You’ve Made a Lot of Mistakes, and Because of That Your Position on the Board Is No Longer Tenable…

Lori felt terrible betrayal, and was enraged hearing these words.

Photo by Tobi from Pexels

Are There Any Times in Your Worklife When You’ve Become Someone You’re Not? Maybe You’ve Done Things That Went Against Your Beliefs and Values, or You Behaved in Ways That Were Completely Out of Character for You?

Getting Back To Who I Used To Be … are people’s stories of when they no longer recognised themselves, or when didn’t like who they’d become. Stories of people who had lost their sense of identity, because they’d strayed so far from the person they used to be, and were struggling to get back …

You’ve made a lot of mistakes, and because of that your position on the board is no longer tenable … Lori felt terrible betrayal, and was enraged hearing these words.

But let’s back up a little to Lori’s Story: A Getting Back To Who I Used To Be Case Study:

Lori, a university drop-out, founded her company, A-Z Vital Health, at age 19, and captivated investors and the public with her invention: a reasonably priced technology done at pharmacies that could detect a range of diseases.

Her ability to pitch her product and her ideas, together with her charismatic presence, brought her instant success. She quickly rose to celebrity-like status, and was invited as an A-List guest and key note speaker to leading industry conferences and events.

Her fall was equally dramatic, as she walked into her office that Monday morning to find Jenny (the President of the company) and Julian (the Chairman of the Board) sitting in the room, together with Meg, another VP, and Julia, a Director of the Board. They were sitting there waiting to have an intervention with her, which led to those soul-destroying words: You’ve made a lot of mistakes, and because of that your position is no longer tenable. Lori felt terrible betrayal, and was enraged hearing those words; and it didn’t stop there, a lot of her power was taken from her too.

People had tried to talk to her, but nothing they’d tried to tell her had gotten through to her, and so they had no choice but to go over her head and basically engineer a power scoop.

But she had to stay in the company. It was her company, and she couldn’t walk away. She couldn’t walk away because she had brought in all the employees, all the investors, It was her vision. So, everyday she had to go work with people who she thought had betrayed her.

The pain was so unbearable there were times when she could barely breathe, and that forced her to begin to ask the questions, much more deeply: What the hell is going on inside of me? why am I suffering so much? how can I numb the pain a little bit, and more importantly what the hell happened to me, how did I go from somebody who everybody loved and was drawn to, the visionary that I was, to this horrible leader that no-one wants to work for?

Through self-feedback, the answer to these questions allowed her to realise that under stress she had shifted from a positive, visionary that had attracted all these people to a horrific, negative, micromanaging, controlling leader that people could not bear working for anymore. She needed to find a way to shift back, to get back to who she used to be.


Lori reached out to Jenny, who as well as being the president of the company, was also a friend from school — a friend who Lori had always thought of as being wise beyond her years. Jenny had a completely different read to Lori on the situation. She was able to see the truth of what had happened. She was able to see that Lori was on the edge, and she enabled Lori to see that together with Julian, Meg and Julia, she was fighting for Lori’s vision. They were her friends and they were fighting to save her vision, to save it from Lori herself, who because she was on the edge, was destroying her own vision. They hadn’t betrayed her, they were doing this because they believed in her. They forced the matter because this was the only way Lori could step back, to take the time to recover, in order to get back to the great person she used to be.


The book she reached for, to help her figure out how to get herself back to who she used to be was: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. A book she’d read when she had been contemplating dropping out of university, it had helped her then to understand what was going on within herself. It was a book that had a very special place in her heart.

This is the learning and wisdom she gleaned:

  • The world’s greatest lie: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control over what is happening to us, and our lives become controlled by faith;
  • She had to choose between thinking of herself as the poor victim or as an adventurer in the quest for her treasure;
  • That disaster will teach her to understand not to fear the unknown because she’s capable of achieving what she needs and wants.


Lori came to know that she needed this wake-up call, and she came to realise that the intervention by Jenny, Julian, Meg and Julian was a gift in saving her life. She was able to heal those relationships, as well as the other relationships she had damaged and broken. Rebuilding positive relationships was the integral part of the process in helping her to get back to who she used to be.


Sometimes we have to lose things before we appreciate them.

Today’s featured book is: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.

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