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Leaders in Career Transition

“SMILE LOUDLY” – Staying strong in the face of
all the perceived rejection

By Kathy Holdaway

Today more than ever we are faced with keeping ourselves upbeat, positive and level.  How do you stay in your power in the midst of no calls for interviews, no responses to letters, and with minimum interaction with recruiters both internal and external?  What do you do with friends and former colleagues who don’t answer your phone calls or your e-mails?  What do you make any of that mean?  How can you in the midst of all that is going on around you keep your head, stay focused and clear and continue on your path toward the right position?

There are so many articles already written on this subject.  My desire is that you will walk away with a nugget you haven’t yet received that will allow you to thrive during this time. 

Before getting into exploring some of the ways to keep your head in the game and your spirit soaring every day, I want to offer the word detachment.  If you can, detach your emotions from what is going on and realize that none of this can diminish who you are—unless you allow it to.  It is so easy to say that and yet it is very important that you remain neutral in the face of what might not be happening that you want to have happen right now. 

Don’t make anyone the enemy – everyone has something going on in their lives that they would like to go away or not deal with; everyone.  Letting go, releasing tension through exercise, meditation or studying a new subject are but a few ways to detach.  Creating a mantra to bring you back when you find your thoughts becoming less than buoyant or visualizing what you want to have happen by being still until you actually feel what it will be like to be in that new position are additional methods.

Everyone is talking about the need for a network so I won’t dwell on that.  If you are starting out from scratch with very few people in your network, then some of the things I mention below will have added value because they will put you in contact with people with whom you can begin to build relationships and eventually learn who they know and begin to increase your network and your networking skills.  People in your network can become accountability partners for you if they are facing the same situation.  You can form groups to share resources and knowledge, increase awareness of new opportunities and keep everyone focused.

Perception is everything.  If you see this as an opportunity to explore even deeper into your depths and pull up and out some things about yourself that will blow the socks off your competition, then you are right.  It is the perfect thing to do.  If you see this as an opportunity to volunteer or mentor some other people while you are in this position, then it is the perfect thing for you to do.  If you decide that now is the best time to learn a new skill that will complement your current skills and add to how much more valuable you will be to your new employer, then that is the perfect thing to do.

Learn a new language, take a dance class at your local community center, begin writing your stories – lots of things don’t require a huge investment yet accomplishing them will add to your sense of well being and skill sets. What I am helping you to do is to explore, brainstorm, consider what else you can be doing that will keep you in action, keep your mind strong, and your spirit humming.  Now is also the time to evaluate the legacy you have already left and look at what is left for you to contribute – where else do you want to have an effect?  Are you still headed in the right direction?  Is there another place you would rather play than the places you have played before?  It doesn’t have to be something so diverse that it will take a couple of years; yet it could be if that was truly your desire and burning passion.  If so, investigate grants, and other ways of getting that education.  Look at coming up with some of the passive revenue sources demonstrated by the experts today.

For boomers - we have lived longer than many in the current job market and we have wisdom, knowledge, and incredible intellectual and business reserves to draw upon to bring companies through this current economic downturn.  We have been through it before.  We are invaluable resources.  Be resourceful and offer your knowledge as a consultant; write, create case studies, condense your expertise in a few topics and write on other people’s blogs or start your own.

Given that each of us has a unique set of skills, a different perspective on ways of doing things and ways of being; it is time to draw upon all of those differences and transferable skills and create unwavering value for your next employer.  Yet while we prepare for that opportunity, it is important to be contributing from your strengths to keep upbeat and focused.

Taking lessons from your corporate experience, planning, working with a strategy, and taking high impact actions that will move you toward your goal are critical to attract the perfect opportunity.  You don’t know where or when you will learn of the right position.  Being prepared is crucial.  Once you have done all the prep work recommended by the experts, and you are working two to three hours a day on the things that will get you in front of people, you can relax and do the things that are fun.  I have learned that doing what you love and being with friends opens doors.  Because you don’t know who will have something to offer, living your life every day in the best way you know how is the perfect way to manifest your desires.  This way you are energetically upbeat, not desperate or acting like a victim.  When you have conversations with people it is important not to bore them with the things that haven’t happened or complain.  People don’t want to hear it.  If you find people walking away from you or not calling – and I’m talking about your regular contacts, then you might want to ask yourself what kind of energy you are putting off and if you know you are in the right mindset, then be neutral; it is not always about YOU.

If you have never practiced authenticity, now is the time to do that.  Look within and ask yourself what motives you have whenever you engage with people.  I’m not saying not to share your goals or targets – just do it in 60 seconds or less.  Then if people ask more questions, engage them.  The more you smile and invite yourself to be joyful, the more attractive you will be.  So take a minute and smile and see if it doesn’t for just one minute change everything from the inside out!  Remember, life is a game and well played even this time can be fun – just see this as an opportunity to build some more muscle – whether you need it or not!

Kathy Holdaway
Strengths Finder 2.0 - Activator, Relator, Input, Ideation, Intellection IDISC - Mobilizer