Let’s say you woke up tomorrow and everything you had worked hard for, created and built in your career was gone (not family and children but your work)? You have no degrees or certifications, and that career ladder has yet to be climbed by you. Your professional accomplishments are gone; the work you’ve done has not been started, and your profile is a clean slate.
And you now have an opportunity to rebuild it all — your job/career, your wealth (or debt) and your reputation. How would you approach this?
Given the opportunity to start over, would you pursue the same career? Would you take the same chances… or would you take others?
Many of the audiences I speak with find it interesting that I typically work with senior executives who’ve spent much of their lives building and crafting their careers, only to get to a point in their lives when they are looking to re-define their focus and sometimes reinvent their reputation. It would make more sense, these audiences tell me, for someone to want to focus on building their personal brand at the beginning of their career, rather than after their reputation is well established.
While it is true that younger and younger professionals and entrepreneurs are paying attention to the power of building a personal brand, and I have the good fortune to be a part of that journey for some, it still remains a part of our career progress that we often don’t focus on until later in life.
So, getting back to my earlier question, if you could do it all over again, what would you change? If this question is challenging for you, does that mean you’ve done everything exactly the way you’d intended to… or, are you stuck with what a second chance at your career might look like?
Here are some ways you might think about that question and how you would respond:
- I believe things happen for a reason, in the way and order in which they were intended. If you believe this as well, then you would perhaps not want to change the sequence of your past as it defines and directes how you are today and the opportunities you are afforded.
- Choice comes from your ability to create opportunities for yourself. When you have choice, you have power (to choose). When you don’t have choice, you might feel helpless and powerless. In personal branding, I teach my audiences how to be more intentional and create opportunities, so they have choices. Being in control of your situation is a powerful feeling.
- Are you taking accountability for the choices you’ve made and the results? It’s great to take credit for successes and accomplishments, but what about those things that were less successful? How has the accountability been assigned?
- And along those lines… If you’ve made mistakes that you wish you could undo, what are you doing to fix them? While it really would be nice to swerve and avoid terrible career crashes, there are usually lessons to be learned from our failures and missteps. Have you taken the time to use your experiences — good and bad — to better yourself?
I’m actually glad I cannot turn the clock back on my career. While I wish I would have found my passion and my voice earlier and learned how to share this powerful message of personal branding with others sooner, I know that my maturity, experience, life lessons and skills needed to be at the place they are today for things to be working the way they do for me. What do you think? What would you do differently, if you could?