Turn Career Lemon Experiences into Lemonade

There are times in my career that I said “yes” to an opportunity that should have been a firm “no.”

I didn’t.


In one instance, I thought it was what I wanted to do – it was a natural next step.

With another, I chose to chase the shiny object, the green, which turned out to be a temporary motivator but not a rewarding experience.

Life is full of opportunities, choices, and lessons.

Here are three lessons from my career about how to turn career lemon experiences into lemonade:

Pay Attention to Your Drivers. 

Don’t underestimate the power of your values. Know what brings you joy and a sense of fulfillment. 

No matter the position or organization that I worked for, I found a way to integrate learning and development into my roles. I used my giftedness in organizational leadership and my passion for continuous growth to facilitate others in becoming all they could be in their roles. 

That giftedness anchors my career today.


Have a general sense of your strengths – your innate abilities or capabilities developed because of formal education, training, or experience gained over time. 

When you focus and align your vocation to your strengths, it creates a win-win scenario for you and those you interface with within your role. 

Inevitably, being good at everything is not realistic so determine how to manage and mitigate weaknesses. That could include intentionally having persons on your team whose strengths complement your weaknesses and entrusting them to optimize their strengths.

Take Risks. 

Becoming all you can be requires growth, and that typically involves some degree of risk. 

You might engage in a few “frog” opportunities in your career, yet each provides learnings, including what to do and what not to do. 

When making a career move does not bring the joy and fulfillment you desire, take a no-fault approach — that is, this position, engaging with these stakeholders to achieve these objectives was not a good fit.  

In processing the experience, ask yourself –

  • What did I learn?
  • How did I make a difference?
  • What is the next great adventure before me that aligns with my values and strengths?

Life is full of opportunities, choices, and lessons. 

Be intentional. 

Release the weights that impede progress and walk with confidence into the fullness of an empowering career.

Are you ready to become the influential leader at the level you envision?  Then, contact me for a complimentary Discovery Consultation.

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport

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Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and leadership strategist. Her signature program, M3 LeadershipSM, prepares you to enhance and develop your self-awareness, embrace your inner strength, and lead with confidence, courage, and impact.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.