Part 7: Train Wreak – It’s Always Going To Be Harder Than You Imagine

It was around month three that everything began to go to shit.

Carl called me in a panic.

They had interviewed a candidate that was way more qualified than Carl and be all accounts this guy would be an outstanding addition to the team.

Carl was beside himself. Self-doubt and fear started to creep back in. I could hear the defeat in his voice…

”Well, I gave it my best”.

“I can’t be upset if they give the job to this guy. According to Ed, he is already an exceptional Director of Tech at another company.”

“I mean, how can I compete with that?'”

“Carl,” I said. “Calm down.”

“I want you to picture for a moment you sitting behind Terry’s desk. Now imagine you open your desk drawer and take out your business card.  Then you get up from behind the desk walk outside your office and close the door. Tell me, Carl, what’s written below your name on both the business card and office door?”

“Director of Technology,” Carl replied. 

“Exactly!” I said. ” That’s who you are and where you will be in a few weeks.”

“You just need to stay calm, focus and trust in your vision.”

Carl began to Calm down and regain his composure. We had practiced this little routine several times in the past weeks, and it works amazingly well to anchor and refocus Carl every time.

I also pointed out to Carl that the company could not make an offer to this guy without interviewing him and the one other internal candidate.

The Interview

The interview was another issue. Carl was a bag of nerves, whenever that topic came up. And I had the feeling he was stalling.

But finally, he scheduled it for next week.

Like everything else, we prepared for the Interview itself by “beginning with the end in mind.”. That’s the beauty of this Habit. You can apply it (and it works) on multiple levels from the Strategic down to the tactical.

I finally thought we were ready.

On the day of the interview… f&*king Carl texted to tell me that he called in sick and asked to reschedule.

I could not believe it!!

“SICK?… is that what they’re calling nerves and self-doubt these days,” I said to myself.

But I was wrong.

When we finally got on the phone, Carl was not Nervous. He was Pissed.

It was Sue. 

While Sue wanted Carl to advance in his career, she was worried that this would only result in her seeing less of him. The girls already complained that Carl hardly ever spends any time with them anymore.

The last four weeks was the worst for Sue in particular.  As Carl further hunkered down to layout his battle plan he sacrificed even more weekends and night. 

  • No Game of Thrones.
  • No Friday night dinner.

The few pleasures they still enjoyed together? Gone.

Sue tried to be understanding, but she was unhappy. In her mind, this was an indication of worst things to come.

Carl kept telling her things will change.

The night before the interview, they had a big blow up. They both said things. The kind of stuff you often regret the next day. All Carl can remember was Sue telling him:

“… you better off remaining an engineer… why don’t you just forget that Director Thing… because you probably would not get it anyway…”

Carl was incensed. And hurt.  

And that’s what made him decide to call in sick.

“There was no way I could go into that interview feeling the way I did”, he said. 


“Does Sue not understand that I am doing this for her and the girls as much as I am doing it for me?” “

“At this point I don’t know what I should do:”

  • “If I give up and settle I’ll hate myself and feel like a loser the rest of my life”.

  • “If I go forward and don’t get the job how do I face Sue?”. “Despite everything she said she’s made a lot of sacrifices over the years, and deserves a better life.”

  • “If I go forward and I get the position, I would have to buckle down and prove myself in this new role. I’m sure this is going to be even more painful for the both.”

Carl was at another crossroads and had a tough decision to make. 

One he had to make himself.

I advised him to go back to the “Things that matter most to his life” list. And to review them with Sue. Along with the reasons why he chose those Core Values and the Target Destination.

Your Why List and your Destination are essential. Without them, you are a ship without a rudder drifting on the ocean of life. 

Stay true to them and in the long run life and all its sacrifices will be worthwhile.

I hung up the phone not knowing if I got through to Carl this time.

I wondered throughout the day what will be his final decision and if this was the end of the road.

Continue Reading>>>