People often talk about the many advantages of having extensive or vast experience, whether in work or life. As it relates to career opportunities, you tend to be judged on the years of experience you have in specific or related fields.
The thought process is those with more experience are probably more valuable. They have been through the learning curve, trained on someone else’s dime, and are more prepared to navigate through the difficult decisions ahead. They understand the market, the industry. They understand the challenges, opportunities, and the contacts…..oh the contacts!
It’s hard to argue against the value of relevant experience. It certainly carries weight, but at what point do the years begin to work against you?
I had lunch with someone in my industry who has more than 3 times the experience I do, and I was amazed at how differently we perceived the opportunity and challenges in front of us. He saw very few opportunities and had a very narrow view of the future. He was a scarcity thinker – the business has changed, it’s not the way it used to be. We’re all going to starve!
He chalked this “knowledge” up to his tenure in the field.
So it begs the question, can experience act like a fog and slowly begin to “cloud” our true potential, the real opportunities in front of us? Does is make us less willing to take the necessary (albeit calculated) risks in order to achieve success? Maybe the secret is strategically surrounding your experience with people with fresh ideas?
What’s been your experience?