Monday, October 19, 2009

Where Do You Go When the Going Gets Tough?

A colleague asked me to write about the emotional aspects of a job search – “how to be emotionally up when you’re down.” For help, I turned to my wife, Camille, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Religious Science Practitioner (RScP). Camille has a much better feel for emotional issues than me. On a road trip last weekend, we took a crack at these issues. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore them.

The saying goes that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. There is no doubt that keeping positive in one’s job search in the current economic environment is tougher than ever: on-going negative stories in the media about unemployment; rejection – or silence – from potential employers; and the strong competition among other candidates.

When everything in our world is going well, it is easy to be positive and upbeat. But what happens when it looks as if your world is falling apart? The loss of a job is often equated as emotionally traumatic as the death of a loved one or a divorce.

What internal resources do you tap into to sustain and motivate yourself to remain positive? Where do you go inside yourself when faced with such emotional trauma? How do you tap into these resources?

These key resources are your feelings, beliefs and behaviors.

Do you actually believe you’ll find the job you want? Based on that conviction, do you feel excited about the work you know you’ll find? Do you carry that positive behavior throughout the day? Is your behavior congruent with your thoughts and feelings?

When new clients start their job search process, their feelings, beliefs and behaviors are typically strong and reflect positive intentions: “It won’t take long for me to find new work.” “I’m confident that my search will be different than my friends and former colleagues who have been unemployed for months.” “My job is to look for a job, so I will have a business-like approach and dress the part.” They often wear business attire to our meetings. As their search continues, and they are confronted with the negative aspects of the search, especially rejection and silence, they become less focused on their initial intentions. Their feelings and beliefs begin to suffer; their behaviors reflect diminishing intention. They begin to act like victims; they often get more casual, sometimes downright sloppy in the way they present for our meetings. Their behaviors reflect their attitudes.

And then there are those who continue to act and feel and think congruent with their initial intention of finding the work they desire. They remain positive and confident in their search and build momentum in their progress. They know that the right opportunity will come along. They continue a structured, focused effort in their search. They keep their appointments, they have progress to report, and they don’t show up in T-shirts and flip flops.

It requires conviction and commitment to get up every morning and send out more resumes, make more phone calls, knock on more doors; knowing all the while that it’s your vision and intention that will overcome the external negative influences in our world.

How do you keep that conviction and commitment? In face of major challenges, how do you hold on to your initial intention and vision? What resource do you tap into to sustain and motivate yourself to remain positive? Who is the you you’re bringing to your search?

Next week…Core beliefs.

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