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I’ve heard a lot of people say that they aspire one day to be a writer, or a leader, or a performer, or an artist, or a business owner, or one of any number of seemingly attractive roles.
I’m all for aspirations, but there comes a time when the dreaming stops and the action starts.
It can be tempting to wait until you have the skills required to be elite before you start, but the reality is that you won’t develop the skills until you start.
Because writers write.
Have you ever been to a concert or sporting event and been jealous of those who sit in the special reserved seats?
You see them there, in the front row, with the most comfortable seats, the best views and the personal service. They’re high fiving the stars while you have to squint to work out what going on.
Don’t you just wish that you could swap places?
In life, it seems as though certain people sit in the reserved seats as well.
They get the best opportunities, the most acclaim and get to mingle with the high profile individuals in their fields and everyone else envies their position.
I spend a lot of time with people who are “between jobs.”
They may have been looking for work for a couple of weeks or in some cases, well over a year.
People in this situation (especially men) are extremely vulnerable to depression as they:
- Deal with the loss of identity from not having a steady job,
- Deal with the constant rejections from potential employers,
- Struggle to find a reason to get up in the morning,
- Tighten the belt financially,
- Live with the regrets of decisions that have led them to this point,
- Lose hope and wonder if anyone will ever give them a chance.
In the Resume Writing and Career Services Business that Karen and I operate, we are passionate about helping people in these situations to find meaningful work, but in the mean-time, there are some strategies that can help you to deal with depression when you’re unemployed and looking for a job.
It seems like an obvious question doesn’t it?
If you bang a piece of wood against a concrete wall, the wood will soon break apart.
But as I drove along our street the other day, I was reminded of an important principle.
I saw a tree growing next to a concrete path and over time, the roots of the tree had started to crack the concrete and break through.
Despite the concrete being obviously harder, the tree had won the battle through sheer persistence and slow, inexorable progress.
Sometimes in life it seems as though the challenges in front of us are too difficult to overcome.
I’m sure that you’ve heard of Murphy’s Law.
If anything can go wrong, it will.
And then there are a few other laws that have been added to the list over the years. Statements like:
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.
If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
Of course, we laugh at these statements.
But we also too often live by them.
I recently found a story about an unemployed man who applied for a janitor’s position at Microsoft quite a few years ago.
He was interviewed by HR and successfully passed all of the pre-requisite tests.
He was then asked for an email address so that the employment package could be sent through.
The man panicked and confessed to the HR Manager that he didn’t have an email address.
The manager responded that if he didn’t have an email address, then he virtually didn’t exist and couldn’t possibly work for a company like Microsoft.
The man left the interview distraught and broke.
I’ve seen people give up on their dream job because they didn’t get the first role that they applied for in that area.
I’ve seen people give up on a business idea because someone they respected said that it couldn’t be done.
I’ve seen people give up finding a church because the first one they went to didn’t feel right.
I’ve seen lots of people give up on losing weight because they dieted for a few days before reverting back to old habits.
And then I’ve seen others who been told no on multiple occasions but refused to give up.
Tony Robbins was rejected by 12 banks before finally getting the $1,200 personal loan that he needed to attend his first Jim Rohn seminar and going on to follow in his mentor’s footsteps, enabling him to inspire and motivate millions of people.
When I got home from work the other day, my four year-old daughter, Madison, came running up to me. She was very excited and proudly exclaimed, “I did the monkey bars, I did the monkey bars!”
After a proud fatherly cuddle, I asked her if she was scared when she did it because the monkey bars are so high off the ground.
She thought for a moment and responded, “No, I just looked up, not down.”
What a wonderfully profound statement from a four year-old.
When confronted with a challenge, instead of focusing on what could possibly go wrong, she focused on what she needed to do to achieve her goal.
It’s virtually impossible to play it safe and be successful at the same time.
A baseball player can’t hit a home run without risking striking out.
A basketball player can’t hit the winning shot on the final buzzer without risking missing (and losing).
A footballer who steps up to take his team’s penalty risks missing and looking like a fool.
A young man who proposes marriage risks rejection and heart-break.
A business that ventures into a new market risks failure and loss.
As does the woman who quits her secure job to start her own enterprise without the safety of sick leave and a nice quiet cubicle.
Mick Malthouse, a legend of AFL coaching here in Australia was recently appointed coach of the Carlton Football Club.
After coaching for almost three decades and with a remarkable track record of success, some were unsure as to whether or not he would get back into football after a year out of the game.
When he recently discussed his decision to return, he referred to a message that he has framed on his desk. It was written by his late brother-in-law who had just been told that he only had three weeks to live.
It simply says:
“Don’t you ever, ever let yourself get to a stage in your life where you think, I wish I had of, or worse still, why didn’t I?”
It’s a great message isn’t it?