What happens the first time you hear about a new suggestion, idea or offer outside your comfort zone?
Do you immediately say “no”?
Does your stomach do somersaults while your brain struggles to come up with negative comebacks, both verbal and nonverbal?
Do suggestions outside your usual terrain make you feel frightened? Anxious?
How many opportunities have passed you by, and how much have you limited yourself, owing to a naysaying first reaction?
You are not alone, and there’s hope.
Did you ever wonder how the people who constantly put themselves out there (giving speeches, performing, in leadership positions) do it?
They do all those miraculous things AND they are often nervous and scared!
I recently saw Cher’s Farewell Concert on TV. A backstage camera was following her just before her concert began. One of the first things she said was, “I’m nervous.” This from a diva who has been performing for 40 years!! Did she give a great concert? Yes. Could you tell that she was nervous? No. Well, it only took 40 years of practice to perform beautifully despite being nervous!
I often wonder why people say “no” so quickly. Saying “no” may be an attempt to control your world. Otherwise, it may get too overwhelming? Or you may put yourself in a position to fail? Or be embarrassed?
Okay, nothing wrong with saying “no” when you need to set boundaries. Or when you know something isn’t right for you. But what about those times in the middle? For instance, if it’s a brand new idea that you’ve never considered before?
Here’s how this translates to your career:
You’re looking for a job. When someone mentions a career area that you’ve not considered before, do you immediately dismiss it without at least getting more information? Do you not even ask the person why they suggested it?
You’ve exhausted your contacts, spent hours submitting your resume to on-line job boards, yet balk when someone says you need to get out and do more networking.
Do you ignore job ads that might be a stretch because they don’t exactly fit your qualifications? What are you saying to yourself as you turn the page on that ad? I bet it’s a negative thought.
How married are you to remaining negative? Do you justify your lack of success by always pointing towards all the bad stuff that’s happening?
When you hear about a project or get to bid on a new piece of work, do you immediately feel you are an imposter and doubt your capabilities?
A client recently said to me, after I suggested a program that would help her deal with the clutter in her life, “How often do I have to do this? More than once?”
Try, your whole life! But like the example of Cher above, it gets easier after 40 years.
Well, the best way I know to counter your loud inner naysayer is to notice what it says . . . but not act on it. For instance,
if your knee jerk reaction is to say “no” and your stomach is doing its usual dance when someone makes a suggestion, say, “That’s an interesting notion, I never thought about that before.”
Give yourself time to ponder it, consider it in the light of a new day. Then, decide if it feels right. What you’ll be doing is giving new ideas a fair chance to flourish.
Being open to new ideas is the best way over the speed bumps on the road to getting a new job, winning that promotion or becoming a better boss.
I often use the phrase “speed bumps” with my clients, to symbolize the hardest part of keeping motivated when you’ve exhausted the usual channels of a job search. And there’s usually more than one speed bump. They come in twos, or threes.
So, next time you hit a speed bump, notice your naysayer. Then, continue to move forward, smiling.
“The Portable Coach”
By Thomas Leonard
Thomas Leonard, the father of coaching, recently passed away. I find myself recommending this book again to my clients, as it truly is a way of approaching and reorganizing your life and career that works. From the Clean Sweep Program, which helps you eliminate clutter, to becoming Irresistibly Attractive to Yourself, Leonard’s book provides steps to make it happen.
“I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This”
By Julie Jansen
Julie addresses today’s work-dissatisfaction epidemic and uses career assessment quizzes and personality exercises to help readers assess their present job, discover the type of work for which they’re best suited and make change happen. Filled with real-life examples and a useful resource section, Julie’s guide is an invaluable instrument for implementing positive career change.