When you're in the midst of a career crisis, it's hard to pull yourself back to see the big picture. We become so focused on the negative situation we're living through that we can't break out of our mental prison to see the silver lining of the situation and what actions to take to make things better. The whole scenario feels debilitating.
While I like to view myself as someone who can convey thoughts in written word. There are so many better thinkers and writers out there. Today, I thought today I'd share a little of their wisdom.
1) "It's Always Darkest Just Before the Dawn." - Thomas Fuller
Remember that no matter how bleak things can seem to be at the moment, eventually this, too, shall pass. I've been laid off twice in my life. I've had my dark moments when I truly wasn't sure if I was ever going to get an interview, let alone a job. Getting rejection emails or not hearing anything at all is akin to Chinese water torture. One drip at a time, those nagging feelings of self-doubt managed to creep into my head.
After what felt like an eternity, I started seeing some success. I got a few interviews and ultimately a good job. I can say with near certainty that most of you who are in transition, it will take you longer than you expected to get the job you'd hoped for. You'll be told "no" over and over and over again. Don't let this deter you. Understand that this happens to everyone, not just you. Also, understand that if you keep moving your feet, good things will happen to you. Don't give up, no matter how hopeless you feel.
2) "There is Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself." - Franklin Roosevelt
Franklin Roosevelt said this in his first inaugural address, when the country was in the depths of the Great Depression. Though things were bad economically, a big part of the country's problem was psychological. We'd won World War I and were riding the high tide of the Roaring Twenties when all of a sudden we got knocked on our butts. Nothing was going right for us. We started to become fearful of our future. Personal despair became common as the breadlines grew longer.
However, the country was as strong and capable as it ever was. It was fear that was holding us back. The same can be said for each of us. Whenever we want to do something different, take on a new challenge, or try a new career, a lot of us let fear get the better of us. I've heard people re-frame fear as an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real.
When we assume the worst case scenario is going to happen when we try something, we will never do it. We have to remember that things will almost never be anything close to what we imagine. More often than not, it will be much, much better. No one is going to laugh at you when you get up to speak. Your boss won't fire you if you disagree with them (so long as you're not being a jerk about it). And an employer won't withdraw their offer if you try to negotiate with them.
Don't let fear prevent you from achieving.
3) "Persistence Beats Resistance" - Unknown
There are times when we encounter a challenge that looks or feels impossible. It's here when we are faced with a choice: carry on or give up. Once the decision is made to go for it, the key is to keep at it until you're either mentally and physically exhausted or you have succeeded. As my basketball coach used to tell us, leave it all out on the court. Don't hold back. If there's still even a little fire left in you, keep going. That little extra might be all you need.
It reminds me of an illustration I saw years ago of two miners digging toward a deposit of diamonds. Neither were able to see the other, nor could see the diamonds. One miner was still digging. The other, only a few inches away from reaching his riches, gave up and was making his way back to the surface with his pick ax slung over his shoulder and his head down. He was frustrated, tired, and upset there were no diamonds to be found. He was only one more swing away, but he gave up too early and let resistance win.
Be persistent because many times it pays off. When you're looking for a new job, don't let hearing, "no," all the time keep you from continuing on. You simply do not know when the "yes" will come. One more "no" only means that you're one step closer to a "yes."
4) "If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail" - Benjamin Franklin
Preparation is the key to almost everything you try to do in your career. Without some sort of plan, you are just blindly doing things without a good reason as to why you're doing them. Whenever we coach a client, in our first conversation we ask them about what they've done in the past, why they did them, and what they want to do in the future. But knowing the goal is only part of it. There also has to be a plan to get there. Ideally, the plan should include several different routes to get to the same end point. Otherwise, your plan can become a straight jacket that limits your possibilities.
Beyond planning out your career, we also advise having a plan for each step.
In your interview, how do you plan to represent yourself to the employer? How are you going to show that you are the person they should hire instead of everyone else? What are the employer's needs and how can you address them? These are the things that you should plan to discuss. If you do this, you're way ahead of most of your competition who don't know enough about the company or the job to which they applied to give any outstanding answers when they are talking to the hiring manager.
When you're offered a job, how do you plan to negotiate? What things do you want to negotiate on? What reasons are you going to give? How will you try to persuade them? What concessions are you willing to make? This should be mapped out ahead of time, rather than winging it.
Finally, once you're in the job, plan out your day, your week, your year, and so on. Obviously, the more distant plans are likely to change due to the variables you might not have anticipated, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't plan things. It just means that there is a certain amount of uncertainty and flexibility built in the plan to change when needed.
5) "What Gets Measured, Gets Done" - Tom Peters
Tracking your work and holding yourself accountable for your action or inaction is pretty much the only way to make sure that you're on the right track. We strongly advise doing this when you're in the midst of a job search. Write down everything you did each day, how long you spent on it, and the return on this investment in time.
If you find that you're spending 90% of your time on internet job boards and have yet to get an interview after multiple weeks, maybe it's time to consider some other ideas. Perhaps you should try sending your resume directly to hiring managers through traditional mail. Maybe you could focus more on your networking efforts. It could be using LinkedIn to develop a wider network online and then meeting these new connections in person. Whatever it is, at least you're adding a new variable to test, because the old one hasn't been working. The great part of actually tracking your efforts is that you can see what works best and adjust your daily and weekly schedule according to the results. You should never be so stuck in your ways as to be unwilling to change.
6) "Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over, Expecting Different Results." - Albert Einstein
Speaking of change, too many of us think there is only one way to do things. One of the most hated phrases that managers hear is, "This is the way we've always done it." You know what happens to businesses who take this approach and refuse to change? They get replaced by a competitor that does it a better way.
Likewise, when a personal strategy is producing nothing but frustrating results. Don't hold onto it because it's comfortable. This mentality of resisting change is dooming you to repeated failures. Be willing to try other ideas, even if it's outside your comfort zone. If it's the difference between winning and losing, and you're unwilling to change, how much do you really want to win?
So, for the introvert who hates networking, do it anyway. You might be better at it than you think. If you've convinced yourself that you're only good at doing one particular job and now those jobs are not readily available, consider doing something different where your strengths and skills could be transferable. You don't have to be pigeon-holed. In this case, your choosing to be.
7) "Time is On My Side." - Jimmy Norman / The Rolling Stones
In this day and age, we often feel like the clock works against us. There's never enough time. We're always rushed. Because of this, the quality of our work suffers.
Here's the good news. It doesn't have to be this way.
Focus on the one or two most important things you have to do that day. Block out the time, preferably early in the day, for you to work on them. Also, remove any distractions so that you can concentrate. That means silencing your phone, turning off your email, closing your door, and letting people know that you need to focus. If you do this, you'll be amazed at how time is truly on your side.
Here's a secret that, as you get older, you learn. Multi-tasking is a big crock of horse manure. It's the most ineffective way to get anything accomplished in a timely manner with any degree of high quality.
Focusing on the most important thing to get done that day or week, however, will be a game changer for you. What used to take you several days, will now take you several hours instead because you didn't have all those starts and stops, or wasted time figuring out where you left off. When you're in the zone and putting all your energy on one important thing, rather than hopping back and forth from one thing to another, you'll actually find that you're accomplishing more than you thought you could.
8) "The Key To Getting Ahead is Getting Started." - Mark Twain
For a few years, I lived in the world of data analysis. I was a firm believer in data-driven decisions. And I still am. However, there's one problem with this, there comes a point when you need to make a decision and act on it. Otherwise you'll be suffering from "analysis paralysis" forever.
Do the best you can to have enough information to make an informed decision, but don't let it bog you down. Instead, give yourself a deadline for making a decision, gather your facts, consider your options, and once that deadline is reached, act based on what you know at that moment, realizing that things may change.
In a similar vein, when you encounter a big problem at work or in life, don't get overwhelmed with it. Just see what you can do in small chunks that will make things better and get you closer to a solution. Then act. As the old joke goes, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Mark Twain didn't write Huckleberry Finn all at once. He wrote it one letter at a time, one word at a time, one page at a time, and one chapter at a time. If he fretted about how big his project was in the beginning, he would never have started. He would have just fretted and given up.
9) "I Intend to Live Forever. So Far, So Good." - Steven Wright
Optimism will get you a lot further than pessimism. It drives you to do things and try things the pessimist would dismiss right away. Sometimes, those things might seem a little fool-hardy to your friends and family, but don't let this keep you from doing them.
So long as it doesn't harm you or anyone else, why not go for it?
Think about all the amazing things we take for granted today that came from the optimists in the world. We have electricity because Edison and Tesla believed it could be done. We have airplanes because the Wright Brothers were optimistic that their bicycle know-how could translate to flying vehicles. We have telephones because Alexander Graham Bell and his buddy Watson were sure they could make a voice transfer through a wire. I'm guessing every single one of these people had someone in their family whispering behind their back, "Why is he trying to make a fool out of our family?" Don't let the naysayers get you down. If you think you have a good idea, believe in yourself!
10) "Whether You Think You Can or Whether You Think You Can't, You're Right" - Henry Ford
Ultimately, we are guided by our thoughts. But you know what? Our thoughts are not us. They are what we've been told all our lives about what we can and cannot do by family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and bosses. They put limits on us.
But consider this: How successful are these people you've been listening to in their own life? Are they really that credible to tell you what you what you're able to do?
It's time we all realize that we are the captains of our own ships. We have the choice of following through on our thoughts or not. When that little voice in your head is telling you, "you can't do that," it's up to you whether or not to take its advice. Take a leap of faith in yourself and don't let that little voice push you around anymore!
About RockIt Career Consultation Services
At RockIt Career Consultation Services, our mission is to help you discover your true strengths and use these strengths to set your course to something more rewarding and exciting in your career.
We will guide you on what job or career best suits you and then help you market yourself through your resume, your networking strategies, your interview skills, and your negotiation to ensure that you are doing something you love and are maximizing your earning potential. Throughout, we will be there to keep you motivated and determined.
We'd love to help you launch your career and encourage you to learn more about the services we can provide you on your path to a more prosperous future. With our help, you will become the applicant every company wants to hire!