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What if you make the leap…and fail?

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How many of us have faced a decision…and we didn’t know how to decide?

I’ll take you back to one that changed my life. In college, I was deciding between taking a job at Google — a well-paid job that would have put me into an “elite” job category — or starting my own company.

How do you decide what to do?

Do you look at the salary you’d make and decide? (Easy to say no, “go for your dreams!” but what if Option 1 pays you an extra $50,000 over Option 2?)

Do you think about what your parents will say?

What other criteria can you use to make a big decision?

One thing we’ve ALL encountered is advice from others. Oh man, everyone loves to give advice. And most of it is bad! Ramit, take the job…you should be lucky Google wants you! Ramit, definitely start your own company…you can always go back to Google!

How do you decide amidst all these conflicting pieces of advice?

What if you make the wrong decision?

Before I tell you what I did, take a moment to ask yourself: What would you do?

How many of us are in this situation right now — faced with a decision and we don’t know how to decide? Maybe it’s about ending a relationship…or leaving a job…or even where to live.

I got a question from IWT reader JB, who asked: “What if I take the leap out of the high-paying, big-firm job and don’t succeed? What if I make a mistake?”

Here’s my response in another edition of ASK RAMIT:

Share your story in the comments below.

 

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34 Comments on "What if you make the leap…and fail?"

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Volker
Volker
3 years 2 months ago
Heya Ramit, you are right on multiple points here! I just quit a job of nearly 100k€ and joined a couple of friends in their little startup earning no money. And I am 43 years old and before that I was very risk averse. So what you just told us, is exactly what were the reasons for me to quit. What made me take the plunge? 1. I always can get back to cubicle country. Always! 2. In twenty years I wont be in the situation regretting not having bailed out of big corporate. So I jumped. And I like… Read more »
Mr. Legend
Mr. Legend
3 years 2 months ago
Except that you *can’t* always go back. I quit a job where I had literally written my own job description and chosen my own job title; when I decided to quit, the company said they would “welcome me back with open arms”; fast-forward 12 months later, when I asked for even an entry-level job back at my old company, the open arms were not forthcoming. I still have no regrets about quitting at the top of my game and I have learned a ton in the interim. In fact, it’s all working out, but I want to point out that… Read more »
Dale
3 years 2 months ago
I read a great brook recently by the Heath Brother called “Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work.” They have a nice formula for making better decisions. It’s called the WRAP formula: W – Widen Your Options. Don’t think of things as “this OR this.” This of ways you can do “This AND this.” In this case, could you work at Google and keep working on your company on the side? R – Reality test your assumptions. Ramit alluded to this in his response, but if you have this fear that you could never go back to… Read more »
Anca
Anca
3 years 2 months ago

“Don’t think of things as “this OR this.” This of ways you can do “This AND this.””

Just don’t fall into the trap of being paralyzed by having too many choices. The old “I want to do this…and this…and I don’t want to turn my back on this” and then you never do any of it.

Caitlin
3 years 2 months ago
Ramit, this video could not have come at a better time. My situation is a little different, because the job I left a month ago was a crappy one that still didn’t pay enough for me to be financially comfortable. Still, it was secure and a paycheck I could count on. I had my own entertainment business on the side, and their were enough big wins over there for me to know that if I devoted all of my time to the business, I might get incredible results. After thinking about it for way too long, I left the job… Read more »
Anne
Anne
3 years 2 months ago

Right, but what if you are NOT a top performer? I am pretty sure that if I leave my corporate job, I will never find anything similar at a similar wage. If I take the risk and fail, maybe I would have to accept any corporate job that I will not like either, for far less money.

BrianF
BrianF
3 years 2 months ago

@Anne, you may want to consider asking your current employer what their definition of a top performer is. Take that definition to heart, dominate so that you become the definition of a top performer. Problem solved.

Anca
Anca
3 years 2 months ago

You can handle failure. You’ll only end up friendless and living under a bridge if you let yourself. (Oh, and people telling you to stay where it’s safe are either projecting their own fear that they can’t handle failure, or they think they can’t handle it if something terrible happens to you.)

The best learning in life comes from mistakes. If you don’t think so, you might not have taken any risks ever.

Simon
3 years 2 months ago

Over time I have learnt one thing. I take the less travelled paths and it has always made the difference. Has the entreprenuerial journey been easy, definitely not. Tonnes of mistakes along the road! But the lesson has been time and again, rise up, dust myself, learn from my mistakes and try again!

When making such a decision I consider how happy I might bein my new undertaking or job and the worse that can happen. If I like the odds, I soldier on ahead!

Tracy
3 years 2 months ago
See I think your wrong in the fact that if you leave you can come back. I finished college with a dual major (math & computers) in my early 20s. Got married had a kid and down sized my job to work for my dad for several years while my son was little. Then my dad had enough and I entered the workforce again. Couldn’t find a darn thing, and I tried hard. Settled for a great part time job and stayed there till the job was let go after about 5 years. By that time I had a daughter… Read more »
Lisa
Lisa
3 years 2 months ago
I am 50 and I am less risk adverse than when my children lived at home. My husband and I worked in fairly good jobs that allowed us to raise 3 boys comfortably. As soon as my youngest left home, we invested everything we have, except our retirement accounts, in a rental property close to our home. we also rented out our large 4 bedroom, 2 bath home and moved into one of the 1 bedroom, 1 bath units to maximize profits so we can pay the property off completely before retirement. I would not have done this when the… Read more »
greg gardner
greg gardner
3 years 2 months ago

“People who don’t take risks usually make two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks usually make two big mistakes a year”

Kim
Kim
3 years 2 months ago

Thanks Greg. Boy, did I need to hear that. Especially today.

Betsey
Betsey
3 years 2 months ago
Ramit, As always, your advice is thoughtful and helpful. Before starting Dream Job a few weeks ago, I would not have thought about leaving my company of 11 years, but now I can open my mind to the possibilities. Yes, there is a huge risk to leaving a job where I have such a long history, but it is very freeing to think that I could find a better match to my knowledge, skills and interests than I have now. Any decision to leave has to be weighed against how it would effect other aspects of my life, other people… Read more »
Kim
Kim
3 years 2 months ago
Ok. Here goes: I work in a family business.The job I am doing within the company really is a bad fit for me. I have been doing writing, corporate training, and teaching belly dancing on the side. Up until very recently, I have been able to tell myself I can deal with doing what I am doing within the family company as long as I had my side interests to sustain me. But, lately that has not been enough. Add the family dynamic in, and I find myself living with massive amounts of stress. I have 3 degrees: Education, Dance… Read more »
Wiebke
Wiebke
3 years 2 months ago

Kids and other expenses- hahah! I know how you mean it 🙂

Zul
Zul
3 years 2 months ago
This hits spot on with my current situation. I graduated less than 2 years ago, and entered a company where, by luck, I was put in the driving seat of a project despite being a fresh graduate. It was hell at first with foreigners yelling at me left and right since I had no idea how to do my job. I stuck on and finished that project, making quite a tidy profit for my company. It was a contract employment, but they assured me that if another project sprung up, they’d hired me back (they then tanked, leaving all my… Read more »
Mia
Mia
3 years 2 months ago
What if I made wrong choice that ruined my life? I quit college (I was under scholarship that time, a shining star, loved by teachers) to start a family which I thought going to make me happy. Boy, I was so stupid as I thought money and career would never make me happy. It turns out it was the worst decision I’ve ever made. I’m divorced, broke, unemployed, lost my freedom and I had to let other people to take my lovely kids because I can’t afford to feed them. I gained weight, lost my motivation, depressed for years and… Read more »
stacey
stacey
3 years 2 months ago
MIa, perhaps that was the “right” decision at the time. How were you to know things would work out like this? You wanted that the most at the time. So, instead of thinking that that was the only moment of your life you could choose your destiny, think what decisions you could make now. What “right” decision could you make this week? Plus if you ruined your life, it wouldn’t have been by one decision, I doubt your life is ruined. You said money and career would never make you happy – well money and career alone – that’s means… Read more »
Mia
Mia
3 years 2 months ago

Thanks Stacey for your reply and helpful suggestions! I really appreciate it! Maybe I was just exaggerate my situation a little bit. Yes, I had ruined my past but it does not it ruined my entire life. I am now working towards my better future but it is just a slow progress because I’m still afraid of making decisions and stuck in ‘if only’ way of thinking.

Ranjan Jena
3 years 2 months ago

To add up a quote relating to your article content;

Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.

Jordan
Jordan
3 years 2 months ago
I’ll agree with Ranjan: it sounds simplistic, but a positive attitude can affect a lot. I won’t try to Monday morning quarterback any of the other commenters’ life stories and I feel bad for them, but the way in which you react to the situation will make a huge difference. Viktor Frankl’s situation in his book Man’s Search for Meaning is a perfect example of how something positive can come out of something horrible (the Holocaust). It was Frankl’s internal resolve/perspective/whatever that got him through it and made him successful later. Not to end on a morbid note, and certainly… Read more »
Rita
3 years 2 months ago
Hey Ramit, High Five, that’s exactly what i encourage and what i did. I left a 6 figure income in cubicle county and pursued yearning to leave a legacy (when i die) than leaving a job behind. I call it the hand-me-down script- you know, you’re born, get good grades for 13 years at school to get into a good college, get good grades at uni to for the promise of a good job – that promise is pretty empty – hence so many disgruntled employees . i should know – used to train them. SO this hand me down… Read more »
Sukhneet Singh
Sukhneet Singh
3 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the video. Of course I’ve got your email filtered already so I never miss the good stuff.

I actually put law school on pause to give a startup a go in March. It’s getting scarier now. Still, the deferred enrollment gives me the option to continue where I left off next year.

The Bezos Regret Framing works wonders. So many attorneys tell me they wish they took the same course. Very encouraging to hear the successful people in your field saying they wish they did what you did. =)

Michael
Michael
3 years 2 months ago
Funny you post this. Tuesday was my last day at a retail job (sorry, no Google for me) which, while teaching me a lot about what I don’t want to do and allowing me to purchase RBT and Earn1k, has sucked the soul out of me and degraded my social skills and relationships. I talked to several friends on RBT about whether I should quit or not. Sealed the deal. I put in my two weeks notice two days later. I realized something similar to what you did in college: 1) There will never be another time in my life… Read more »
Jeff Bernstein
Jeff Bernstein
3 years 2 months ago

I like this line from the video: “It never gets easier than now.”

A wise man told me, “Try it, it won’t kill you. And if it will kill you, lean into it.”

Ilana B.
Ilana B.
3 years 2 months ago
Time to up the nerd quotient. What is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything? Anyone who’s read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, knows that it’s 42. Not only that, if 42 doesn’t sound like the answer, then you’re probably asking the wrong question. After my 41st birthday, I started thinking about where I am in my life and where I’ll be on my 42nd birthday. Is what I’m doing the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything for me? No. Actually, it isn’t. I’ve been working on my side incomes and recently have been so busy… Read more »
Rose
Rose
3 years 2 months ago

Hi Ramit,

Thank you for sharing this video. Sometimes I just feel like I want to cry because I want to live a better life, but it seems like I’m not doing enough. Or maybe I need to look at my processes and see which part isn’t working, but anyways I’m just rambling. I finally got a prospect thanks to what I’ve learned on Earn1k, but I think I scared them with my price. Anyways, I’ll let you know what happens. Thanks again Ramit.

Jessica
Jessica
3 years 2 months ago

I took a HUGE gamble. I not only left the corporate world but made sure I couldn’t go back because 1 I’m kinda stubborn and 2 I was MISERABLE. I wanted to switch careers and I wanted to put full effort into the switch and the new career in entertainment. I took a few part time jobs all within this field and after a little over a year I have a full time job in video editing and I LOVE IT. It feels good to walk down the street with a smile on your face.

JustMe
JustMe
3 years 2 months ago

I’ve been researching editing this week as a dream job. Is there a way to contact you to ask a couple questions about your new career?

Sunday
3 years 2 months ago

Hi Ramit,
The fear of the unknown is always the bane of many that desire to do business. JB’s question reflects the mind of many marketers and you cannot really blame him for asking. However, your response couldn’t be more direct.

It is good to take risk but risk should be calculated. If risks are calculated well enough before any decision is taken then it becomes readily encouraging to take the necessary leap.

The above comment was left in kingged.com, where this post was shared.
Sunday – kingged.com contributor
http://www.kingged.com/what-if-you-make-the-leapand-fail/

JJ
JJ
3 years 2 months ago
I made the leap in 2007 when I was a grad student in Science. I had failed my qualifying exams and decided to switch to Finance. Looking in hindsight, the timing could not have been any worse. I enrolled in a MS in Finance program but could not find any work/internships in 2008-2009 when plenty of experienced professionals out of work for a long time. I regretted the decision but decided to own up to it. I finished my degree and took a year to land an entry level job. For a long time, I felt I had made the… Read more »
Yadgyu
Yadgyu
3 years 2 months ago
If you fail, no one is going to step in to help you. People will pray for you and tell you to stay positive, but no one is going to provide for you. That is the reality of life. If you fail, it will be all on you. No good wishes or pats on the back will put a dollar in your pocket or food in your belly. I would suggest that anyone bored with their day jobs take a stroll through the poor parts of town or the county. I have seen the desperation and sadness in the eyes… Read more »
Krystian
3 years 1 month ago

Thanks for great video Ramit.
To make a leap and have the ability to go back is a good advice. However, there are times when after you make a decision, it’s hard to go back. For example, I had a great job as software programmer. I made a leap and started my own business about 2 years ago. Now, it’s somewhat hard to go back… – I would say I have chosen the other way of my life and I love it 🙂

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