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How Being Fired Saved Me

I was fired by Mark 5 years ago.

I wanted to use Mark’s full name for the article so I shot him a text. I was only given permission to use Mark M.

Mark’s full name doesn’t matter anyway— what matters is that he shocked me 5 years ago.

I’ve always focused on good quality work so being fired felt like a donkey kick.

What was especially shocking was that in addition to being an important client, Mark M was a mentor.

Let’s pause and go back a few conversations.

Here’s the back story: I had been working with Mark for many years. Was doing hourly work and our understanding was that as long as I was able to show ROI Mark was good.

I had spent the first 9 years of my business hyper-focusing on efficiency (doing more with less time). At this point, I had mastered the skill so working for Mark’s brand for super straightforward.

At the end of every 30 day period, I would send my invoice and get paid promptly.

Around this time I had hired my first full-time employee and during our monthly catchup calls Mark and I would chat about the experience.

On this particular call, I was a little frustrated so Mark asked me to explain what was going on.

I said, “well, if I can just make this employee 10% more efficient I’ll be able to make a profit.”

Mark asked, “How long have we been working together, Rishi?”

I said, “5 years”, with pride.

“Remind me again your hourly rate?”

“$100/hr Mark”, said I.

Mark: And how much were you charging when I first hired you 5 years ago?

Rishi: Oh, it was $100/hr and back then too.

At this point, I felt the vibe in the air change. Mark was now a little irritated.

Mark: I pay close attention to your work and the work you submit now is 5x much better than the work you did 5 years ago. The growth is obvious.

But if your work is better you should be charging more, a lot more. The fact that you don’t means you either don’t value your work -or- know it isn’t producing impact.

Neither of those situations is acceptable.

You call me to discuss making an employee 10% more efficient when you should be thinking about massively improving the impact of your work. Do that and there would be no need to waste time on the small details.

Every month you send your $1000 odd dollar invoice explaining how efficiently you used your time and how impactful your work was. Well, my friend, I don’t give a shit about a thousand dollars. Each night I go to bed with just one thought— to take my business from $11 million in annual sales to $12.

If you can help me get to that goal I’ll pay $50,000 but that’s not the game you seem interested in.

On my bus, I only want people whose singular focus is getting me to $12 million in sales.

As of this minute, consider yourself fired.

I want you to think about who you want to be. When you’ve figured it out I’d love to hire you back. I’m happy to continue guiding you through the employee growth process because I have a lot of experience with it but you and I don’t share the same vision so I cannot work with you as a client.

That day I learned the difference between efficiency and efficacy. I had spent all my time focusing on efficiency when I should have also focused on efficacy.

Being fired, on a call, when I didn’t expect it, stung.

This one experience started a chain reaction.

It took many years to internalize the concept. And I’m still working on it.

But today I fully embrace the idea.

As I reflect back on this conversation this Sunday morning, I have just one thing to say to Mark, “Thank you.”


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Comments 6


it always amazes me how productive and ultimately rewarding ‘failure’ can be – thanks for sharing Rishi!!

avatar post author

No doubt. All experiences have hidden lessons.



wow. this is powerful and convicting. thank you for sharing 🙏🏼

avatar post author

Hey, Tommy. Glad you liked it. We need to chat soon.



Dude. I felt this story deeply. This reminds me of many of my career failures where a person recognized a certain greatness in me that I had not. Thankfully, I had the good sense to reflect and grow. Thanks for sharing, Rishi!

avatar post author

Hey, dude. I’m so glad the story resonated with you. Also, we need to chat soon.



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