This Story, part 1 – Leadership is a Choice #27

Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.


I want to take you back a few months to one of the biggest opportunities to practice personal responsibility I have ever experienced. I’ve been a little gun shy lately, and as you may already be aware, my blogs don’t hold back. They don’t sugar coat, and they let you in my mind unfiltered. They are transparent, as intended.

Some people don’t like my transparency. They aren’t comfortable with it and when they read it, even though the rest of the world has no idea who or what I am referring to, one person believes all eyes are on them because they know they were a part of some situation I was working through in the blog.

My blogs have been my single greatest tool for working on me. They set me free, they clear my mind, and allow me to see where I am mentally by reading my own words.

They are also contributing factors in a contract being ended and a handful of explosions occurring on my phone. I have always stood strong in my desire to share it all with you, no matter what consequences I received because of it. I never wanted someone’s reaction to my blogs to stop me from doing what I believed to be best for me.

I let it happen anyway. I stopped myself from even writing this blog because I was afraid, afraid of someone else’s confront not being as strong.

Today I am taking me back and letting go of the fear. Here it is, part one of this story…


Things had been changing at work. The methodology was doing what it was designed for and problems were being exposed. Transparency was key for me, “Here is the problem and here is how we propose addressing it.”

I had said for weeks I thought something felt off but I couldn’t pin point it, so I sat in a conference in Panama, working remotely and chatting with my boss. I expressed my concern and wanted to know what I could do to help the situation. His reassurance that we would work through it together helped me put my focus back on the team.

Looking back at it now I still struggle with this interaction. Was he being honest, did he know what was coming just a day later or was he playing the game and protecting himself?

As I boarded the plane taking me to Comfort, Texas I began to focus on what was scheduled for this weekend. It was an event I had been looking forward to for weeks. I was going to be facilitating a group of The Leadership Gift Program members as well as the Partnerwerks team to look at ways to improve the program. The plane ride was filled with excitement and preparation. With about 45 minutes left I pulled out my computer and iPad to get a little more work done.

I was only connected to wifi for a minute or two before an iMessage came through. “Hey Jessica, please call me when you get a chance today.” I didn’t recognize the number at first so my response inquired who and what this was referring to.

It ended up being from the consulting firm that was placing me at my 9-5. As soon as I knew who it was and factored in the fact it was Friday at 4 p.m. I knew what was about to happen.

Even though I knew, I didn’t want to accept what was about to happen. I was also trapped on a plane for the next 45 minutes and would have to wait for validation of what I feared.

Planes have always been a favorite place of mine, secluded above the clouds where no one could get to me. My mind could be free. This plane, however, very quickly turned into a tiny tin can that was keeping me from facing something I was desperate to confront.

As soon as we landed in Texas I was on the phone.

“I’m sorry Jessica, but effective immediately your contract has been terminated.”

Denial. No way was this happening. The first thought that went through my head was how could I possibly face these leaders I respected so much after just losing my job. How stupid would I look?

We talked for a minute and she shared her confusion as to why this was happening. The reasoning behind it made no sense and was easily proven to be not true. Even with that the bell had been rung and there was no going back.

I hung up the phone and sent one text message to a fellow accredited Coach of The Leadership Gift and now previous co-worker. “I was just fired”.

Panic hit instantly. Seeing the words on the screen I had just typed brought me out of denial and straight into shame. I didn’t understand what I did, I didn’t know how I was going to do what I had come to Texas to do.

All I knew was that the airplane was decreasing in size every second and my ability to breathe was becoming more strained.

S**t! Just a few rows behind me sat another member of The Leadership Gift program who I was riding with to Comfort. How could I face him? How do I suck the tears back in and act like I hadn’t just gotten this news?

My phone buzzed in response to the text I had sent. Yep he was in denial too. Shame felt so comfortably uncomfortable.

Each tear that snuck out screamed “What a failure I am!”

I need off this plane! I began to scream internally, I texted again begging for help at this point. I couldn’t breathe and I needed out of this tin can.

In an instant I knew this is what I wanted. I created this, I attracted this and knowing that didn’t eliminate the shame I was feeling. I couldn’t get past the belief that I was going to look so stupid to everyone I had been working with. I was a joke.

Get it together! People are beginning to get off the plane and in no time at all I would be literally staring at another member, staring at a physical representation of personal responsibility. I wasn’t ready yet, all I wanted to do was cry.

Quickly I shot off a text letting him know that I was going to run to bathroom and would meet him at baggage claim.

Whew, bought myself maybe 10-15 minutes. It felt like I had just bought myself a lifetime. As I walked to the bathroom I wiped the tears away and began to get present. I was in Texas about to meet with so many people I respect and I wasn’t going to let this ruin this opportunity. I wasn’t going to let my shame win.

Part Two continues next week…


Jessica Soroky, CSM

IMG_3285Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.


For Businesses Partnerwerks provides a unique, proven model that ignites cultures of self-direction and ownership.

Posted in Responsibility on 09/29/2015 01:34 am
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