There is a sentence I frequently quote because of my background in financial services, and it seems to give hope to my career transition clients who may have zigged when they should have zagged. Or who had a work situation blow up in their face. (These are generally the professionals who reach out to me.)

Below is the sentence, a disclaimer used for mutual funds and other financial market investments, how I remember it:

Past performance is not indicative of future value.

A woman in my coaching group jumped into the chat and added her version how she remembers it:

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

A reader might interpret these sentences similarly, but to me, they couldn’t be more different. Let’s start with her version first.

To me, this feels fear-based, not empowering, not forward looking, and like the institution is covering its butt because they are bragging about some great result they know might have been a one-off occurrence.

I could easily translate this as buyer beware.

To someone in career transition, or a founder who is exiting their business, this could feel like they are destined to repeat mistakes or have bad things happen, which is certainly NOT what I want my clients to feel.

Now, let’s look at my version: Past performance is not indicative of future value.

If you weren’t successful, or were unlucky in the past, the future could be different. That could open the door for you to see possibility.

Or if you had to take a low-paying or lower-title job for whatever reason, that does not constrain your value going forward or peg you at that level.

In short, history does not necessarily need to repeat and you can get a job at a higher title level, or higher salary level, or switch industries, or launch a new business that is profitable.

I like my version so much better!

If you think you’re doomed to repeat something that didn’t work for you, how likely are you to make an effort?

If you can’t imagine that you could make the shift you want, how likely are you to invest the time and energy to try to make it happen?

One thing I have learned is mindset is equally as important as strategies and tactics for job search. Language is important. What we tell ourselves can absolutely affect our outcome.

This applies to every aspect of life. Watch your language!


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash