Get Fired as Quickly as You Can

This week Rachelle and I have been attending the NAB Show, a major creative conference and expo in Vegas covering content creation and production across film, radio, TV, broadcast, streaming, and more. This is the show’s 100th anniversary, so it’s been evolving over many years. I’ve never been to it before, but I heard of it last year, and Aputure offered us free passes this year, so I figured we’d at least check it out. I’m glad we went since it’s been worthwhile.

My favorite part was a one-hour conversation with Brett Goldstein, who was very warm, open-hearted, and funny. Brett is the actor who plays Roy Kent in the Ted Lasso series, and he shared a lot of creative wisdom.

The moderator was Ashley Nicole Black, one of Brett’s co-writers on Ted Lasso. She shared an interesting and effective piece of career advice she’d received as a writer: Try to get fired as quickly as you can.

She took that to mean that instead of trying to fit in as a new writer on a team, share all the ideas that you sense could get you fired for going too far or for being too odd or over-the-top. That’s where you’ll find your creative gold.

This will likely get you fired from teams where you really don’t belong – teams that won’t appreciate what you bring to the table. And that’s a good thing since it will free you up to discover where you do belong.

Both Ashley and Brett agreed that the ideas that you’d think people will reject most harshly are often the best career-making moves. This included Brett suggesting that he be cast as Roy Kent in Ted Lasso, which could have backfired badly since he was a writer for the show. He had a strong feeling that he was meant to play that character, so he went with his gut and made the offer. What if he’d held back and played it safe instead?

“Try to get fired as quickly as you can” could be a nice mantra for finding the work and career path that can handle your full range of strengths and talents. If you try to fully express those aspects of yourself where they aren’t appreciated, you could easily get fired.

Brett also shared that he’s come to believe that there are really no bad ideas – just bad timing and bad context. A seemingly bad idea in one situation might be brilliant in another.

Even if your potential strengths are rough around the edges, you still need to start expressing them in order to hone them. They won’t get any better if you hide them.

Want a lifeless and mediocre career instead? Don’t rock the boat and try to fit in. That’s a great way to end up where you don’t belong. Are you in that situation now? You can still apply the advice here, starting today.

This works if you own a business too. Think of it as scaring away the customers, clients, and partners who can’t handle your uniqueness. If you still have a viable business after that, you probably have a keeper that you can invest in long-term. And you’ll get to serve people who appreciate what you do for them. Plus you won’t have to deal with the headaches of bending over to serve total mismatches.

I’ve seen time and time again that the ideas that felt risky or edgy to me were often those that produced the most value for people. The articles that I was most hesitant to publish were frequently the most impactful. I’ve enjoyed a delightful lifestyle thanks to the simple, repeated act of sharing honestly.

Instead of fearing criticism and consequences from people who aren’t a match for you anyway, you may as well deliberately court their rejection to speed things along. For instance, if Trump supporters are a lousy match for your business – as they are for mine – channel your inner Logan Roy and tell them to fuck off! They need to hear it because they’re being really, really stupid. Then focus on serving the people you like and respect. Remember the rule: Mutual respect or disconnect.

Some people have an objection to this because they feel that we should all be connected on a spiritual level. Hey… spirit gave rise to differentiation too, so don’t be so afraid of it. Go ahead and love everyone at the level of spirit, but dump the mismatches on the mental, physical, and emotional levels, so you can do some real exploring of what matters to you. Don’t hide behind spirituality as an excuse for avoiding rejection – it’s inauthentic and phony, and you’ll lose the respect of some great matches when you do that. Don’t pretend that you resonate with everyone you meet. Bounce over to the circles where mutual alignment is strong. Bounce out where resonance is weak.

It’s often the case that you must bounce out of a mismatch before you’ll even perceive the possibility of a match. That’s because if you’re in a mismatched situation, you’re actually repelling matches, usually before you can even perceive them.

You can also apply this advice to relationships. Think of your best relationships as being anti-fragile. You can express the full range of your personality without holding back, and you’ll still be loved. Imagine getting involved with someone new with the attitude of sharing everything about yourself that’s you think will induce someone to reject you. Anyone who makes it through is likely to be a strong match.

So share the ideas and express the aspects of your personality that you hallucinate will get you fired, rejected, or cast out. That will help you discover where you’re most appreciated and where you can push your talents and develop your ideas even further.

Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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