Can you choose your actions, not your feelings when it comes to your job search?
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An attitude of gratitude for job search 

<<First Name>>, can you relate to these thoughts?
  • “If I don’t get this job, I’ll never find work again”
  • “I did a terrible job at that last interview”
  • “The recruiter thinks I’m completely unqualified for this job”
Negative self-talk is common, especially when under stress and can adversely affect a person’s mood, self-esteem and then impacts attitude, behaviour and overall mental and physical wellbeing.  If your attitude and actions are a reflection of how you feel then likely the impression you make on potential employers or colleagues is going to suffer. To help you prepare for a job search or career change, you need to have a positive attitude. How do you develop a positive attitude during a lengthy job search, when competition is high, and when interviews are far and few between? Just like strengthening a muscle you can use tools and do activities to develop a feeling of appreciation, which helps chip away at negative thoughts, and pave the way for positive interactions. The good news is that gratitude is a powerful tool that costs nothing to practise and is accessible to anyone no matter the circumstances of their lives.

Consider the cycle of thoughts – emotions – behaviours (what we think, feel and do). We can’t control everything that happens externally, such as being laid off or the various factors that make up an economic downturn, but we do have the ability to become aware and disrupt any part of the cycle and change our default reactions and actions.  

Take a moment to reflect on the graphic below...

How do I incorporate gratitude in my job search?

1. Focus on what you already have rather than what you lack. Sit with a coach or trusted friend to list out all of your skills, attributes and work/life experience you offer to the world and for your next job. Place this list somewhere that you can see it regularly.

2. Start with an easy daily practise. Choose a regular time every day, ideally when you first wake up, for a few minutes look around you and note what is right before you that you can be grateful for. It might be something immediately apparent such as shelter, food, clean air, running water, family, pets, and good health. Add three different things to your list every day. Before long you will start to develop an inventory and attitude of appreciation. Once you have some experience at this you can focus on domains of your life that seem more challenging (“hmmm I wonder what I can be grateful about regarding the radio-silence from that last job application?”) ... there’s always room for a positive perspective but start with the easier/more apparent things first.

3. Breathe it in. Allow yourself to feel grateful. For each situation, person, experience or object that you appreciate (even the tiniest bit), you can start to actually embody the feeling of gratitude throughout your whole body. Give yourself the lived experience rather than just an intellectual stance. Close your eyes, focus on what you are grateful for, visualize it, sense it and breathe it into your heart. If it doesn’t feel natural right away, force a smile anyway when you think about it (see the cycle above, action also impacts thought). Feeling grateful activates the brain’s happy chemicals – dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin. 

4. Acknowledge and celebrate what’s working well. Did you get some exercise in today? Did you revamp your LinkedIn profile? Is the sun shining today? Finding joy in even the small things that are often overlooked help to elevate your entire mindset. 

5. Say more “Thank You’s”. Make a point of saying thanks when you may not have even felt like it. Show you value the relationship with your LinkedIn connections by maintaining a connection. Be reliable and grateful for all interviews, including informational interviews. Write personalized thank you notes. When you land a job, thank the people who assisted you along the way. 

6. Find gratitude in difficulty, it will make you more resilient. It’s easy to appreciate what is working well. Inevitably it is more challenging to accept the sufferings of life, loss, rejection and perception of failure. No one is exempt from this, even those who appear to be rich and have great success – they deal with loss as well. Creating a regular habit of finding things to be grateful for even in the most challenging circumstances will act as a positive and strategic tool for the remainder of your life.

Neuroscience and research also shows there is value in choosing gratitude in improving your overall health and life satisfaction. But let the study be within yourself to find out how gratitude can positively colour and shape your own experiences and shape how you show up in the world. Feel free to connect with the Laid Off Calgary Facebook group if you’d like to share your experiences with gratitude with others to simply share, or inspire! Remember, you are in charge!

---This was written for my friends at The GoldMind Project "Effectiveness In Marketing Yourself", on  February 20th, 2018. Check out their upcoming events and other information here. 
Laid Off Calgary has been running for more than two years and has provided in person and virtual support to more than a thousand individuals in Calgary and beyond. The volunteers of the Calgary facilitated meetings are taking a break as we evaluate the next best steps for everyone. 

In the meantime, check out these options if you are looking for ways to connect:
  • call 2-1-1 (24/7) for local resources in Calgary
  • join the Laid Off Calgary Facebook Group (subject to community agreements, this is a volunteer moderated group). 
  • Visit the Toastmasters Group: "Successful Next Steps" and develop your skills for your career! Meets every Wednesday 12pm-1pm. This public speaking and leadership group was formed with the initiative of members from Laid Off Calgary and is supported by experienced toastmasters.
I was recently asked to comment to a Calgary Metro journalist on the value of seeking support in difficult times. Check out the link to the Metro article here: Recession continues to hit Albertans where it hurts – their emotional health. One of the key points I wanted to make was it is good to know your resources and options ahead of time, even if you think you don't need it.

Did you know that by researching supports available to you, that you just might find yourself in a position to share this information or resource with other people who may also need assistance? In the recent Laid Off Calgary survey 10% of respondents said they had no one close to them to talk to. Small changes can start here today. If you are in that 10% there are ways you can reach out, the Calgary Distress Centre is always available, no problem is too small to call. If you are in the 90%, even if you don't feel abundant with finances and job offers, what can you do to check in with a friend or former colleague you haven't said hello to in a while? 

<<First Name>> what can you do today that potentially makes a small and meaningful difference in yours or someone else's life?

Sending you love and success on your journey ahead,

Bianca Sinclair
Copyright © 2016-2017 Laid Off Calgary All rights reserved.
Empowered Community Support Groups
Bianca Sinclair - T3H 5R2

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