This is a story I've never told before. This is a story about the unexpected happening. About failure. About rejection. But also about newness. About freedom. About finding your calling. I wanted to share this story to encourage you today. To encourage you that failure...is actually a good thing. It's a blessing in disguise. So here we go.
A year and a half ago I got fired from my waitress job at a brewery.
This was before I went full time with my photography business. This was after I graduated college. This was during that crazy transition period when you're finally done with education, and that big question that scares the bejeezus out of you looms in the back of your every thought: "What do I do next?"
I knew waitressing wasn't my calling. But I knew it was a solid income to make while figuring out the answer to that terrifying question of what I was doing with my life. In fact, I hated the job. Sure, it made me great money, but every day I put on the apron, non-slip shoes, pulled my hair back, and stepped into that building smelling of grease and beer, I knew this wasn't what God created me for. I feared my boss, because as hard as I tried to do exactly what was told of me, it was never right. It was never enough. I know so many of you out there walk every day into a job you dread. I was there. I know that exact feeling.
But I stayed with it, because I was afraid of the unknown. I was afraid of what would happen if I didn't have that steady income coming in. I think for a lot of you, the unknown terrifies you like it terrified me. Ever since we were little kids, the next step in our lives has always been planned out for us. Kindergarten, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, College. But once we graduate and are faced with the reality of the real world, once that choice for our next step becomes whatever we want it to be... we get scared. We retreat into the first thing that offers that stability, that next step. Even if it's not what we want. Even if we know deep down we were made for so much more.
At the brewery I worked for, the staff needed to put in their availability for the next semester (I lived in a college town so everything went by school semesters.) I had given them my availability for the Spring Semester of 2016, and was just waiting for the call to tell me what my new schedule would be. I got the call. It just wasn't the one I was expecting.
"Hey Lindsey, in looking at the spring schedule, we already have all the waitress shifts full, so we actually don't have any shifts for you."
I got off the call and was actually unsure of what just happened. I think I had been fired, but it was so passive aggressive, that it actually made me question it. The more I sat there dumbstruck, the more I realized what I did know. I knew the waitress shifts hadn't magically filled up before they got to my availability. I knew every day I had went in, I disappointed or angered the manager in one way or another. I knew they had intentionally built the new schedule leaving me off of it.
I'd never in my life been fired from anything. I've always prided myself on being a "good girl." The one that always followed the rules. The one that got straight A's in high school and college. I knew my character was good. I knew I was raised to be responsible, trustworthy, and good-mannered. So to me, none of the things I knew about myself matched up with the fact of getting fired. Because of that, I was immediately embarrassed. I had failed. I had tried something and not succeeded. I had let the managers down. For someone who was a huge people pleaser, getting fired was a blow to my ego.
But do you want to know what happened after that initial sinking feeling of failure?
I suddenly felt free. I realised like a breath of fresh air, that the reason I had dreaded going to work, and the reason I believe I ultimately got fired, was because I was doing something I naturally wasn't meant to do. Suddenly, life felt more freeing. I started realizing my love for photography, for entrepreneurship, and for being a creative girl boss. One who tells stories with my camera. One who uses my God-given gifts to create art that leaves legacies. One who encourages others to be exactly who they were meant to be. You see, when I got fired, I failed. By every sense of the word, I had failed at that job. But in failing at the wrong thing, it led me towards the right thing. I found my calling. The thing God had been leading me towards all along.
About 6 months after I got fired, I was doing an engagement session in the same alleyway I used to walk into the brewery. One of the bartenders walked out the back door. We made eye contact, gave a quick hello in recognition, and he walked back inside. In that moment, in the midst of doing a job I absolutely loved, I saw a glimpse of the life I might still be living, had I not got fired. Had I not failed. I smiled a little to myself and silently thanked God for intervening in my life. For taking me through the tough stuff, in order to bring me to where I was now.
Maybe you feel like a failure. Maybe you just got rejected from something or someone. Maybe you're sitting here thinking you'll never be good enough or worthy enough to get where you want to go. I'm here to tell you, my friend, to keep going. If that means quitting a dead beat job you hate, do it. If that means fighting for a job you love, keep at it. Remember that failure is apart of your story. No one "successful" ever got to where they are by doing everything perfectly, trust me. Failure is not bad. Failure is refinement. Failure is learning. Failure is God saying no, so that when the right thing does come along: it will be a big fat YES.
Lindsey Roman is not a waitress anymore. ;) She's an adventurous, destination wedding and intimate elopement photographer based out of Oahu, Hawaii and available worldwide. She lives for outdoor adventures, intimate moments, and candid images. Her style is raw, passionate, and authentic. She believes in chasing sunsets, laughing too hard, and most importantly: capturing genuine moments that evoke feeling over perfectly posed photographs.