If you’re not ready to start making moves, you can begin with changing your mindset. Every morning, your self-talk should be forward-reaching and positive in nature. For a guided approach, I have a created a 31-day jump start: Brilliant Living: 31 Insights to Creating an Awesome Life. Read one entry per morning and watch your life begin to change.
Plan your exit strategy carefully, and take a smart risk.
Here is a shot in the arm of inspiration to remind you that you that letting go is a part of manifesting your full brilliance!