Yes, it may sound like a bit of a cliché, but the mirror is your best starting point. First things first, using a military analogy, I can provide you with all the cool gadgets and gear, the best toys available but, if you don’t know basic soldiering, all that cool stuff is for show and not much GO. In other words, if you don’t know the basics, the other stuff isn’t of much use, and you can’t get more basic than working on the one aspect you can absolutely influence – you.
On the surface these things sound lightweight and flimsy. However, I find that three traits are the foundation of all your efforts. Sadly, during the last few years there are many who’ve been beaten down, whether they know it or not, and need to regain their footing in order to resume their forward momentum. So where to start; here’s what I’m talking about:
Belief in yourself and self-assurance is critical. Can you, as an extension confidently express to a potential employer that what you have to offer is of benefit to a company or organization? If you don’t possess this belief in yourself, it’s hard to convince someone else of it.
Persistence is one aspect that makes the difference between reaching your goals and almost getting there. When you get knocked down you must be able to shake it off and get back up – for as many times and as long as it takes. Does this describe you? I mean really, do you feel this way?
These first two will determine how able you are to engage in the third. Be honest with yourself, because in order to gain a favorable outcome you can’t simply rely on good timing and dumb luck. When it’s necessary, can you step beyond your comfort zone and do what is uncomfortable, what is new or different? As with any endeavor to do or create something new, to make changes, innovation and adaptation are absolutely necessary, especially when an environment is in a state of flux. Here’s another secret; things are always changing anyway, are you keeping up with the changes? Whether or not we are able to admit it, most people stubbornly cling to what they know and what has worked in the past, almost certainly under different circumstances. Change and fear of the unknown scares many people but it wasn’t always like this. When we were young we didn’t have any problems embracing new things, but we grow more reluctant as we mature. After all, we did learn to read and write; a few skinned knees didn’t prevent us from learning how to ride a bike, did it?
So if you think this blog entry is insultingly basic and rudimentary, guess again. During my headhunting career I’ve associated and spoken with, attracted, recruited, represented and placed the top 20 percentile of professionals in various business sectors and different professional levels. If there is one set of traits they all have in common, it is the three I’ve just described, and it’s from those that everything else springs.
Our self image is a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, we are who we think we are in large part; we reach the expectations we set for ourselves. So if you think you’re just a number you’ll be treated like one. As many who have become set in their ways – if your way isn’t working, resolve to make some changes or stay right where you are. Remaining in neutral means stagnation, deterioration and rot. It’s not necessary to be a risk taker and since when did trying something new constitute a “risk”? So what, there’s risk of what -- being told no, or getting a disapproving look from someone? If your tried and true efforts haven’t gotten you positive results, then you’re already being told no anyway. For your own sake, and for the sake of others who might depend on you, commit to taking some small steps from the place which you’ve convinced yourself is safe, and in time as you get more comfortable, reach a little further for a different result. Or, stay right where you are, it’s your choice.