Resilience in Challenging Times: Planning Your Career 1
A Growth-focused Mindset On Career Planning
May 1, 2020
Let’s face it - now is a challenging time, especially if you are a new graduate. Millions of thoughts are racing through your mind: What jobs are out there? Do they fit my expectations (passions, salary)? Maybe I should apply for grad school?
Below is a self-guided coaching process with all the information and considerations, to prepare you for this journey. While some quick tips are included, it’s important to first have the right frame of mind. Doing so helps ensure your actions are intentional, versus simply taking action and going the wrong way.
So we’ll break this into 2 sections, both of which are equally important. The first section is around mindset. Read this first. Then we’ll delve into tips and strategies for the “how.”
Mindset: Overcoming the 4 Mental Blocks
Wouldn’t it be amazing if the magic sauce was instantly available to you? But that’s not reality. In reality, you’ll need to take a long pause and reflect. Otherwise, you’ll take misguided action and get frustrated.
So here’s some important areas for reflection before taking actions.
1. Adversity: Unfavorable External Forces
First, think outside yourself. Recognize that external forces are at play, and often things are outside your control. The job market is tough and does not have feelings. This requires the “what can I do” versus feelings of resentment, or self-doubt.
To deal with this adversity, here’s how to tackle it. First, envisioning yourself experiencing the adversity itself. It might not feel pleasant, but it’s a start. Then imagine the plan for responding to that adversity, with “SMART” plan and actions, which stands for “specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. When you break it down as such, the plan seems quite doable, and puts you at ease.
Next, imagine how you will overcome the adversity. This is where resilience comes into play. Resilience is the antithesis of adversity. Use that to your advantage. Be truthful to yourself, stating, “I know the cards are not stacked in my favor. But I will act to overcome that challenge.”
2. Uncertainty: Discomfort in Unknown
Uncertainty is one of the most uncomfortable feelings for us. Who doesn’t love to have control? But while we’d love to have it, there’s a degree of things we can’t predict. It’s time to focus on what actually can be controlled, and that is your values and personal actions.
A positive approach for facing uncertainty is to embrace uncertainty. Life is an adventure, and uncertainty is something that spices up your life. This doesn’t mean to purposely have no plan and have zero certainty. But when life throws uncertainty your way, take advantage of it.
Some of the most prominent, successful people in this world discovered their passions during times of uncertainty. In 1665, 23-year-old Isaac Newton retreated to his family estate of Woolsthorpe as a result of the Great Plague of London. He continued to work on mathematics problems he had started at Cambridge, which later helped to develop calculus, and was alleged to have observed an apple falling from a tree, which inspired his creation of the law of universal gravitation. This productive time at Woolsthorpe is now known as annus mirabilis, the year of wonders.
Uncertainty does not spell doom and gloom. It spells opportunity.
3. Feeling Overwhelmed: Reacting To Stressors
Let’s be honest - overall, there’s so much information out there. That feeling itself can be very debilitating. You might think that feeling this way is silly, and you shouldn’t feel that way. Nothing could be further from the truth! You’re incredible, and have my permission to be human.
This is the time to get back to the basics. Refocus on the big picture, and then break down your next steps into small tasks. Think globally and act locally. Then break it down to segments of time. When you make small wins, it’s worth celebrating, and then feeding off of that momentum.
A few questions to transform from react to pro act:
- What is my perception of the situation?
- What other perceptions can I adopt?
- What strengths of mine can help navigate this experience?
- What resources will I use, to enable me to get through this?
- How can I practice relaxation?
4. Avoiding Acting: Fearing Rejection
It never feels pleasant to not be considered for a job. Because of that, we fear rejection. What happens when we have such fear?
It leads to inaction and anxiety. Similar to uncertainty, it’s important to break down the process. Also recognize that everyone gets “rejected” and reframe your thinking from “I could be rejected” to “They may have found someone who’s amazing, and I’ll focus my efforts on what’s next.” This mindset is more conducive to your well-being, and helps you to take action.
Remind yourself of all the hard work you have done following the previous 3 steps:
- You have a vision;
- You know your important values;
- You know your conscious choice;
- You know your strength;
- You know how to use available resources;
- You have a plan;
- You can also relax and get ready for the next steps.
I hope you now feel more confident and at ease, and know that such mental state will help you to connect with people in a more relaxed and fulfilling way. As you remove these outside and inside blocks, you will see more possibilities and feel empowered to explore and pursue a career meaningful and fulfilling to you.