So, work isn’t going so well, huh? Maybe you’ve not been working for a while now? It’s a pretty hard place to be. Your head is filled with doubts, fuelled further with well-meaning but unsolicited advice from friends and relatives which clouds the issue yet more. With all these different thoughts and different choices, it is so easy to lose the sense of who you are. There is a little voice inside you that used to be so sure of itself, gradually getting trampled by the incessant noise….. however, even when things seem utterly hopeless, this little voice won’t go away.
“Paul, Paul…. Yes, you. Shut up and let me speak. Listen, you’ve done it before and you’ll do it again. Let’s work this out together mate, just you and me. Be realistic fella – you know what you have to do. Go easy on yourself, this happens to the best of us. Let me help you get back in control of your life again.”
That little voice is your spirit, the essence of who you are. The little chap, sitting by the bubbling stream, contentedly skimming stones, just keeping your life on an even keel. Well, that is how I imagine my spirit anyway….. The real question is, when times are tough in life (and it doesn’t get so much tougher than searching for a new job), how do you get in touch with you?
Compassion. Go easy on yourself. It’s not your fault. Are you supporting yourself as much as you could, or are you beating yourself up at every possible opportunity? Is your “inner conversation” the sort of chat that you would have with your best friend in a similar situation? If not, why not? The job search can be a long process, and you need yourself on your side.
Acceptance. Accept your reality. Accepting doesn’t mean giving up or giving in, it just means being aware of what is actually happening and making conscious choices about the way forward. Ask yourself, do you have the skills and experience you need for the roles for which you are applying? Analyse the outcomes of your interviews – what went well and what didn’t go so well? Be brutally honest with yourself, and you will come to some useful conclusions.
Meditation. Meditation helps to regulate a crucial brain wave called the alpha rhythm. This rhythm is thought to “turn down the volume” on distracting information and helps you to deal with the real issues. Tune into the real situation, rather than what you think is happening. Practicing deep breathing is a large part of the meditation process, allowing you to focus. Wow, important word. Focus.
Distraction. You can’t think about your job search all the time. Be fully present when you are playing with your kids, make sure you enjoy yourself when you are out with friends, throw yourself into doing some gardening, play a few hands of online poker, whatever floats your boat. In focussing fully on other tasks, you will refresh yourself. “Eureka” moments often come along when your mind is occupied with other things.
Visualization (Interviews). This works for me. Close your eyes and see yourself in the room, confidently answering the questions, building a solid rapport with your interviewers. You are meant to be there, and this is the first step to a new career. When you are waiting in reception before the interview, imagine yourself walking through the doors on the first day. It could happen. It is in your hands.
The S.T.O.P. Technique (Interviews). A great way to calm your nerves in an interview and focus on what is being asked, rather than the “winning” answers that you have swimming around in your head. Use this technique, and you will give a considered response every time. You only need to take one small breath – this is simple and effective.
S – Stop and take a moment
T – Take a breath, see if you can follow one full breath in and out
O – Observe what is happening? Look at the body language. Interpret their tone of voice. What is the interviewer asking you?
P – Proceed in with the answer that pops into your head first and elaborate on it
Active Listening (Interviews). Mindful listening is an art however it is very simple to learn. The trick is to allow your attention to rest only on what the interviewer is asking you, rather than allowing your mind to run all over the place and start providing an answer in your head before you have even heard the whole question. Everybody likes to feel heard and listened to, even interviewers!
These are techniques that work for me to keep myself “in the moment.”
What works for you?
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