An Open Letter of Redemption to my Former Boss
Dear ___ “Sir”___:
A few years ago, __your company__ and I parted ways in well — shall we say, a less than fulfilling fashion. Everything was amicable. I respect you, you respect me. I just wish I could have delivered more for you. You invested in me, believed in me and gave me a fair shot to succeed. I failed. And while that investment in human capital didn’t pay off for you, it has actually paid off tremendously for me.
It just took time.
What you probably don’t know is that I entered into a confounding time in my journey through life. Far from home and the comforts of family and close friends, I was never expecting to fall flat on my face. I didn’t think it was possible. But boy, did it happen. I hit the pavement hard, then started pounding it. At first I bounced a few times, but then I hit the ground running.
You probably don’t know this, but when I walked out the doors of the building for the final time, I did so with pain and frustration, yet simultaneously, joy in my heart. Despite my anxiety, frustration and guilt, I had this indescribable burning flame of hope inside of me that in the deep recesses of my mind, I truly knew would light the way to victory. Some day.
I knew I wasn’t the right fit, yet I also knew it sucked to fail. It hurt. I started replaying a lot of my past experiences. I relied on my memory to make sense of why I failed, why I didn’t meet the expectations of your prestigious firm. I looked back at my life and I started making sense of what I love, who I love, what I want to do with my life and the journey of where I want to go.
As I replayed so many of the thoughts and memories in my mind, I decided that the foundation of my life was a bit shaky. I thought I felt completely comfortable in my own skin but the truth was that I didn’t. I was living someone else’s life. The luxury car, luxury apartment and perceived notions of success that society had for me were a slow, torturous lie. They weren’t helping.
So I mourned. I mourned the death of what was. This wasn’t just a job. I was out of the career of consulting with Fortune 100 companies. I came to peace with it. I came to peace with the mistakes and the failures. I knew in order to move on I absolutely had to own my failures and be at peace with them. It was one of life’s greatest lessons for me. See, while I have a beautiful wife and son, I truly began to look at things. I turned to my J.K. Rowling and thought of the following:
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” — J.K. Rowling
I learned the remarkable secret to success that you only learn when you truly experience the disappointment of failure — the greatest journeys in life begin from the lowest lows. So I rose to my feet. And I started writing. I began tapping into my inner-strength and asking for God’s grace like I never have before. I began dreaming, visualizing and coming up with more ideas.
I believed. I knew my best was yet to come. I literally rebuilt my life on a foundation of core values that I know will stand the test of time. I started planning and planning and planning. And when some plans got stale, I made new ones. I then put together the five-year plan for my life. Still to this day it’s the most powerful, liberating action I’ve ever undertaken.
I learned that when you put into writing and speak over your life the dreams, goals and intentions you hold dear, they begin to come true. It’s the craziest thing, because not everyone does this, ___former boss____. But I did it. And I know it to be the truth, as much as I know the sun will rise in the east and that my present success is the direct cause of my past failure.
I wanted to tell you that I just wrote my first book. It’s called The Value of You, and it’s a journey into the powerful core values that shape and define our human experience. This book was written in the aftermath of my departure from ___your company___ and it literally transformed my life. The hope now is that it will transform the lives of those who read it — to help them on their journeys and to launch them to the top of their given professions and pursuits.
I learned about perseverance, hard work, humility, hope and keeping a postiive attitude — perhaps more than I ever had in my life. You see, getting kicked out the door and falling flat on my ass was literally the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s completely changed my life for the better. Because I had a choice in that moment. To move on or linger behind.
I decided that I’d actually live the words I most believe in:
“In every adversity there comes the opportunity of an equivalent advantage.”
I’m not sure if I’ve made it. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished but I have much bigger dreams. I want to help people transform their lives. I know it all begins with a foundation and a plan. I want to help people realize, visualize and put this into action. It’s the mission of my life.
So, maybe I’ll let others decide if I’ve made it. If making it means that I’ve succeeded, then I guess you can say I have. I subscribe to Coach John Wooden’s definition of success:
“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
While I live with no regret, I still feel this itching sense of a need to apologize to you for not performing at my best. You deserved my best and I couldn’t deliver it. If it’s any small consolation, I’m well on the road to living life on my terms. This is the way I’ve always wanted to live. It’s the way all of us blessed with the privilege of freedom and liberty should live our lives.
How about this — when my book becomes a bestseller, I’d love to come back and speak to your employees at your next big quarterly meeting.
In my dreams I see myself standing there in some beautiful banquet hall with everyone looking at me. I want to show up with gratitude in my heart and a genuine desire to tell my story to your employees. I want to show them that there’s always a reason to believe in ourselves. I want them to be successful and to be bold. I want them to know it’s OK to fail. I want to tell them that mistakes aren’t just acceptable — they’re necessary.
As I begin to speak, I thank all the great people at your company who helped me and continued to help me once I walked out the door that final time. I thank all of those who chose to not extend their hands when I needed it most. Ironically, those are the folks who motivated me most. And after the proverbial and literal mic drop, I want to walk off stage and clink beer bottles with you.
No, not the fancy craft stuff. Just have a cold light beer ready for me.
We’ll say our goodbyes and I’ll be on my way. I hope I’ll have touched the lives of those I knew, those I didn’t, and those who heard my story and now know me. Because after I speak, your employees will know that even when our chips are way down, there’s always a reason to rise up and play another hand. And that life’s greatest successes truly come from the biggest failures.
Thank you for everything. It’s made all the difference.
Christopher D. Connors