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Career Success, the Hardest Part is Getting Started

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Every day we have a ton of ideas.  Ways to improve how we store our pots and pans, maybe how to shave a few minutes off our daily commute or even how we could improve the terrible food they serve on airplanes.  We’re all little idea machines, constantly innovating, improving our lives and the lives of our loved ones.  You might walk down the street passing the local pizza shop and think “I can do a better job running this business” or “I could make tastier pizza”.  Maybe the local hardware store has horrible customer service and you have ideas on how to vastly improve their business.  The question is, why don’t you take yourself up on the challenge?

No Pain, No Gain:

There are two reasons why we don’t start that small business we always dreamed of, or create that killer product that improves thousands or even millions of lives. I’m not saying it’s easy to bring a great idea or product to market. If it was so easy, everyone would do it. Successful people tend to have two things in common – they’ve worked their butts off and they’ve failed multiple times before getting that “big win”.

We’re All a Little Lazy:

It’s easy to say you’ll start your project tomorrow and it’s even easier to turn the TV on and say “I’ll do it after this show”.  Plus, we have the internet!  We could spend hours just reading Wikipedia or browsing Facebook.  Why work now?  We seem to forget how hard we worked to get to where we are.  We went to school every day cramming tons of different things into our heads and then we would come home and do homework.  In between school and homework, we might spend time with friends learning to socialize, argue and exchange ideas.

We all started as drooling babies and now look at us, we’re reading ideas shared on the internet with a computer or mobile device we bought with money we earned working.  Just getting to where you are today was a huge achievement and it was way harder than creating something out of your own ideas.  Doing something you’re interested in is easy, following that idea through to completion takes commitment and sacrifice.

We’re Afraid to Fail:

Of course, what about all that risk, right?  We could fail, and what would everyone think of us?  We could waste months and achieve nothing, or even worse, lose some of our savings!  Instead, we sit at home watching TV, doing nothing but always wishing that we did.  What you forget is that to get to where you are now, you’ve failed thousands of times!  How long did it take you to learn to ride a bicycle, swim, even walk?  Skinned knees, failed classes, it’s the only way we learn.  You have to fail, pick yourself back up, figure out what you did wrong and try again.  If nobody ever took that risk, we’d all still be drooling babies living in caves and wishing we had fire.

Is investing in yourself such a big risk? We think nothing of putting our hard-earned savings at risk by buying stock or some other investment.  Why not invest in yourself!

The Shot You Didn’t Take:

I’ve been writing posts on CareerAlley for over 7 years and while I’m sure I don’t know all there is to know about how to look for a job, how to structure your resume, and how to interview, I have seen more than most when it comes to career success stories.  There is a great quote by Wayne Gretzky that I’m sure most of you have heard: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take“.

Risk versus Reward / Comfort versus Success:

Humans are basically risk-averse. I’m sure you know all of the “safety” idioms such as “Better safe than sorry“, “There is safety in numbers” or “Plan for the worst, hope for the best“.  These were not written by people who think (or act) outside of the box.  There is nothing wrong with being happy with what you have and not wanting to risk that. Generally speaking, the greater the risk, the bigger the reward. As with most things, we learn to accept our current reality and deal with the tools at hand.  It takes someone who thinks outside the box to push the needle forward and build the next tool to simplify our lives, or in this case our job search.

“What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? ” – Robert H. Schuller

The thing is, the only way to achieve absolute failure is by giving up or not trying at all.  You would be surprised how far some of the most popular products and services we use have deviated from their original path.  It’s not a product’s flaws in which we base our decisions, it’s vision and progress.

All great things have to start somewhere.  You may not create the next Facebook or win the next Nobel Peace Prize but it’s worth trying. My father used to say “There is no such word as can’t”. 


Do you have an amazing idea that will create a new product and possibly a new career for you?  If so, what are you waiting for?  Start innovating!

A version of this article was previously posted on JobMob

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