Nobody's career goes exactly as planned. Even if, from a young age, you are intuitive enough to know what you want to do, and prudent enough to make a fail-proof plan to achieve your vocational goals, there will always be obstacles preventing you from living out your perfect career scenario. Poor instructors, unpleasant co-workers, a supervisor worse than Pointy-Haired Boss from Dilbert (I just aged myself) and the everyday complications of life impede even the most well thought out strategies.
But even if these headaches slow you down and make you rethink your path, you need not regret everything that has kept you from accomplishing the career you've always wanted.
1. Missing an Opportunity
Did you sleep in past your interview or miss the deadline for a submission? If the cause for these blunders is something that can be fixed, then appreciate that you've learned how to keep it from happening again. If not, then remember that you're a human and you are neither the first nor the last person who will make this mistake.
What you must avoid is taking it too harshly. If it's a serious matter, then take it as a lesson to remember in the future. But beating yourself up over something that's already happened never helps anyone, whether it be with your job, your relationships, or your fantasy sports team. Career ending events are very uncommon, so unless you have to worry about the law taking away your right to your chosen occupation, there isn't much that you can't come back from.
2. Staying True to Yourself
Does your boss lack a moral compass? Does he/she order you to do unethical tasks against customers or competitors? Confronting your boss on his/her dishonest practices may not be on your to-do list, but if you spend too much time following instructions that you perceive as "doing the wrong thing", then you're going to suffer more than you would by coming out against your employer. If they know that you know what you are doing is wrong, they may decide to change their own practices. And even if they choose to dismiss you for staying loyal to your own integrity, it is easy to take solace in knowing that wasn't the type of place you wanted to work at to begin with. You may regret the temporary loss of income, but you'll never regret keeping your principles.
3. Coming Up Short
If you've spent a considerable amount of time trying to complete a task, only to find out that it wasn't good enough, then you'll likely want to spend some time sulking. But nobody who has gotten anywhere hasn't had this happen to them. No one gets it right all the time.
This is another area where you can learn from mistakes. Most times, being rejected will also come with advice as to why you came up short. And advice is something that you can carry with you for the rest of your life. Another set back, another lesson learned.
4.Losing Your Job
There are a few different ways one gets fired: By doing the wrong thing, by doing the right thing, or by doing nothing at all. If you've done the wrong thing, then you know it, and can take it as another one of those "character building" episodes in life. If you've done the right thing, then you're probably complying with the practice of staying true to yourself, and there's no shame in that. If you've done nothing at all, then while you may want to scream at the injustice, remember that it was probably not your fault, and more likely a case of company politics.
Unless you've decided it was "the final straw", then getting back on track is probably easier than you think. Remember - politicians, athletes, and celebrities lose their jobs all the time. It doesn't mean it's the end.
5. Changing Your Career
Do you love what you are doing now? What did you want to be when you were young? Is it what you are or what you still want to be?
Chances are, they aren't the same. You've probably changes your career at least once so why not again? As far as anyone knows, this is the only life we have, so why should you waste it doing one thing when you want to do another? If you don't feel the same passion for the career path you've chosen, then why do it for the rest of your life?
Luckily, there are always people with advice and encouragement to help you to make change. Seek out someone who is encouraging and that inspires you. Remember to always listen to the advice you would give someone in your situation. It's the best guidance you'll ever follow.
Learn more about how to turn failure into success with my new book The Entrepreneurs Book of Actions.