My friend and colleague Kathy Simmons from Netshare asks a basic question about attitude and the job search at the Netshare blog. Her audience is executives seeking to network with other executives about their careers, and one of the challenges they face is putting on a positive persona to the world when you're not getting the leads and interviews you want.
They're executives. They spend their days making decisions, and are seeking positions where they will be paid large salaries to know how to accomplish their tasks. To suffer from a negative attitude is to prove you don't have what it takes.
"How is your attitude affecting your career or job search?
Many people I speak with are coping with uncertainty on a daily basis. Some
people view the future as full of opportunity while others struggle with a
sense that their best years are past. It's a choice that all of us get to make
every day of our lives."
That word uncertainty is the big one. For a group of people who make decisions, uncertainty is weakness. And weakness is the kiss of death in a job interview (at least in our minds). So how do you get out of it, as an executive, as an owner, as a salesperson?
You cultivate an attitude of open learning, and you look at babies.
Start with the latter.
I don't know what it is about babies, but adults of both genders can benefit from watching babies. Their stress levels go down, their willingless to work with people goes up, and it's a lot harder to feel down on yourself watching them. So watch the clip, laugh, and then move on to step #2.
Admit You're Doing It Wrong:
We don't need to go into Sigmund Freud territory here, but your ego is stopping you from learning. By definition, you only know what you know, and anything you don't know is a threat to your self-esteem. To prevent these threats, your brain has a series of filters that prevent you from learning. These are the creative blocks you hear about from writers, musicians, artists, and yes, even business executives. To break out of them, you first have to give yourself the freedom of knowing that you're not perfect. That you don't know everything. And that you need to learn.
1) Take A Notepad.
2) Write: I Don't Know How To Do ________. Fill in the blank with the objective you're not achieving.
3) Look at the words, say them out loud, and admit to yourself, that you don't know what you need to do.
It sounds corny, doesn't it. Writing something like this down. But it has a purpose. You're announcing to yourself that it's okay to learn. You're making yourself feel a little silly, which makes you self-conscious, which brings down your mental barriers because you're admitting you're vulnerable. What does this accomplish? It gives your subconscious the ability to being working on the problem! You've made yourself feel better (babies), admitted you're ready to learn (notepad), and your brain can and will do the rest.
All too often, we set goals for ourself in standards of behavior that have are purely ego-driven. Shaking free from their restraints is as simple as admitting that it's okay to feel foolish, because we're being foolish.
So try it. Watch the baby clip. Admit you're lost. Then go out and get your job.