Some people are just too successful early in their careers. In Rock and Roll, they call them ‘one hit wonders’, they can never progress to a second or third hit after the enormous success they’ve garnered on their first time out. It’s as if their early win puts them out of the running to ever be able to match the greatness.
With your personal brand, it can be a similar situation. You graduate from a good school and get started on a career with a top company, moving up the ranks accordingly. And then maybe you take a job with a company that doesn’t do so well, or you take on an assignment that doesn’t turn out to put you in a good light. For whatever reason, you find yourself mid-career in a slump. You’re the star batter who can’t get a hit, or the successful novelist who hits writer’s block. You’re stuck and not moving forward.
The good news is you are not alone. Many people go through this and it’s how they come out of it that makes all the difference. One thing you can’t do is to give up. An intense conversation with a career coach might help you sift through exactly what’s stopping you from changing up your current progression into something more rewarding. Sometimes it means looking like you’re going backwards only to move ahead. Ann had some set ideas as to the kind of job she might accept, but when she wasn’t finding that job, she realized that she had to be more flexible in her thinking. Other times it might be extreme, like throwing aside that corporate finance job to buy into a franchise.
This weekend’s Indy 500 Winner, Juan Pablo Montoya is a perfect example. An early Indy 500 Win as a rookie in 2000 sent him into NASCAR. After seven years with no progress, Montoya was seeing his career fade. Then in 2013 Roger Penske of Team Penske reached out to Montoya with an offer to rejoin the Indianapolis race team as one of his drivers. The day was not without setbacks for the native Colombian; he was clipped from behind at one point, and later narrowly escaped a penalty. He was still able to push ahead for a win with a margin of 0.1046 of a second.
Now try that with your career and you can also come back out on top. It may mean retracing some steps, or getting some additional tools in your belt. It may look like you can’t get around the obstacles, but it can be done with perseverance, creativity and passion for what you do. You have to believe in yourself and your personal brand and have some allies, your network, supporting you. Let the thought of that later career success take root in you and allow yourself to make a comeback.