"It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’" – Ralph Waldo Emerson

When job hunting one tends to run into quite a bit of rejection, which can lead to the notion of, “I’m such a loser. Why do I even try to do ANYTHING?” Listen, Eeyore. You can do lots of great things. I have so much faith in the great things you can accomplish that I’m going to issue you a challenge. During your job search I challenge you to do one thing you think cannot do or absolutely hate. If you can triumph over something that has kicked your self-confidence into the corner then you can land that dream job.

What started this notion for me was when I was facing some difficult challenges at work last summer. I just wasn’t thriving with the company I was working for due to reasons I won’t go into on this blog, so, unfortunately, I was dealing with a lot of tough emotions. I was pretty down in the dumps and needed a way to gain some confidence back into my life.

So, I decided to take up running. In order to give you some understanding on how much I hate running, it ranks right behind racism and homophobia as things I despise most in this world. For years I told myself I couldn’t run. My body wasn’t built for it. I didn’t have the stamina. Why bother? There are plenty of other ways to get some exercise. One day I randomly told myself I could do it and maintain it is a way of life. None of this, “I ran for one day so cross that off my Bucket List.” stuff. Was I going to run every day in hopes of completing a marathon? No. There’s a better chance of me going back to school to become an astrophysicist than becoming a marathon runner. My goal was to run; for however long my body allowed, multiples a week.

And, I started. And, it was awful. I walked more than I ran, but I still ran. Every time I would go out I would run a little bit farther. I kept running through the fall right until the ground had frozen over at the start of winter. I did it. I had reached a goal I never thought I’d make. I also found a new job that got me out of the unhappy situation I was in. Maybe it was just a random coincidence, but I also feel that inner-confidence and contentment tends to lead to outward change.

I don’t know if my job happiness hinges on the coming of the Harvest Moon, but at my then current job over the summer I was running into similar issues and politics I had run into in the past. My confidence started to pack its bags and write its Dear John letter. I couldn’t let it leave again, so I decided to add-on to my challenge of running. While I had picked my running “regiment” again once the weather had thawed, I still didn’t have the best endurance.

My normal parade route went from my rented house, down a gravel road to the corner and back. I still was doing a lot of walking between running stints. On a motivated day I could run to the corner without stopping. That was such a feat in my mind that I allowed myself to walk the entire way back instead of my jogging/walking combo. My new goal was to run to the corner and back to my house without stopping. The next time I went running I made all the way around without stopping. The aftermath left my calves stiff for two days, but I can still say I did it. I have to say this was not a long-term goal. I’ve only run to the corner and back twice. However, still . . . an accomplishment is an accomplishment.

Whatever you choose doesn’t have to be monumental. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to make red velvet cake. Or, you want to organize all of your kitchen cabinets. Whatever you choose doesn’t have to be something you share with others. There is that old adage that if you say it out loud than you’re more apt to do it. I sometimes feel that if you say it out loud you’re more apt to feel foolish if it doesn’t work out. The point is this is YOUR goal, so it’s YOUR business. You can do it. Just remember: Even if you don’t believe you can get it done, there will always be one person who thinks you can. Me.

Positive Thought of the Day:

“If there is tomorrow when we’re not together there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh

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"Trying is the first step to failure." – Homer Simpson

Job hunting is a perpetual ego-kicking machine.

It doesn’t matter how many gold stars you received in school. Or, how many times your picture went up on the Employee of the Month wall. Unless you’re extremely lucky you’re bound to suffer through the sting of rejection at some point in your job search. Even the most talented, qualified, and experienced job seekers are told “no” sometimes.

Hopefully you have a strong sense of self, a healthy dose of self-confidence, and supportive people in your life. Rejection can still suck even if you’re armed with an arsenal of all three. It can shake us to the very core and cause us to question why we are even putting ourselves out there in the first place. We tell ourselves, “What’s the point? I might as well stay at my lousy job. At least it pays the bills.”

But, rejection does not have to be a job hunting death sentence. How does one pull themselves up by their proverbial boot straps?

I’m a big fan of lists. So, Vanna, if you please . . .

1. Admit that it sucks. You don’t have to rent a billboard. You don’t even have to tell your friends and family you received a rejection letter. In this day and age you don’t always receive that. You have every right to keep your lips sealed. What you need to do is reconcile any raw emotions you have with yourself. Moxie and gumption are great things, but it’s okay to say, “I’m angry/sad/frustrated/etc. I didn’t get that job. I think it would’ve been perfect for me.” Beating yourself up for being bummed is only going to make you feel worse.

2. Have a short memory. You feel bad. You realize you feel bad. Guess what? The sun will still come up tomorrow unless you’re Mayan and December 2012 is fast approaching. After drowning your sorrows in a vice of your choice throw that rejection letter in the trash. Open up the classified ads. That fantastic job isn’t going to wait for you to get back on your horse.

3. “Don’t drive angry” – Bill Murray, Groundhog Day. This may seem contradictory to point two, but make sure you are in the right frame of mind before you saddle up your horse again. Moping around for days isn’t going to help you, but neither is sending out applications when you feel dejected. I once sent off an application without proofreading at all because I was still reeling from a rejection letter I had received earlier in the day. At the time I didn’t see the point of putting my best foot forward since it didn’t seem to matter anyway. You’re good enough. You’re smart enough. And, doggonit, people like you. Remember that before clicking the submit button on your next application.

4. Take a closer look at your resume and cover letter. Rejection can be a push towards creativity. Whether you wrangle family, friend, foe, or you take a hard look yourself, make sure what you’re sending out is truly a great reflection of what you have to offer. I know rehashing through resumes and cover letters can be painstaking and mind-numbing, but it is completely necessary. Sometimes you have crafted a really good cover letter but a tweak to a word here or cutting out filler there can turn it from good to great. Sometimes you hit a patch of bad luck and a resume dipped in gold won’t do the trick. Just make sure you have laid all your cards on the table, including a well-polished cover letter and resume.

Always remember one positive thought each day: “Life only demands from you the strength you possess.”- Dag Hammarskjold