This morning as I was preparing to e-mail the audio file of a coaching session to a client I discovered that I had inadvertently left the program open, recording two hours of clatter and computer clicks.
As I struggled to delete the excess noise, I noted the parallel between the unhelpful sounds on the audio recording and the negative noise the average Joe Jobseeker contend with during his job search.
First, there is the voice inside Joe’s head that delivers a litany of critical messages guaranteed to reduce his confidence.
Then, there are the not-so-helpful comments, suggestions and questions from the peanut gallery, people who have an opinion about what to do although none of them have actually done it.
Finally, there is the seemingly endless stream of rejection from potential employers as Joe navigates the interview circuit.
It is it any wonder that Joe gets discouraged?
So how can you mitigate the effects of discouraging static? By deciding to tune out, turn off and take control of what you allow inside your head. You and only you can decide how much, if any, mental real estate you want to devote to critical, self-defeating messages.
Begin by acknowledging the tone of the messages you are communicating to yourself. Listen to what you tell yourself in the course of just a couple of hours. Is it true? Is it helpful? Would you say those things to your worst enemy? Take a moment to imagine what your job search would look like if your beliefs were different.
Just as you would never knowingly ingest rancid food, stop the daily diet of negative thinking.
Tune out the self-critical messages and incorporate a strong dose of inspiration into your routine. Athletes do it all the time. Ask anyone who is training to run the Big Sur Marathon.
Thinking negatively doesn’t cut it when have to put your feet on the pavement at 5 a.m. five days a week to get in a few hours of running before work. Athletes have to regularly refill their reservoir of inspiration in order to achieve their goals.
The truth is we all need to refill our stores of courage and hope when we are faced with a grueling task that requires seemingly herculean effort.
Turn off your mental critic. Theoretically, we are all perfect, in fact, none of us is. So cut yourself some slack. Sure, there were things you should’ve, could’ve and would’ve done had you known better. But you didn’t, so commit to not falling into the same hole twice and move on.
Take control. Commit to taking the one new action that you know will strongly impact your ability to achieve your goal. Agree to do more of something that you are already doing but that could be fine-tuned for better results. Decide to stop doing one
thing that is getting in the way of your success.
Commit to filling your mind with thoughts and ideas that lift you up. Subscribe to an inspirational website or read inspiring biographies of folks who have overcome great odds to become successful beyond their wildest dreams.
Associate with folks whose optimism meter is set higher than the average person’s. Drop the naysayers; nothing ever works out to their satisfaction, so don’t waste your energy trying to convince them that your experience will be different.
Learn a new skill or take up a hobby that puts you in touch with a different circle of friends. The bottom line is you decide what goes on in your head and ultimately, you define your success.
Mary Jeanne Vincent is a career expert and strategist with a private coaching practice in Monterey. She may be reached at 831.657.9151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.