It is not always an inevitable job search stage to find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, or even the afternoon, but it is very common– too common. I know exactly how this feels. When I was out of work going on 10 months, with four offers pending financial go-ahead for two months, I wondered what the point was. It was no longer about finding my next great opportunity to grow my career; it was about survival and saving face.
World-renowned New Thought minister Michael Beckwith propagates the idea that, “Pain pushes until the vision pulls.”
Unfortunately, many job seekers’ reality is that the pain of job search disappointment and frustration does not push them out of bed. In fact, it pushes them back down.
So if the pain is not effectively pushing you toward a solution to your job search situation, what do you do?
Create a new, inspiring, and energizing vision about what your ultimate career adventure could look like.
We have written many blogs about how spring symbolizes reinvention, and I share a throwback from our newsletter further below. We have offered a variety of tips, tricks, tactics, and techniques. While creating a vision may not seem like practical job search advice, and you may be wondering what kind of pay off the investment of time in this exercise offers you in relation to being in action. I PROMISE you that this exercise does not take a lot of time, and it will make all of your efforts more successful and effective.
Envision your future:
Simply create a vision of your career future that makes you want to dance. Use all of your senses to imagine moments where you are offered your dream job, working for your dream boss, being paid your dream salary, while at your dream location. Allow yourself to fully indulge in feeling that you just want to squeal with excitement; you just can’t contain your joy any longer. That opportunity you have been picturing, perhaps dismissing as something you’ll never have– imagine it is YOURS. What will you do first? Once you are done dancing, that is. Who will you tell? What will you buy or pay? What will feel the best to take care of first? Imagine yourself checking off the things on your list that you have removed from your “to-dos” because they were too costly or extravagant. Use all of your senses and imagination to picture doing those to-dos, making you want to squeal and dance all over again.
The power of imagination:
In Emotional Memory Management: Positive Control Over Your Memory, Joseph M. Carver, Ph.D., chronicles an experiment with basketball players to demonstrate that your mind cannot discern a real memory from an imagined one. This is what makes mental rehearsal a very popular and highly effective exercise for professional athletes to hone their performance when they are not physically training. It is also the reason this exercise has scientific merit in you job search to-do list.
A practical application of your vision:
Where does this activity fall on your list? First and frequently, do this exercise as often as needed, but certainly wake up and visualize your ultimate future first thing in the morning. When you hear those doubtful voices that will instruct you to be more realistic, say: “Thanks for sharing– now shut up. I’m visualizing, here.”
There is no, “What if this doesn’t happen?” There is only, “This is real and it’s what I’ve been waiting for my whole life!”
Some of us have bought into very dangerous beliefs that celebrating prematurely for something that could never happen is somehow harmful to us. As I mentioned in my throwback blog and in “Are You Martyring Your Dreams?” we have adopted a self-defeating paradigm. We believe that it is more painful to hope for something that never comes than to just live your life excepting that what you want will never be yours. This is what Vishen Lakhiani, founder of MindValley, calls a BRULE– a bullsh*t rule. How many of these rules are you living by? How many are stopping you from actually living the life you want?
I suppose this isn’t very different from the motivational and renewal blogs we have written during previous spring seasons. If you have not actually tried to envision the emotions that would come with realizing the utmost success in your profession, then allow yourself five minutes, even 17 seconds to experience that joy. If you notice a difference in how you feel, increase your investment of time. Then notice how many more of your efforts produce results that fall into alignment with that vision.
Rejoice! That is what we Christians do this time of year. Why does that seem so hard? It seems hard because it does not feel like what are supposed to be doing when our life does not resemble what we want. However, rejoicing in what can be and reveling in gratitude for your blessings is exactly what every sacred text, happiness expert, and success coach agree is the most effective way to turn around a slump.
We might consider it much more serious than a slump if we are experiencing physical and emotional pain, which continues to get worse as we consider our own powerlessness. This visualization exercise is something that is within your power to do, and while you may need practice at silencing the skeptical, perhaps even cynical, thoughts that our brain thinks are protecting us, you will experience a powerful, positive shift. The most beautiful thing about this shift is not just what occurs in your life as a result, but it is the formulation of a new belief that in our own minds is a tremendous power. We can learn to harness and apply this power to create a life by design, simply by creating a vision that excites us each waking day.
A sidebar: If your vision of your most ideal future has little semblance to what you are actually pursuing as work, it might be time to check out “5 signs that a Change is Necessary.”
To celebrate this theme of rebirth, here is a retrospective post in honor of my daughter’s sixth birthday, originally posted in April 2010:
I hope you will all excuse my delay in sending out the spring edition of the newsletter, but for me the subtitle of this issue is quite literal. My daughter, Daisy Eledora Huller, was born on Thursday, March 25th after four days of labor. I had hoped to get this newsletter out prior to her arrival, but now that I am on the flip side of such a surreal and miraculous experience, I am so glad I waited. My intention for this issue’s foreword was to relate my experience of preparing for childbirth to the preparation and anticipation of career transitioning. I had been taking classes, getting a ton of advice (mostly unsolicited), consulting with experts, setting goals, tracking my progress, monitoring results, assessing risk factors, reading up on everything from traditional wives’ tales to new trends, and following as many best practices as made sense for my life and my belief system.
However, those were just the things I could “control.” What was beyond my control frequently surfaced concern and even anxiety. There was so much to be excited about and yet so many known and unknown variables that were bound to impact the outcome of this experience, which is certainly THE most important experience of my life. As part of my preparation, I created a birth plan for natural childbirth (drug-free). I faced many skeptics, even those who love me dearly, but chose to surround myself with support and made a conscious effort to keep any thought opposing my plan at the surface, quickly replacing it with visualizations of the birth experience that I wanted. It was not always easy!
There was no way for me to know if what I feared would transpire or if everything would go in my favor. The best I could hope for, in spite of the experience itself, was that I would deliver a healthy baby. I believe some wanted me to be prepared for disappointment. I really don’t see much value in this, though. I was confident that should the uncontrollable variables occur, and there were definitely a few, I would keep faith that the outcome would be a healthy baby and the experience would be natural.
I had many reasons for wanting my experience to be this way, and none of them included that I could congratulate myself for enduring the pain, though I am very proud of myself for staying true to my plan in spite of a few factors that could have easily dissuaded me. I have a new appreciation of every mother regardless of how they brought their babies into the world. I also have a greater appreciation and respect for OUTCOMES– those unpredictable, often unexpectedly wonderful in ways we could not know, results that change our lives. Everything that has transpired over the last 10 months has taught me that staying present and empowered in life requires intention, but it also requires surrender.
Happy spring! Here’s to your new beginnings!