Just Experienced Failure? Then Maybe Now is When to Make a Career Change

Statistic gatherers tell us that on an average day, 8,838 Americans turn 13, 10,951 turn 40, another 6,000 turn 65 and 35 turn 100. So who cares?

What really counts is what we do with the information, wisdom and experienced we have accumulated over the years. A client of mine recently said, “It’s awfully depressing to be over 40, still not knowing what you want to be when you grow up or if or when to make a career change. It makes me feel like a total failure at this stage in life, when there are so many others I see secure in what they’re doing and able to concentrate on other things.”

This is individual is far from alone in his way of thinking. No matter how successful we are, everybody encounters failure on the job and life in general. But what so many of us don’t realize is that there are really no mistakes in life and what we consider failure can actually be a step forward to creating an empowered and passionate life.

It’s perfectly understandable why someone at this stage in their lives would see themselves a failure. However, when you fail or have to make a career change in later life you are in truly good company, especially when you consider the resume of this great American:

  • Age 22, failed in business.
  • Age 23, ran for legislature and was defeated.
  • Age 24, failed again in business.
  • Age 25, elected to legislature.
  • Age 27, had a nervous breakdown.
  • Age 29, defeated for Speaker of legislature.
  • Age 31, defeated for elector.
  • Age 34, defeated for Congress.
  • Age 37, elected to Congress.
  • Age 39, defeated for Congress.
  • Age 46, defeated for Senate.
  • Age 47, defeated for Vice President.
  • Age 51, elected President of the United States.

This is the record of one of the greatest leaders in world history, Abraham Lincoln. Throughout his life, he suffered more setbacks than successes but because he never gave up his prize for perseverance was the highest office in the land. Other so-called failures include another famous U.S. President, Harry S. Truman who lost it all as a haberdasher and R.H. Macy who went out of business seven times before his store caught on in New York. Likewise, when Bob Dylan performed at his high school talent show his fellow classmates booed him off the stage.

When you ask questions, “When to make a career change – is it now or later?” The best way to answer this is to confront your relationship to failure. When we come to realize that failure is the instructive side of experience it becomes easier to see how much more in life is available to us and no matter where we are on our individual paths to success is an incredible place to be. Aristotle Onassis, one of the world’s richest men, once said, “You don’t fail until you give up.”

In other words, giving up is not just quitting, it is actually choosing to fail. No matter what your age or status in life never put more energy into not making mistakes but instead devote your maximum efforts into doing work that is truly meaningful.