Learn to Fall Down (so you can get back up)

Red Maple LeafI was halfway done with the week’s blog post on how to be awesome at your job by following your passion when my company announced a massive lay off on Thursday. The move wasn’t a surprise since the CEO mentioned it would be coming some time this month, but that didn’t mean it was anything less than a heartache to see my Twitter feed, to see the people I love, admire, and adore, to see the people I consider Family, leaving goodbye notes to announce their departures. Leaves were falling as the tweets came in one by one, and there were so many leaves on the ground.

I was spared from the lay off, but I was visibly shaken and suddenly my still-in-progress blog post read like the most distasteful, gloating piece of shit a human being can ever write. I couldn’t keep writing and thought I was a complete hack and a cheat. Who am I to write about productivity or to pretend that anything I do can actually help people? The guilt also seeped in, at the fact that I made the cut and should be thankful when so many people had it worse than me. They’re the ones who were affected, not me, so who the hell was I to victimize myself, who gave me the right to be upset, who gave me permission to say anything at all? I fell into a dark place and I was desperate to climb back up, only to slip further as I felt increasingly voiceless and powerless to change anything.


I eventually stopped trying to make myself feel better and just ran with how I felt. I was angry, disappointed, and heartbroken, and eventually said to myself “You know what? That’s ok.” I began making a list of absolutely everything that was upsetting me and crossed out the things I had no control over. Turned out that made up of the majority of the list. I marked the things that were in my control and acted on them: I stopped dismissing encouragements. I reached out to my friends who were laid off. I played Journey. I’m writing this blog post.

So how does all of this relate to productivity? Despite our best attempts, sometimes we will face hurdles and sometimes we will fall flat on our faces. But sometimes we just have to fall before we can stand back up. Sometimes we have to travel down to the valley to realize and appreciate the height of the peaks. Sometimes it’s not about feeling better, but about feeling true to ourselves.

Instead of fearing of falling under, maybe we should first learn how to fall down so we can get back up. When things fall apart, maybe it’s better to take a step back and let the dust settle before rushing back for your belongings. Instead of letting the situation control our emotions, maybe we should be in a honest place with our emotions so we know how best to handle the situation.

Few days have passed and I’m slowly picking myself back up. I’ve begun to collect the dots between the many words, hugs, and actions people have given me to make sure I saw the value in myself the way they do. I’ve realized my outburst of emotions and reaction is of strength and not of weakness, that it derived from my genuine care and admiration of the people in this company and in my life, that I am human after all.


I also took this time to ask myself about this blog, and questioned my desire and ability to make a difference in this world. I can either quit while I’m ahead, or I can keep walking to see where this road will take me. And the fact is, as simple and easy as it is for me to stop writing, there are still too many ideas, life experiences, and lessons in my head that I want to share and express. There are still too many stories that need to be told, because there are way too much beauty in this world that deserves a mention from a common man.

So ability or not, qualified or not, success or not, my desire to create and to make a difference in this world is still here. It’s February after all, and I still have forty-three more posts to go in accomplishing my new year resolution. Question is, will you stay with me and see where we both end up?

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