When you are interviewing, it is easy to become discouraged and feel defeated and dejected. It’s not just you; everyone experiences rejection in the process.
Here are some motivational thoughts to keep you positive and energized when your job search—and life for that matter—is looking bleak and hopeless.
- Treat each day as a new beginning. Don’t get caught up with all the failures from the past. Forget about prior indiscretions, feuds, animosities or something a family member said to you 13 years ago that you forgot what it even was, but you still won’t talk with them. This is history. History is over. You are not that person any longer. You are the person living in the here and now.
- There are no “what ifs” only “what’s next.” So, you made the wrong choice over which college to attend and chose the wrong major. You didn’t have a mentor or get the big break. We have to move on and forget about the “what ifs.” It is a new start. There are so many successful people who have made it big later in life. They learned from their mistakes and then catapulted their careers. Some people made all the so-called “right choices,” did well at first and now are just flatlining. Your life and career are long-term marathons and not sprints.
- Be the person you always wanted to be. It’s never too late to become that person. Don’t live to solely impress others or live out someone’s dreams. Even if you fail, it will be on your own term—as your own person. You don’t want to look back when you are 90-years-old and say you should have done x, y, or z. Do the hard work now to make the 90-year-old you happy and proud.
- Follow the career choice that is right for you. Acquiescing to a job or profession because you think it will make your parents happy and get them off your back or to impress your friends is not a long-term recipe for success. You will end up being miserable. As an executive recruiter, I can’t begin to tell you how many lawyers I have spoken to that made their career decisions for the reasons mentioned and are now terribly miserable. Find a career path that aligns with your values and suits your skills, temperament and abilities. Also, make sure you can make a living.
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- Complaining is a waste of the short, precious time that we have. Life is unfair; it’s short and brutal. We die at the end of our movie. Usually, it ends quite badly. Since we all know this, why trouble yourself with complaining and whining? It doesn’t help. It actually makes you feel worse and bothers anyone who listens to you. Accept what you can’t change and spend the time you’ve allotted to complaining toward modifying what you can actually change.
- Don’t sit around waiting for something to happen. Act. Make something happen. Be assertive and active. You’ll sleep when you’re dead. Make your own breaks in this world. Create your own opportunities. You can’t wait for opportunities to drop into your life. Nobody cares if you fail and nobody will hand you a life; you need build it yourself.
- Figure out what you want to do with your life and career. Then, work on how to actually make it happen. Spend at least as much time considering your career as you do watching football or binge-watching stupid television shows.
- Stop sleepwalking through life. Appreciate what you have. Work toward what you want.
- Take time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. It could be your spouse, children, friends, a nice spring day or a puppy. Live in the moment. Don’t spend all your time either obsessing over the past or worried about the future. Enjoy, appreciate and savor the here and now.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Mostly everything is small stuff. Save the worrying for when a loved one has terminal cancer or an unfair, irreversible health situation. Only then do you deserve the right to worry and complain.
- Hold yourself to the highest standard that you set for yourself and do what you know is the right thing to do—even if no one is watching.
- Don’t put your life on hold for anything or anyone.
- Set goals that you want to achieve. Every day, work your butt off toward achieving your goals. Just moving the ball a little down the field is helpful. Work toward getting 1 % better every day.
- Carefully consider and evaluate what you’re doing on a daily basis. Expend your time and energy wisely on meaningful endeavors. Don’t be afraid to quit things when you realize that you have mistakenly headed in a direction that does not align with your vision for yourself and your principles. Don’t do things for the sake of doing them. Shut off your autopilot and take the steering wheel. Do the things you love because life is too precious to spend it doing anything else. If you don’t enjoy something, then don’t do it.
- Discover your passion in work and life. If possible, make your passion a career or business.
- Listen when people talk to you. It may surprise you to know that there are some really smart people out there that you can learn from. You already know what you know, maybe you will learn from the janitor, your annoying coworker, the nosy neighbor or the CEO.
- Remain open to constructive criticism, but don’t take it personally or let it hinder you. Implement the advice if and when it fits within your goals and objectives.
- Stay positive because… why not? It’s just as easy as being negative, but is healthier and makes you and everyone else around you feel better.
- Don’t badmouth other people or gossip; it’s a waste of time and energy.
- Be honest with people or, at very least, don’t lie to them.
- Be empathetic, understanding, caring and compassionate. You never really know what someone else is going through or had to endure.
- Believe in yourself and your abilities. If you don’t have faith and confidence in yourself, why should anyone else? Treat yourself as you would your best friend. You wouldn’t excessively criticize, chastise, fault-find your best buddy and expect him or her to remain friends with you. Act kindly toward yourself. Have mercy on yourself when you fail, screw-up, and understanding when you do dumb things. This will help build up confidence and happiness, which ultimately leads to success.
- It’s too much work to hold grudges and stay angry at people. Forgive those who may have done you wrong in the past. You are better off with more friends and less enemies.
- Let go of material attachments. Don’t measure yourself or fixate on social status, fame, wealth or vapid accumulation of shiny objects. Enjoy your possessions, but don’t allow them to own you or let the pursuit of material things consume you. Someone else will inevitably inherit them all or they will be sold to pay off inheritance taxes when you die.
- Save as much money as you can, as early in life as possible. By accumulating a nice nest egg, you can then make career and life choices based on your principles—and not because you have to pay the rent and utility bills.
- Extricate yourself from toxic relationships. Walk away from negative, dishonest, disingenuous, phony, disrespectful, hurtful and time-wasting people. Spend time with others who are supportive, loving, caring and enable you to succeed. Find friends and colleagues compatible with your principles, who are also positive, successful, strong achievers and growth-oriented. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
- Treat the janitor like the CEO. Try to build genuine, authentic connections with people around you including strangers, friends, family and colleagues. Try to make deeper and more meaningful connections with people.
- Do a kind deed once a day. Help others in need or people when they least expect it—without reason.
- Constantly review and evaluate your life to make sure you are on the correct path. Set aside time for daily or weekly introspection and review sessions to assess how your pursuit of goals is going. Review your purpose and principles. It is okay if they change as you grow personally and professionally and mature in age.
- Fight back against procrastination, as it is a time-sucking enemy of your plans.
- Keep learning, reading and improving your mind.
- Stay away from comparing yourself to others. It will only make you jealous and disappointed. Only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday.
- Try new things. Get yourself out there. Stop sticking to routines and comfort zones.
- Don’t settle. Reach to become the best at what you do. Stretch yourself. For example, what are you doing right now? Is it improving your life? Is it possible to do something more productive?
- Set big, scary goals. Explore your limits and blow right past them. Keep an open mind for new opportunities and embrace different ideas rather than fear them. Don’t box yourself in mentally or emotionally.
- Find mentors and life coaches who care about you and can help you with your journey. Ask them for honest feedback and constructive criticism to help you become the person you aspire to be.
- Pay it forward by mentoring others and help them live their best lives too.
- If I am wrong about any—or all—of this, at least you can tell yourself that you tried and took some effort to improve your life and career.