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  • Starting Over, a Goal for 2015

    Learn to Start Anew

    Holding on to what’s no longer there holds too many of us back. Some of us spend the majority of our lives recounting the past and allow negativity to permeate our present. We waste our time and energy when we dwell on the past and inhibit ourselves from making progress by not letting go and moving forward. You must accept the end of something in order to begin to build something new. In order to experience real growth and change, you need to move away from the past, learn from your experiences and then move towards something new (and hopefully better) in its place.

    When we continue to repeat a story in our head, we eventually believe that story and embrace it – whether it empowers us or not. The message we repeat to ourselves becomes a part of our psyche. So the question is: Does your story empower you? Do you allow your mistakes to dominate your thinking and pull you down? Or do you learn from your mishaps and use them as a springboard for personal and career growth? As Marc and Angel Chernoff say in their book, 1000 Little Things Happy and Successful People Do Differently, “Remember, all things are difficult before they are easy. What matters the most is what you start doing now”.

    The Upside to Taking Risks

    There’s an upside to taking risks and rethinking about uncertainty. If no one would take risks we wouldn’t have the printing press (the precursor to the internet), penicillin, semiconductor, optical lenses, refrigeration, gunpowder, the airplane, the automobile, the pill, the telephone, anesthesia, the assembly line and the combine harvester. No one would marry and certainly no one would dare to have children. Essentially, if no one took a risk to fail at attempting to do things differently, the world would still be in the dark ages. The risk takers who went out on their own challenged the status quo and sought to innovate were not crazy, insensible people.

    Their success came from taking risks and being persistent with their ideas with courage to accept a failure and to learn from it. This kind of sensible risk taking will allow you to manage a great success, a mild success and a total blow out failure. Smart risk taking requires taking a leap based on having a realistic gauge of market demand and being aware that with every risk there’s the possibility for failure.

    Starting Over: Do What You Love

    Starting your own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It can offer numerous advantages such as being your own boss, setting your own schedule and making a living doing something you enjoy. But, becoming a successful entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. It requires thorough planning, creativity and hard work. It also requires a willingness to let go of the past, learn from your mistakes, accept the possibility of failure, and a commitment to learning new skills and wearing many hats.

    Famous People Who Started Over and Achieved Success Later in Life

    Gary Heavin was 40 when he opened the first Curves fitness center in 1992, which ended up becoming one of the fastest-growing franchises of the ’90s.

    Vera Wang was a figure skater and journalist before entering the fashion industry at age 40. Today she’s one of the world’s premier women’s designers.

    Julia Child didn’t even learn to cook until she was almost 40 and didn’t launch her popular show until she was 50.

    Harlan Sanders, the Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952, which he would sell for $2 million 12 years later.

    Tim and Nina Zagat were both 51-year-old lawyers when they published their first collection of restaurant reviews under the Zagat name, which eventually became a mark of culinary authority.

    Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, was 43 when he began drawing his legendary superheroes and his partner Jack Kirby was 44 when he created The Fantastic Four.

    Don’t Throw It All Away: Your Past is a Springboard

    No matter what career you’re in, you’ve made a considerable investment in your education and training to be there. It makes sense to pause, reflect and seek some objective outside advice at this point. Similar to a romantic relationship, there were reasons you selected this particular industry, and at one point at least, something was appealing about that job or that industry. Sometimes, it’s making adjustments in your role at work and reshaping your job that can make a huge difference in your overall happiness and success. But in other cases, starting anew could mean applying skills from your past job to a new area that excites you. Your past real world experience isn’t wasted instead it becomes your springboard for a future success. The experiences both good and bad could all be beneficial if you use them as a catalyst for positive change.

    If you weigh the pros and cons of your job and conclude there are more reasons to leave than to stay, then making that actual career move into entrepreneurship will invoke less anxiety. You’ll have greater clarity for why it makes sense to leave and will focus your thoughts and future plans on making constructive changes that could lead to a better career and a happier, more fulfilling life.

    Beth Kuhel, M.B.A., C.E.I.P., Executive Leadership and Career transition coach, writes about leadership strategies, career advancement and improving the workplace for Forbes, Huffington Post, Personal Branding blog and has been featured in Business Insider, Entrepreneur magazine, Tiny Pulse, U.S. News & World Report. Beth’s weekly career CJN career column was sponsored by Weatherhead School of Management.

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