A lot of people do not follow step five to happiness, asking for help, because they assume that the reasons they are not able to land the job that they want after making a concerted effort are beyond their control, or worse, that the problem is them. In other words, they feel beyond help. This is a dangerous and wildly inaccurate perspective, because it can lead to hopelessness and depression.
There has been a trend in the past year on LinkedIn I have been watching with concern. Against personal branding best practices, people are pouring their heart out about their despair in their status updates, as comments on other viral status updates, or even calling out people that they blame for their situation.
The advice that can be most damaging is that it is a numbers game. By the time someone has gone seeking advice online, they have usually already exhausted themselves replying to anything and everything for which they could possibly be a fit.
To hear that they just have to sustain that somehow can be very daunting. And, I do not think I need to repeat the definition of insanity.
What they really need to hear is that some of their activities are going to produce really great results, and when they discover what that is they do not have to spend nearly as much time and effort getting those results.
To be clear, the results you want to see in your job transition of course are interviews, but not just any interviews. Interviews are a big expenditure of our effort and energy. To do them right you have to do a lot of research, practicing and mentally practicing, making yourself look and feel professional, and then there is the adrenaline needed to just travel there and get through the interview. Then, of course, there is the energy that you spend after the interview wondering how you did, when you will hear something, when the appropriate time to follow up is, do you even want this opportunity, did they like you… On and on.
While momentum in your job transition does look like multiple viable opportunities in play at the same time, the key is “viable.” Judiciously give time and energy for opportunities that are a good fit for you and you for them.
Backing up a few steps, other results that indicate that you are doing the right activities, are introductions to other people relevant to your goals, whether they be in a target company or not. Even one introduction to someone who is well-connected can lead to multiple high-quality leads, if you can teach them how to develop those leads for you.
That is the other key – not only do you have to do the right activities, but you have to do them in the right way.
Though many people do not know what the right activities are and what the right way to engage and execute is, anyone can learn them. It is also true that this can differ from person-to-person based on individual goals, challenges, and strengths.
You can discover these on your own, which means instituting a good activity tracking system that also tracks your results, evaluating that on a regular basis, and experimenting with and tweaking your activities.
I estimate that if you were disciplined with inputting your activities, strong with data analysis, and bold enough to try various activities, that with some trial and error, you could be much more productive and efficient by week five or six.
If you do not have five or six weeks for trial and error, you do not consider yourself disciplined, strong in analysis, or bold by nature, but you are coachable, you can be more productive and efficient in half the time by engaging a career coach like me who has the systems, tools, expertise, and a strong track record of results.
Besides the pragmatics of your activities and what you do, there is also another how that must be addressed, because some people are doing the right activities, but who they are does not inspire the action of others. I’m not trying to say that people are being wrong, but what I am saying is that some people are not being their full, complete selves. Before you invest in a coach, you have to find one with whom you can be completely open and vulnerable, otherwise your investment could be in vain. A coach worthy of your investment will be able to identify and promptly, compassionately share with you when you are not thinking or acting in your highest good. Furthermore, besides tools and systems to help you and your activities, they will also offer tools and systems to help you heal and restore so you show up as a person that you would hire.
So, while you know you are doing the right things in the right ways from the right frame of mind when you have multiple viable opportunities in play, the key is to getting there is not to continue activities at a high volume for the sake of activity.
If you have come to an unfortunate and inaccurate conclusion based on lack of results that you are the problem, please have a free consultation with me. You are actually whole, complete, and perfect by nature, though you may have been taught and believe otherwise. You do enough, you have enough, and you are enough. You may need some help accepting that, or you may not have answered the call to adventure that is true to you.
Success and happiness is yours for the taking.
This is the final part of my six-part series. If you have missed previous entries please see steps one, two, three, four, and five.
Nothing feels better than when you are facing a challenge or trying to achieve something by taking action. But does taking any old action make a difference? Or does it have to be the right one? The answer is they are both right.
You may have of heard of a phenomenon called “analysis paralysis.” That is when you think through all of your actions so carefully that you scare yourself out of taking that action. Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum where you act before you think and then your actions can actually have negative consequences and put you further away from your goal. There are so many benefits to being in action, however, there is such a thing as a wrong action, and if you are uncertain what the right action is, the best first action is to ask for help.
There is a right and a wrong way to ask for help. The wrong way is to obligate anyone to help you. Depending on the volume of help that you need, you may also use the wrong medium, and that is a more difficult thing to understand. Everyone has their own preferences about communication. Some people in the professional world would rather you not find them on Facebook to ask them for help. Keeping that in mind, you might be starting to see why there’s so much to consider and some people spend so much time in consideration that they do not act. Let me go back to the benefits of action.
When you act, you let the world know that you are serious about what you want. It is not always true, but most commonly people do not receive the help that they need and ask for because they have not inspired people to believe that they will follow through and make them look good. When you think about it, most of what we do all day, every day is to make ourselves look good, or make someone else look bad. Hopefully, we do not spend as much time doing the latter, but if you have been in a CYA corporate environment, you know that making other people look bad is sometimes how you survive. It is an awful existence, and nobody needs to spend their days that way, because they have options. However, these types of environments can do a lot to diminish your belief in better things.
That is when people get stuck, like my mom. That was one of the major reasons this line of work resonated so strongly with me. I get to help people renew their hope and get into companies that have more nurturing conditions where they can thrive. There is also the benefit of pride. There is so much that can happen in a job search that can make you feel bad. When you take action, you feel like you are doing something to make your situation better and that feeling can develop into greater confidence and self-worth. These are two things you need in order to convince an employer to hire you. However, when you take action and have high volumes with your results, it can actually have the opposite effect and make you feel worse.
There are five different categories of action that you can take that will move you toward greater opportunity. Any given day you can decide that you are up to tackle one of these kinds of activities, or you can do all five in one day and really feel accomplished. The key to this, just like anything, is balance – do not rely on any one kind of activity too heavily; they all need your attention and action.
You need to have systems in place to track your activities and you need to actually input those activities in order to see where you can make improvements and get better results.
Before you even ask for help, you need to understand who you are asking, what their experience and expertise is, and what kinds of things they have going on that you can provide value for. You may even be able to discern how this person prefers to be contacted based on what they say or share. If there are several options, pick the one with the least volume. Other things we can research include potential careers, positions, and companies. Find out what a day in the life of someone whose footsteps you want to follow in is like. This research does not have to be purely online, in fact, the more you get away from your computer, the better. Head to the library and read a biography. Attend a professional organizations event and come with questions.
Asking questions is a deceivingly simple action, but actually doubles as massive action, which is the next type of action.
This could really be any action that requires you to have courage and be bold. While it is recommended that you make research the step before this action to make sure that your action is as strategic and effective as possible, this is something that you want to do at least weekly. For most people this means picking up the phone. The action should scare you and excite you at the same time. Not only is it intended to help you make quantum leaps toward your intended goal, but it is also intended to expand your comfort zone and test yourself. If the phone just seems way too scary, then pick an action that isn’t as scary and build up to the phone. For instance, send someone a direct message through social media. I would advise against sending an email, even if it is something that you find to be uncomfortable, simply because it is such a non-urgent form of communication, and some people like short emails while others want you to tell a compelling story. It is too easy to spend a lot of time crafting an email, get no response, and make that mean that you are not worthy of a response. If the phone is easy for you, do something in person, or whereas you might feel comfortable reaching out to a director or VP, reach out to a C-level executive.
Before you take action, set your intention. Know and visualize clearly the outcome that you want. Determine that it will happen. If you need to, remind yourself of all of the great value that you have the potential to offer.
It may help you to practice what you were going to say, and you can also over-practice what you were going to say. It does not really matter what words you use as much as it matters where are you are coming from when you speak. When you come from a place of high confidence and intention for the highest good, the right words tend to naturally follow, and they flow with powerful heart-felt inspiration that leads people to know you are serious and want to take action on your behalf.
Do something to help someone in your network without the expectation that it will be returned. This could be making an introduction for someone else, sharing a resource, sending relevant news or articles, or letting people know about an event. It could also be a random act of kindness. Volunteering is absolutely one of the best ways to satisfy this action. You may think that your volunteering has to have something to do with your profession, but, in fact it does not. However, I will say that the better volunteering opportunities are the ones that enable you to interact with people and work on a team. Perhaps you can even be the one that organizes a community event. If you do this, then your massive action can actually be combined by having a conversation with someone there about your goal. Just make sure that the conversation is actually satisfying that action- what you do for others is the number one agenda.
Take Care of You
Some may argue that YOU should come before nurturing your network, just as they teach you on the airplane to put the mask on yourself before you help other people. If that resonates as true for you, then do that. I did not put this item last because it is the least important. I simply put it last because I’m planning your week, most people use Friday as a day for personal things, and if you are doing one thing per day, Thursday would be the better day to nurture your network. However, it is worth noting that you can evaluate your own cycles of high and low energy to determine when you do different types of action. For instance, massive action requires high energy. Maybe you have the highest energy on Friday. I have actually had more personal success reaching and engaging VIPs on Fridays.
Taking care of yourself can look like doing yoga, watching your favorite show, having tea or a drink with a friend, taking a nap, playing an instrument, coloring, seeing a concert, calling your best friend far away… I think you get it. It could really be anything that makes you feel alive.
We used to recommend number five as a reward, but I learned from Gretchen Rubin that rewards are more effective than reinforcing positive habits when they are tied to the goal itself. So, if you seek to reward yourself for a week of great action, perhaps you can reward yourself with a nice pair of dress shoes for interviews, or invest in a personal brand touch up with us. You could reward yourself by getting a ticket to a high profile event or conference. There are things you can do that cost no money at all. A great way to come up with this type of reward is to think about what your ideal job could offer to your life, and sample that in some way. For instance, if what you are aspiring to have by landing a new job is more time with your kids, reward yourself by going on an adventure or playing a game with your kids. This type of reinforcement will produce good feeling hormones in your body and train your brain to condition you for even more action. In other words, implementing a reward system will help you form better habits.
It is unfortunate that so many people do not reach out for help from someone like me because they know that they have been making very strong efforts, so they conclude that I do not have the results that they want, or there are external conditions that they cannot control. Unfortunately, they are destined to stay stuck. The ones who actually do change their situations are the ones that recognize that they need to do something differently; I learned specifically what the most effective different things to do are. If you are unsure, ask. You can even ask me.
If you want to know if you have been doing something wrong, take action and have a free consultation with me.
As the new administration decides where to make cuts and where to allocate funding, heated debates continue on both sides of the political spectrum. Don’t worry, as usual, this post is not political. (I personally find that many of the issues that need a resolution would be better served if politics were left out of those said issues.) I am much more interested in co-creating meaningful solutions to significant problems than I am finding more ways to separate myself from my fellow citizens.
The intention of this post is to open a discussion on what is a popular approach to alleviating many of society’s woes, teaching people to fish.
I do not mean literally. Though, I know from watching all the shows about Alaska and people living off of the grid that survival literally means catching fish for some. I am talking about proverbial fish, your ability to take care yourself and your family.
I really do not want to discuss whether people need government handouts, whether they abuse them, and who loses when that happens. Let’s just focus on the real challenges and viable solutions to helping people become self-reliant and empowered in their own survival, and then we can eventually move on to happiness.
Someone in my Facebook community was pleading with people to stop complaining about this healthcare issue, and to just go get a better job that pays better benefits.
Raise your hand if you think this is so easy. (I imagine many, if not most, hands raised.)
Raise your hand if you happen to love your work, feel you have found your calling, and can now not imagine doing anything else. (I imagine very few hands are raised, but those that are belong to people who would be doing a disservice to the world to get a new job simply because it has better benefits.)
So, that’s challenge #1 with teaching people to fish: The fish are small
Some people have careers that just are not associated with great benefits and high paychecks, like social service and teaching. These people know how to fish in that they have jobs, their jobs are necessary, and for the most part they work hard in spite of not being paid as well as other equally valuable professions.
Possible self-managed solution: Supplemental income, aka the “side hustle”
Yes, this would require people to invest time outside of their already full-time jobs. This means potentially they would have to take time away from their families. If these income-producing activities, however, were related to interests, hobbies, or causes that were already important to them, carving out time would feel less like a sacrifice and more like an investment. Then it is really just a matter of making sure that these activities actually produce income, which usually means finding the right teacher and/or system.
Some, but not all of these activities may require an upfront investment. Examples include home-based administrative services, real estate investing (bird-dogging and wholesaling require no up front money, and where I live there is an organization that has monthly meetings where you can get educated and find a mentor for FREE!), fitness coach, selling crafts, beauty products, clothes, hand bags, wine, and most anything else you can imagine.
I have walked this walk, and can tell you that while many of these opportunities preach being able to make a good amount in a little bit of time, it takes a significant investment of time to get your systems up and running, and investing money in tools or training can accelerate the income production lifecycle, but it is not necessary.
Challenge #2: No proximity to water (jobs)
With the evolution from an industrial age to an information age, some professions will die, and if the hubs of those professions do not move into the new age swiftly enough, large employers fail to create new jobs for people dependent on those jobs.
Possible self-managed solution: Online training and remote work
In many counties in many states there are programs that will fully or partially cover training for people who qualify. Qualifying usually just means that you have a basic level of intelligence and aptitude to learn the new skills and that you are willing to fill out paper work, attend meetings, and find or pick the appropriate institution.
What if the government cuts these programs? We are lucky enough to live in the age of crowdfunding. I have walked this walk, too. I raised $5K to build a prototype for a job search mobile game. 25 people in my inner circle and 51 complete strangers helped me fund this project. It took a concerted effort, but I was truly humbled and very pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support.
As long as there is a need for that skill, be it a trade or a professional skill, then the challenge that potentially remains is the next one.
Challenge #3: Inefficient tools or inability to understand how to make or use tools
There is a reason I’ve been business for over ten years, and for that same reason my mentors have been doing this twice as long. Not everyone is an effective writer, and even if you are an effective writer, when the subject matter is yourself, it is very challenging to understand how you could make yourself look good to the people who you feel have your fate in their hands. Furthermore, résumés have a lot of rules and are meant to be very concise. Writing using short business speak is a whole different skill set compared to writing long form for comprehension. What separates the best résumé writers in the world from the rest is the ability to concisely, clearly, and powerfully convey what makes a person unique – the softer qualities, but in hard business terms.
Possible self-managed solution: Self-teaching
Assuming you do not have the resources to invest in engaging a professional like myself who can create master-crafted tools for you, which will run you up to four figures if you include a LinkedIn profile, there are plenty of resources out there that will teach you how to craft your own branded content. We have the best: http://epiccareering.com/diy-content-builder/
There are plenty of FREE guides, as well, but I can only stand behind my own. Yes, YouTube is a great free DIY resource, just be wary of the advice you take. You can trust our channel, which has had over 45,000 views and is chock full of free trainings on cover letters, networking, résumés, and more. We also have some great motivational playlists.
Challenge #4: Knowing locations, times of day, the right bait, which fish are edible, how to clean, cook, store, etc.
Having effective tools like branded résumés and LinkedIn profiles are great, if they are seen, but the statistics are against being able to be found, seen and considered when you apply for jobs online. That leaves a big “what then?” question. Then, once you are being considered by a company, you have to know how to keep yourself at the front of a pack you cannot even see to secure an offer, and then negotiate an offer that works with your lifestyle so that you can actually sustain your life.
You can actually get the DIY tools above PLUS training in the activities that get the best results, forming good habits around those activities, interviewing to get the offer, and negotiating the optimal offer as a partner to your employer, PLUS many other bonuses by investing just $151 more. If that is still outside of your means, our previous posts below do not give you all of our tricks and tips, but they should give you some really great techniques to get your JoMo (Job Momentum) kickstarted. Feel free to explore the 140+ LinkedIn posts and blog posts available on a wide range of subjects.
Challenge #5: They’ve been taught it’s too hard and they are no good at it
We have written many blog posts about how fundamental beliefs can go completely unnoticed as they make decisions for us that limit our future. I agree with Marisa Peer’s assertion that the major reason and cause of suffering worldwide is actually the easy to form, hard to break (without hypnosis) belief that you are not enough. Additionally, our meaning-making brains translate criticism very harshly. We can absolutely be our own worst enemy.
If you cannot relate, then it would be hard for you to understand how the effort to change can seem futile, as though destiny shunned you and you are bound to fail, not matter what, so why try. You are lucky that you do not have to contend with such self-deprecating thoughts.
Positive thinking has failed many people who have tried. That is because the thoughts are just a symptom of a belief system that can be reversed, but not without tricks and a regimen.
I continue to unravel a lifetime of self-limiting beliefs, so that I can allow myself to accept a better position in life. It has taken many teachers, tools, and tricks. It has meant constantly, as in several times daily, checking in on my mindfulness state, interrupting bad patterns and replacing them with better ones.
I have invested tens of thousands of dollars, and I will continue to make this investment until I stop breathing. I love learning new hacks for success and wholeness, and I love teaching them to you. I find this world fascinating, and my coaching effectiveness has evolved exponentially because of what I have discovered. However, I had to understand the science behind it before I could find a credible means of change, and that took significant time and research.
Possible self-managed solution: Daily personal development/self-help
Some people have claimed that hypnosis was a cure-all for them, but that does cost money, and what if it doesn’t work for you?
At least once a day, feed yourself awareness of your greater potential. First, read The Miracle Morning, as it will help you understand the benefits and overcome some of the challenges of making self-care a priority every day. I can also point you to Mel Robbins, who easily explains some of the neuroscience behind why we stop ourselves from creating meaningful change. Ultimately, your goal is to form a fundamental belief that you CAN fish. In fact, you can be a master fisherman or woman! In my house, there is no can’t; only I don’t know how yet.
Most of these solutions require a person to make an additional investment of time/money. The reality is for some that there is no additional time and there is no additional money. For some, it is just really challenging to shift priorities and they do not see the way out yet, but I have had clients working 80+ hours with kids at home who some weeks did not have ANY extra to give. They were educated, smart, and being taking for granted and underpaid for their work. For this, I wish there were an organization that could put a company on a public probation of sorts. If the government was to interfere by imposing sanctions on executive pay, I wish there were a way to raise awareness without repercussions for workers and then a way to apply social pressure to change the systems and policies that allow talented, hard-working people to be psychologically abused and trapped.
I am very interested in hearing your challenges and solutions. Please share them with us.
The problems show up as symptoms that cause frustration or pain, however, what’s not so easy to identify is the root cause. It is not for lack of trying, and it is not a lack of intelligence either.
When you struggle to find a new job, your insecurities tend to manifest in the strongest ways. They lead you to believe that you are the problem, and make you question if you are deserving of something better, or if something better even exists for you.
Sometimes insecurities manifest as cynicism about people and opportunity. You may start to feel like other people are just too shortsighted to understand how great you could be, or you could feel like business leaders are too focused on numbers to appreciate the person that you are. While that can be true, and you may have seen evidence in your past, I can assure you:
You are not the problem.
You deserve an opportunity that enables you to use your talents, apply your passion, and earn a great living.
That opportunity does indeed exist.
There are people out there who would appreciate the value that you offer, and would enable your success.
Plenty of great business leaders understand that their greatest asset is their people.
When your mindset is dominated by your insecurities, it is naturally challenging to see things the way they really are; you cannot be objective.
The good news is that the problems can be solved, and the symptoms can be relieved, but first we have to identify and “treat” the correct root cause(s).
On January 27th I will be holding a free webinar to divulge the top symptoms people experience that cause pain and frustration during their job search, as well as the most likely root causes. Furthermore, I will be sharing how we “treat” those root causes to alleviate the symptoms and fortify your job search to produce great momentum.
Momentum is the symptom that occurs when you have a healthy job search, and the result of momentum is a sense of empowerment and control over your career destiny. When you have JoMo (Job Momentum), you emanate confidence, attract even MORE opportunities, inspire even MORE job offers, and then the problem becomes choosing which opportunity represents your best chance at fulfillment in your career AND your life. (We also have solutions for that!)
Join us Friday, January 27th and we will help you identify the root cause of your job search pain and present the solution that enables you to land your dream job.
Emma reading the newspaper by Diego Sevilla Ruiz of Flickr
Is it really possible to switch industries? Can anyone land at their dream job? As a career coach, I have seen many job seekers limit what is truly possible in their careers simply because they believed common misconceptions. Not only do common misperceptions or myths hold job seekers back, but they can be detrimental in the long run. Think of the prolonged job searches, feeling trapped at a job you are disengaged from, and how your health can suffer because of stress. By uncovering and debunking some of the most common job search myths, your job search can soar to heights you never imagined.
Myth #1: You do not need a cover letter
Are cover letters a requirement? Many employers require a cover letter, but think of them as the key to getting directly in front of a hiring manager. A cover letter demonstrates an interest in the company, explains your skills, and covers what is not included in your résumé. It is an introduction to a hiring manager that highlights your accomplishments, accompanies your résumé, and it is your chance to make your case for an interview. In fact, a cover letter is read before your résumé and often determines if a hiring manager will take the time to read your résumé. A well-written cover letter is tailored to a specific company, grabs the attention of a hiring manager, and beckons him or her to take immediate action.
Myth #2: Changing careers is impossible
Jennifer Ghazzouli was a bench chemist for the Philadelphia Police Department. She wanted more from her job and switched careers. She is now in recruiting and leads global hiring strategy for QVC. Jennifer was approached early in her career about becoming a recruiter and was told by others that recruiting is sales. She initially balked at the idea. However, Jennifer knew that she was not happy as a bench chemist. When she talked to her friends, they shared insights and ultimately the job lead.
Changing careers was one of the top frustrations of the many job seekers we asked. They find it is challenging to enter a new industry without the industry experience the job appears to require. A career change requires more work than changing employers, but it is not an impossible task. Like Jennifer, many of the people who successfully broke into a new industry do so through their network. In fact, I saw this happening as a recruiter. A position that called for a specific industry experience would go to someone who was able to promote transferable skills and experience as value-adds. Branding in these cases was just as responsible as networking. In terms of transitioning, research the new industry by looking at employers, asking questions of those already in the industry, and volunteering. Hard skills can be transferred from one career to another. Additionally, soft skills also play a huge role in your career. Unlike hard skills, a good grasp of soft skills is required in any industry. Like changing an employer, consider what makes you happy in your career and why you want to transition to a new industry.
Myth #3: The job of your dreams is not viable
Jack Morrison of SAP America never doubted his chances of success. Unfortunately, most people somewhere along the way are told and believe that success is not possible for them; that they are not worthy to receive what they really want, and/or that it is better to be accepted, and to not rock the boat. So many people settle for a job that pays the bills. Settling for a job you are not passionate about is a recipe for disengagement. Employee disengagement is an epidemic at 70%, costing US companies $450 billion each year, and costing individuals the chance to thrive, be fulfilled and well-paid. Just like with changing careers, research is king when it comes to landing your dream job. Make a list of companies that fit 80% of your criteria and begin finding and reaching out to contacts within those companies. Brian Quinn dreamed of being a rock star from a very young age and never gave up on his dream career. The path was not easy, but he worked hard to fulfill his calling and found success.
Myth #4: Do not leave your job without having another one waiting
It is always better to have a new job waiting before you quit. Having a job makes it easier to negotiate for a higher salary and you avoid unemployment bias. However, you may not always have the luxury of searching for a job while employed. Also, consider your happiness if you are employed at a job you dislike. If the job is stressful enough that you want to leave immediately, take your financial situation into account. If you have savings to get by for a little while, plan your job search out, and even consider the help of a career coach. Evaluate the costs to your life and potentially to your wallet by staying stuck versus the investment you make in being able to take control of your life. Think about being able to land at a company where you can thrive and be paid well. That is what we help job seekers obtain!
Myth #5: Employment is a one-way street
The job seekers who feel that they are at an employer’s mercy may be stuck in a cycle of disappointment in their job search. Their confidence is gone and they start to believe something is wrong with them, and they must take whatever they can get. In these instances, it is their tools and tactics that need adjustment, not who they are or what they want. The end result of putting yourself at the mercy of an employer is landing an awful job. It does not have to be this way. Just as an employer is making sure you are a good fit at an interview, you are doing the same. You owe it to yourself and your happiness to accept a job at an employer who will keep you engaged and fulfilled. Ask questions at your interview, discover their mission, and research them beforehand. Additionally, your number one weapon against being at an employer’s mercy is momentum, which we help job seekers generate. Momentum is having several offers in play, while employers bid over you- much like an auction. Instead hoping that you are hired by an employer, the employer hopes that they can persuade you to work for them. That is the power of job momentum!
Job seeker misconceptions or myths can prolong a job search and frustrate employees who want to make major career changes. Worse, these mistaken beliefs can cause job seekers to doubt themselves, to give up on their job searches, and to reach a place of disappointment and desperation. Often job search methods and tools are the problem, not the job seeker. By clearing away these misconceptions we hope that job seekers will reject these self-limiting beliefs and realize what is possible in their job search.
What common job search myths would you add to this list?
Luke Skywalker and his first lightsaber by Tom Simpson of Flickr
Jack Shipley is a real-life Job Search Jedi. In my interview, he shares how he was able to master The Force and land not one, but three dream jobs. Jack often compares himself to Luke Skywalker. Perhaps you are like Luke, a young Jedi in your job search who is ready to master The Force. The Force is energy that is accessed depending on how we perceive the world and ourselves. There is negative energy and positive energy. By using positive energy, you are capable of doing superhuman feats and accomplishing things you never thought possible. According to Wikipedia, The Force is a metaphysical and ubiquitous power in a fictional universe. There are quantum physicists who purport an equally powerful, equally accessible force, coined “The Field,” by Lynne McTaggart. It is an evolution of Einstein’s “Theory of Everything,” or unified field theory. Your attitude can change how you view the world, setbacks, and how others view you. By mastering The Force, you will gain inner wisdom (intuition), strength, resilience, faith, and confidence. The Force has the power to MAKE SOMETHING GOOD happen for you and for others.
How do you view your most recent or current job search? Are you confident that you will land quickly? Do you feel like you have power over your fate? In Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke has lost his entire family to the Empire. He could have stayed home and wallowed in his sorrow. Instead he chose to go with Obi-Wan and master The Force to create positive change in his life and those around him. By mastering The Force, Luke was able to save the rebels from the Empire and ultimately saved the galaxy. By using The Force in your own job search, you will completely alter your outcome. Instead of settling for the first opportunity that comes your way, you will have several hiring managers eager to interview you, and even have multiple job offers in play. As I mentioned earlier, Jack is our own Job Search Jedi. He mastered The Force and completely turned around his job search.
Jack is a former client and then consultant to Epic Careering, and advisor for Accelerfate, a job search mobile game being developed by JoMo Rising, Karen’s other company. He was also a guest on our podcast, Tales from the Flipside, real-life accounts of successful job transitions in spite of tremendous challenges. Jack is a long-time gamer who currently works as a producer and game designer for Terrorweed! Games, a video games design studio. Jack and the studio are currently working on Fallout: Lonestar, a standalone story based on the game engine from Fallout 4.
Jack was a lot like Luke in A New Hope. He was unfamiliar with The Force and was afraid to master the power within. He knew had to master The Force if he was going to be a full-fledged Job Search Jedi, but it took guidance and coaching from Karen, his Obi-Wan, to help him discover the new way of thinking he needed to adopt access to The Force. Jack imparted a few nuggets of job search wisdom and mastering The Force in my interview with him.
Angela: How Has tapping into “The Force” changed your life?
Jack: Once you feel that positive energy for the first time… that success brought about by personal momentum and simply trying something scary and new… it’s extremely comforting, not only because you realize, “I can do this,” but also because what was once unfamiliar has now been experienced. It’s not unknown anymore and the fear all humans associate with that starts to subside.
As I find myself ready to enter a new transition, I find myself far more confident. I already know what to expect. I know the challenges ahead and I am aware they can be met and overcome. I am empowered and prepared, and that’s self-confidence gained through “The Force.”
Angela: How did you view your job search before you tapped into “The Force”?
Jack: It was scary.
Searching for a job was like Luke trying to understand The Force without a blast helmet over his eyes. (Star Wars: A New Hope) My understanding of how to look for a job was woefully out-of-date. I tried to use old methods that, frankly, made my search far more complicated than it had to be.
Angela: How did your view change AFTER using “The Force”?
Jack: To continue the metaphor; Obi-Wan puts a blast helmet over Luke’s head and tells him to “use The Force” to block the blaster bolts. That’s what Karen did for me. She took away all the “noise” from my old way of doing things and let me try things with a new perspective.
I may have just suggested that Karen was my Obi-Wan…
Angela: What were your initial thoughts when you made the decision to implement Karen’s advice? For example, you had constant difficulties in your job search and someone tells you it is possible to land offers with their help. Were you initially skeptical? Or did you take her advice without reservations?
Jack [Referencing Luke’s first use of The Force]:
”But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight?”
“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them. Stretch out with your feelings!”
I was Luke. Karen gave me all these new ideas and initially I rebelled. I wasn’t comfortable with some of the things she wanted me to do (like calling my network). She asked me to trust her, to try and put aside my old way of thinking and to make an attempt. When I succeeded, that’s when I could really feel “The Force.”
Angela: What advice would you give others job-seekers who want to tap into their own “Force”?
Jack: If this is new to you, if you’ve never done a job search quite like this before, I would urge you to put aside your fears and give it a try. It’s remarkably easy to do and once you have your first success you’ll see it’s actually rather fun!
“Let go, Luke!”
Mastering The Force to become a Job Search Jedi
1. Build your self-confidence and enthusiasm. If you believe you’re going to succeed you will succeed. The reverse is true. If you believe you’re going to fail, you will fail. As Jack said, once he mastered The Force and found his self-confidence, he was able to make major changes to how he approached his job search. He was no longer afraid to reach out to his network, and he went from an outdated way of approaching his job search to landing multiple jobs. After being out of work for a while, he was able to resume his career in full force.
2. Step out of your comfort zone. Stepping out of your comfort zone is directly related to self-confidence and positive energy. Saying you’re going to make a change isn’t enough without commitment. To quote best-selling author Gretchen Rubin from her speech at the PA Women’s Conference, “Every choice is an opportunity to make the wrong choice. Choose once and put it on autopilot.” Making that first decision and committing is taking a step out of your comfort zone. You may initially scoff at the advice, but getting uncomfortable is the only way you will grow. A large part of you may feel like Han Solo, who didn’t believe and merely called The Force luck. After some initial fear, Jack chose to master The Force and found great success.
3. Mastering The Force as a Job Search Jedi will open multiple doors. It is the ability to have several job offers in play, being called in for multiple interviews, and landing quickly. We refer to this as job momentum, or JoMo. Believing it is possible to achieve JoMo requires having faith in your abilities. Much like when Luke heard Obi-Wan telling him to “use The Force,” and stopped relying on what he could immediately see. He shut off the guiding system for the lasers on his fighter craft, and used The Force to guide the missiles into the Death Star’s weak point, saving the day.
Are you ready to start or continue your job-seeking adventure? Are you ready to master The Force as a Job Search Jedi? Perhaps you are like Luke at the beginning of A New Hope. Your heroic journey is starting and you are learning to use The Force. By mastering The Force you will become the master of your fate and save the world. This means landing the job you really want and being a hero to yourself, your family, and your community.
Photo courtesy of ram reddy – “Celebrate the New Begining | 2009” (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).
The title of this article is among the many maxims that I have begun to recite to my daughters in the quest to set them up for success. While I’ll take full credit for making this a “thing” in our household, the concept is not really original. You can find this advice among ancient Hindu scriptures, woven into Iroquois culture, in the bible, and at any personal and professional transformation seminar.
I often speak to real estate investors at REIAs, or Real Estate Investment Associations. At these meetings I discovered a few investors with an extremely positive mindset. They believed in the phrase, “Celebrate All Wins.” The phrase comes directly from Than Merrill, the CEO of FortuneBuilders, one of North America’s largest real estate education companies. “Celebrate All Wins” recognizes building a business isn’t easy, and it is important to always take a moment to celebrate victories and positive achievements. Every time those achievements are reflected upon it creates a positive reinforcement loop that helps build momentum. The beauty of this mindset is that it can be applied to every aspect of life, including your quest to elevate your career.
Do you take the time to celebrate the little victories in your life? Forming this habit means celebrating your victories all of the time. Start by celebrating victories at night, then at night and in the morning, then three times a day, and then whenever you think about it. It will lead to being in a grateful and successful mindset MOST of the time. Reflecting on positive outcomes is an important counter-balance to negative emotions. Studies reveal that people are often more likely to remember bad life experiences over good experiences.
I’m sure that in you own job search you can relate to this. You’re more likely to recall those days where it seemed like nothing went your way. You may have had a hard time gathering references, or perhaps you botched a crucial interview. Too much of a focus on negative outcomes can cause our attitudes to change for the worst, and impede our personal progress. Slowly the thought, “I’m having a hard time finding work,” can turn into “I’ll never find a job.” By celebrating the little victories, you can empower yourself in your job search. This empowerment leads to JoMo, or Job Momentum. It is going beyond simply looking for job opportunities. JoMo is having several viable opportunities in play at the same time. It is the benefit of having choice, once again feeling empowered, desirable, and having negotiation leverage. JoMo comes from capitalizing on the achievements you celebrated during your job search.
Let’s start with some common goals and tasks. Make a note of why they should be celebrated:
-You achieved your goal of gathering 200 meaningful professional connections on LinkedIn. Many users on LinkedIn only set up a few dozen connections, or barely visit the site at all. If you’re actively maintaining your profile, and are taking the time to add professional connections, you’re far ahead of the curve.
-You found ten contacts in various target companies, who you can research. You take it a step further by researching them, sending them an introduction, and invitation to speak about how you can help their company. Then, even having five conversations and identifying two job opportunities among these contacts would be huge. You used your skills to get in the door for two viable opportunities.
-You had a goal to send out four highly-targeted résumés and custom cover letters for the week and you did it. Researching a company and crafting a résumé suited to that company takes time. A lot of people blast out the same résumé to multiple employers without bothering to customize them. You stood above the competition by learning all about your potential employer sent them a personalized résumé. In my professional opinion, job seekers need one effectively branded résumé aimed at their ideal employer, and a custom written cover letter that follows our “secret recipe.”
-One of your network contacts came through with a job lead. In the past you simply put these leads on the “to-do list” and never got around to investigating them. This time you didn’t let that lead go by the wayside. The biggest network in the world won’t do you any good if you never act upon the information you’re given. Taking the time to investigate a lead is a big step forward.
-You took the time to reconnect with a few old professional friends via personal messages and added them to your network. Both professional and personal friendships can be neglected over the years. Reconnecting with old friends can be a euphoric experience. Getting those old connections into your job network? It is nothing short of awesome as your network grows a little larger. When you’ve let your network go stale you may feel like recharging it is daunting, but it doesn’t take long. Everyone understands the tendency to let life get in the way of friendships. Small gestures make big differences and you can see momentum grow very fast with your past personal network, which will give you good energy to tackle your future professional network.
-If you had prior job rejections, you made it a point to get feedback, so you’ll know where to improve in the future. It can be a humbling experience to ask why you were rejected. The majority of job seekers will never inquire about their rejection and may make the same mistake again. Learning where you went wrong in the hiring process is a huge achievement. I hear many job seekers complain that they ask for feedback, but get something generic, something they believe is a lie, or feel as though the real feedback is being withheld. All of this could be true, but it could also be energy-sucking speculation. Congratulate yourself for making the effort—remember—it’s the small victories that we have to look for and celebrate.
You get to choose how you celebrate, but some ideas include dancing, treating yourself to YOU time, making a small celebratory purchase, getting to watch your favorite show, upgrading your plain coffee to a peppermint mocha, or taking a bubble bath. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you allow yourself to revel in your sense of accomplishment and FEEL the sensations associated with it.
Keeping track of the numerous little victories in your job search can have a positive and sustainable snowballing effect. Imagine this: All of the job search achievements you keep track of are a fist-sized snowball. Because it is so small it is very difficult to push. At the start you have to get down on your hands and knees to keep the snowball moving. Despite the difficulties, you refuse to give up. When you discover another achievement you keep the ball rolling. As you keep going gradually the snowball grows larger and it is easier to push. Before long, that snowball is the size of a boulder. These are all of the achievements you’ve counted and celebrated. You can actually stand back and marvel at how well the task you’ve set out to do is progressing. Keeping that momentum going no longer means getting down on your hands and knees, now it only takes a gentle push.
Instead of looking at the future tasks with dread, you’ll remember your victories and vigorously tackle your next job opportunity. Keeping the achievements you’ve accomplished in mind, you’re ready to take your job search to the next level. You have a sense of purpose, you know your foundations are strong, and you know you’re going above and beyond the average job seeker. Where discouragement has stopped others, you see nothing but opportunity. Every day is a new day filled with numerous little victories. Adding grit, or sheer determination, to your outlook on life can also enhance your job search. In my article, “Want Job Search Glory? Got Grit?” I describe how having grit can help you overcome challenges and help land you a great job.
What are some of the little victories you celebrate to create momentum in your job search?
Whitney Houston’s official music video for ‘Greatest Love Of All’. Click to listen to Whitney Houston on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/WhitneyHSpotify?IQid=WhitneyHGLO As featured on Whitney: The Greatest Hits.
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