Paul Boross, also known as The Pitch Doctor, is a motivational psychologist, author, business trainer and presentation specialist. He puts himself in the position of someone starting their career again:

If I imagine myself starting over, I see myself excitedly making plans about my future career in the media, about my rise to the top, meeting the stars, being invited to parties, working with the very best…and then the reality sinks in that I have a long road ahead, so I had better get started.

The first thing I would do is recall the time I wasted first time around. Looking back I can see so many dead ends that, at the time, all seemed like promising possibilities, mainly because other people promised they would be.

So what would I do differently? Should I not trust in other people this time? Should I have contingency plans and not sit around waiting? No – I would still trust my intuition.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that some of those dead ends were doomed from the start, and my mistake was ignoring my gut feeling and hoping for the best. Trust was not the problem – what I got wrong was using false hope as a way to hide my own fear of failure.

The lesson I would therefore take back with me is to realise that if a promise sounds empty then it probably is. When people say: “I’ll try…” or “I’ll see what I can do…”, I would not hear: “You’re great! I can’t wait to tell my boss about you!”

Instead, I would hear: “I don’t want to say no to your face, but that’s what I’m trying to tell you.”

What difference would that have made? It would have saved me countless hours waiting for the phone to ring and given me the time to focus on finding the people who do say yes.

What else do I know now that would have helped me then?

I think that what most people are talking about when they say “I wish I knew then what I know now” are lessons learned from their own mistakes. The problem is that without those mistakes there is no learning. Older, wiser friends and colleagues would tell me where I was going wrong, but did I listen? Of course not – I had to learn it myself.

But the more I think about the benefits of my experience, the more I realise that it has a big downside, too. The biggest problem with experience is experiencing failure and resolving never to go down that road again.

But if you search the internet for quotes on failure, you’ll find the wise words of people such as Edison and Churchill, who all said pretty much the same thing: that failure isn’t the problem – giving up is the problem.

The problem I have now is that I am too well aware of all the things that don’t and won’t work. So in going back to begin my career over again, I would try hard to forget everything I know now and concentrate only on what I already knew back then – that anything is possible.

Paul Boross’s latest book, Pitch Up! Pitch Yourself for the Job of Your Dreams, is published by CGW Publishing, £7.99.

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