The greatest opponent we face is often between our ears. It’s the voice inside our heads that tells us we can or can’t do something. It’s the running commentary to our lives that either empowers, but more often than not (particularly if left unchecked) disempowers. The job market is personal (it happens to us and not the company we work for), unforgiving and on occasion can feel like pushing treacle uphill.
Staying in the game for long enough is one of the main things that determines success in the job market. The bumps along the road are just that – bumps. Interview situations can be particularly challenging. For example, if we come unstuck by one question it’s easy for our inner dialogue to kick in and tell us we’re no good, even though every question from there on in we could have handled with relative ease.
It pays to be an observer of yourself in such a situation, which depersonalises the experience. Indeed, from my own experience with public speaking, I’ve found accessing my ‘peripheral vision’ to be extremely powerful in calming the nerves, quietening down the self-talk and staying in the moment.
Self-regard and self-worth help us to show up in the face of rejection. What you make rejection mean is up to you. Rejection seen as a step on the road to the right job is very different to rejection interpreted as ‘I’m no good’. Rejection delivers the same experience, but the interpretation of that experience can deliver very different outcomes. A human trait is to attach meaning to everything, and this happens in an instant. It’s all in the processing – how we decide to read any given situation and what meaning we choose to attach. One way to think of rejection is as a gift. If you don’t want that gift you can give it back – it’s up to you whether you allow it in. In between a situation and our response is an opportunity for intervention, which is where emotional intelligence and being in the moment comes in.
Taking personal responsibility for your job search doesn’t mean taking things personally. It’s about being fine with what does or doesn’t happen on any given day and being responsible for consistent and diligent action. No excuses, and no blaming things on others!
Having balance in life is extremely important too. In the job market, working longer and harder rarely leads to better results. Rio 2016 is a perfect example of this. The best athletes in the world know that rest is just as important as training. Knowing when you’re ‘switched on’ and ‘switched off’ is critical in all walks of life. Creating emotional space to breathe when we’re switched off, leads to creative ideas!
Employers make hiring decisions on emotion and then justify these decisions later with logic. Influencing an employer’s experience of you at interview directly influences their ‘gut feel’ about you, and the decision they’ll ultimately make. This starts with preparation and turning up with your authentic self – you have to be you (people will know if you’re not being you) as everyone else is taken!
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