Today’s guest blog is by Helene Cho, Career and Life Coach, Consultant, Author of Hamster on the Wheel; Cultivating Life Work Balance
“If you only focus on the golden egg and neglect the goose who is laying it, there will be no golden eggs.”
Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (paraphrased).
Looking for a job is often the hardest job you have ever had. For most people, having to be “on” during networking and interviewing activities constantly takes a toll. Dealing with the ambiguity of the job search process, the rejections, and the bad news in the media can also be challenging.
One way to look at your job search is that essentially, whenever you interact with someone whether it’s in networking or interviewing situations, what you are “giving” that person is your energy. So if your energy is genuinely positive, vibrant, and peaceful, you will get a more positive response no matter where you go. Think about the times when you walk away from talking with someone and say to yourself “Boy, she has great energy! I really like being around her.”
Of course, I’m sure you have experienced being around people who are chronically negative and you feel “drained” after spending time with them. Which candidate would you hire? Which person would you be more willing to help and refer to someone? The rub is that when we are looking for a job, we often don’t feel good about ourselves. Our self esteem tends to go down since a lot of people judge our self worth by our job and the salary we make.
What is the best way to stay positive?
What is the best way to take care of the Goose (you) so that you get the Golden Egg (the job)?
I recommend looking at Self Care in four interdependent categories: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual. Everyone handles stress differently and has different needs however, here are some common things you can do to nurture yourself through a challenging time of your life:
- Take the time to exercise regularly. Develop a consistent schedule whether it’s going for a walk, run or to the gym first thing in the morning. Creating our own structure is critical to your job search success.
- Exercise with someone to get your social needs met as well as stay accountable
- Eat nutritious food. Minimize emotional eating.
- Get the right amount of rest. Anxiety can interfere with sleep. Depression can lead to too much sleep. Make sure you are getting enough sleep but not sleeping excessively.
- Be aware of your self talk. A large percentage of our thoughts tend to be negative (more than 90% according to some studies.)
Our thoughts (if we believe them) trigger certain feelings and emotions. For example, if you think “I’ve been out of the job market for too long. Companies will not want to hire me” chances are good that you will feel fear, panic, maybe sadness. How will those emotions help you to stay positive and motivated?
Thoughts by themselves are not the problem. If we are aware of the negative thoughts but do not accept or believe them, there is no problem. Replace a negative thought or belief with a positive one. For example, “I am not good at interviewing” to “I can practice a lot and do my very best job.”
- You are human so give yourself a break. If you feel sad, depressed, anxious, or whatever else, don’t resist. That will just keep it stuck. Let yourself experience the emotions in your body by breathing into them. They will pass by themselves if you accept whatever is.
- Beware of depression. While it’s common to feel sad during a job search, if you find that you are not able to function due to lasting depression, it may be a good idea to go to your doctor. For more read “Dealing with Depression During Your Job Search”.
- Lean on your support network: Talk to friends, be a part of a job search support group, seek help from career coaches and counselors. Feeling isolated is one of the worst things in a job search.
- Meditate: Studies prove that by doing some type of meditation, our stress level goes down. Whether it is yoga, sit down meditation, prayer or spending time quietly in nature, do what feeds your spirit on a regular basis.
- Read inspirational books (examples: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, What Color is Your Parachute? 60 Seconds and You Are Hired. The Power of Now)
You will come through this job search process. You may or may not see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. Taking good care of yourself by using some of the suggestions above or your own ways is the key to staying motivated and active. You deserve it!