There are two types of CEOs: those who have been fired and those who have not been fired yet.
I've been fired twice as chief executive: the initial time in my first CEO job. The writing was on the wall from the moment I joined, but I was too inexperienced to pay attention to the signals.
The second time I was fired as CEO, it was an ousting. When the board wanted to pivot from B2C to B2B in response, I explained we didn't have enough runway. The board's response was fitting: If you don't believe you can do it, you shouldn't be CEO. They were right. I walked out of the board meeting as a former CEO.
After leaving my second post as CEO, I was pretty down on myself. I turned to fellow tech business leaders and they helped me understand two important lessons:
First, in the grand scheme, getting fired isn't a big deal.
Two, getting fired as chief executive isn't about your value as a business professional.It's a matter of the company's strategy for accomplishing a particular task or goal under a particular set of conditions, nearly all of which are out of your control.
Through both experiences, I also came to realize that getting fired as CEO can be a gift. Specifically, these experiences helped me evolve as a leader in three key areas that are imperative to success as a CEO: confidence, tenacity and leadership.