By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes
“When you expect the best, you release a magnetic force in your mind which by a law of attraction tends to bring the best to you.” – Norman Vincent Peale
As a career coach, I realize that I have a somewhat unique perspective on job hunting: Most people view the process as a gauntlet of rejection, but I see the rejection as a beautiful trampoline into evolution, ownership and clarity.
My clients come to me at various stages in the job search. Some of them are at their breaking point after months of searching, while others are trying to gain clarity and confidence for the road ahead.
They all share one common trait, however: Fear.
How will I pay the bills? What if I never find a job that I love? How will I ever explain this period of unemployment to future employers?
They are often terrified that they will never achieve the fulfillment and success of their dreams…I’ve been in their shoes, and I know the feeling. The problem is that they can’t see how these fear-based thoughts are the basis for limiting beliefs about their own potential, and this cycle of fear inevitably becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Think about it. Your beliefs activate the level of potential you’d like to access, your level of potential incites your action and your action inspires your results. In the end, it starts with your beliefs.
This is why my first priority is in helping them achieve a serious belief system makeover. Because when your thoughts change, you change.
Data shows that positive thinking is the most powerful energy for creation, so the first step in achieving the career of their dreams has to be retraining their minds to work for them, instead of against them.
It’s about being the master of your own thoughts, realizing that thoughts are not always real. And if you don’t question your thoughts, they will create your reality.
If you are currently in the job hunt, or anticipate that you will be soon, here are seven mantras to start repeating right now:
1. There is a job out there where I will be wanted, needed and happy. Most job hunters come from a mindset of scarcity, either because they’ve had bad experiences in the past or because they’ve bought into the negative experiences of others. This desperation has no basis in reality: The number of available job openings is at a 15-year high. When you believe that jobs are limited, a single offer can seem like a miracle, and you may panic and feel compelled to accept it…even though you’re not quite sure it’s a good fit.
Rather than saying, “this could be my last chance,” try saying “this is only the beginning.”
2. Relationships first, jobs later. Effective networking accounts for an estimated 70% of all job offers, so love it or hate it, it’s something you’re going to have to master. Our culture latches on to the idea that the goal of networking is to meet with a stranger in Starbucks and walk away with a job offer, but that’s missing the mark. When I was working for the Pentagon, I became familiar with the Afghan approach, which demands the establishment of a personal connection before any business dealings. It taught me that the art of networking isn’t measured by how quickly you can secure employment; it’s measured by the authentic connections you form with potential future employers or referrals. So how do you do that? Most people want to feel seen and heard, so it’s key that you’re able to connect with others from a place of inspiration, not ego or desperation. Be inspired by them, ask questions, and flatter them authentically.
3. My work experience does not dictate my opportunities; I do. Too many job hunters buy into the belief that their career potential is limited to the experiences contained within the four corners of their resume. While your past may qualify you for certain positions, all employers are looking for achievers and performers, characteristics that transcend the narrow confines of your current field. An employer will be more likely to hire you, despite a lack of relevant experience, if she believes you are motivated, resourceful, and energetic.
4. I am not for everyone or every job. Nor is every job and every employer for you. As my grandma used to say, “ If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one!” As you apply for jobs, your imagination weaves images of you in the position, which can make rejection especially heartbreaking. The truth is, you’re really mourning your idea of the job—rarely the job itself. You may also mentally tear yourself apart, imagining all the reasons why the employer didn’t hire you. For all you know, the CEO gave his own daughter the job. It’s truly not always personal. Instead of letting someone else’s rejection or acceptance shape your self-image, take it as a learning opportunity.
In time, you’ll be able to differentiate the opportunities that truly appeal to your authentic self from the ones that merely appeal to your ego. This will empower you to show up in your career, making a space in the workforce for you to be you. Don’t buy into the belief that you need to bend to the workforce…Opportunities abound, remember?
5. High intention, low attachment. One of the most powerful tools I coach my clients on is the art of cold networking, because it’s usually the people outside of your network who can transform and up-level your career. I’ve worked with clients who want to dissect a job opportunity for hours before they’ve even put out feelers. These are the same clients who – when they finally work up the energy to contact the company – end up editing and rewriting it 15 times before they feel ready to hit the send button. That sort of trepidation and attachment is not what you want to bring into your search! In fact, it’s just resistance showing up in your job hunt…And resistance is fear.
Fixating on who responds and who doesn’t is only going to drain your energy and limit your potential opportunities… For this reason, I recommend going into your job hunt with an approach of high involvement, yet ensuring you keep a low attachment.
6. I deserve time for fun. We tell ourselves we need to dedicate every waking moment to finding employment, but like any other kind of intensive work, there’s a high risk of burnout if you never stop to come up for air. It’s a well-documented fact that optimists fare better in the job hunt, so force yourself to make time for the activities that bring good energy and light into your life.
7. Getting what I want is inevitable. It’s impossible for you to network this hard, and put yourself out there this much, and not get a job. I coach millennials all around the world and all of them eventually realize that with an inspired mindset, hard work, and commitment, it’s impossible not to be successful.
One of the biggest joys in my profession comes from expanding my clients’ mindsets about what’s possible for them in their career. When viewed through the lens of adventure and possibility, job hunting is fun.
They’ve told me that they look back on the job hunt – which was, at the time, one of the lowest points of their life – as the transformational trampoline that launched them into empowerment.
If you want to tap into the real pulse of the workforce, the best place to start is by tapping into your mindset. It’s about waking up from the ideas that you have created about job hunting and career so that you can experience it directly as it is in reality: a period of possibility, potential and destiny.