The job search doesn’t have to be such a trying experience. Cancel the pity party, fill your days and focus on happiness first.
- Relive past wins.
- If you can’t get out of it, get into it.
- Visualize what you want.
- Anticipate and embrace change; Don’t be hijacked by it.
- Focus on strengths not weaknesses.
- Remember Nietszche: That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
Now, for the final installment, here are three more tips for keeping your game face on and ensuring you put your best foot forward as you move forth with your job search.
1. Choose your friends wisely.
There’s always room for one more at a pity party. And although the lure is attractive, you have to turn down the invitation. Misery does love company, but so does happiness. If you surround yourself with negative people you’ll be more negative. Conversely, if you connect regularly with people who have a positive outlook, you’ll find yourself smiling a lot more than you frown.
Which of your colleagues brighten your day? What friends exude joy, instead of exhaustion, on the phone?
By embracing your natural sense of optimism and can-do attribute and surrounding yourself with others with a similar outlook, you’ll find a way to make your job search productive and enjoyable.
On a recent trip to San Diego, I spent over an hour at the American Airlines baggage carousel waiting for my luggage to arrive from my flight from JFK. Sure, it was frustrating (especially since the flight had been delayed eight hours). One woman decided she was going to throw a pity party – and all 200 passengers were invited. She started to complain, loudly. She wasn’t happy being miserable by herself, so she worked really hard to recruit those around her – and several joined her to complain. Soon it became a mob. You could feel the tension and negative energy in the air and as each minute passed, it became more and more toxic. Although the lure was attractive, I knew I had to resist. It wasn’t going to make my luggage arrive any quicker – and it would have had a major impact on my demeanor for the coming days.
Spend some time thinking about your personal support system and ensure it is filled with people who will help you see the bright side of every situation.
Who are you hanging around with?
2. When you feel empty, give to others.
Out of a job? Volunteer. You can’t spend your entire day on the job- search process; you need a diversion. Nothing makes you realize how rich you are as contributing value to something about which you are passionate or working with those less fortunate. When you give, you get back a thousand times. Sure, giving money will make you feel good, but giving of your time, expertise and compassion will be far more beneficial to your attitude.
Volunteering is the perfect activity. It’s even been called “the ultimate interview.” You can choose to contribute your expertise to a cause – furthering your thought leadership – or take on a role that is 180 degrees away from your normal work activities – to give you a new perspective. In either case, you will find your efforts fulfilling. Poet Kahlil Gibran once said, “It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding.”
In addition to being a major attitude adjustment, volunteering has a positive impact on your job search as well. You get an opportunity to demonstrate your skills, collect interesting stories to discuss during a job interview and expand your network with the people you meet during your volunteer activities. These are the extra benefits that come with feeling good about yourself and your contributions.
Giving back is not only good for your community or society, it’s good for your positivity quotient and for your candidature.
How will you contribute to your community or society?
3. Keep happiness top-of-mind.
To be happy, you need to ” think happy” and know what things make you happy. One way to do this is to focus a little time every day exploring happiness and what it means to you. This idea comes from a fascinating woman I interviewed for the Reach Branding Club interview series. Her name is Gretchen Rubin, and she embarked on an adventure to understand what happiness is and how to get more of it. She suggests we can all benefit from being aware of what makes us happy and how we can bring more happiness into our lives.
It seems like we should all know what makes us happy and how to attract more of it into our lives. But do you?
Systematically thinking about happiness is not something we normally do; we are much more focused on the mundane activities of work and life.
Since my interview with Gretchen, I have been reflecting on what makes me happy by looking at everyday work activities and ranking them on a happiness scale. And from looking at the list, I learned three things about my workday that always make me happy:
- Working with people (brainstorming and collaborating)
- Creating new content (presentations, articles, curricula)
- Delegating activities that involve details to people who love details
It was really valuable for me to spend focused time thinking about happiness. Now, as you search for your next big role, you too can explore what makes you happy. It will be valuable to your current mood and helpful to deciding among different career opportunities that come your way. You can learn about Gretchen’s happiness project at http://www.happiness-project.com/
Ringling Bros. circus entrepreneur, P.T. Barnum, had it right when he said, “Many people prefer happiness to success. Happiness is success.”
What makes you happy, and how can you get more of it?