As many of us know, in order to grow and change, toil is involved. Depending upon where you are in your career, and how long it has been since you’ve embarked on a job search, you’ll likely exert dormant job-search muscles.
I was inspired to write this post after reading my friend and fitness guru, Heather Frey’s article over at the SmashFit blog, called “Should You Struggle When You Workout? YES. Here’s why … “
In her ever-pragmatic and encouraging way, she explained that, amid the theories about “how much” you should lift when working out at the gym, the consistent thread is that “whatever your goal or workout preference, you should always struggle. That is, you should always be pushing yourself just a little further than you can go.”
I loved this. In conjunction with my recent recommitment to the gym, it seemed doable to “push just a little further!”
Similarly, in job search and career advancement, you can always push just a little further to move toward your next goal or series of goals. However, struggling, as Heather assures, “doesn’t (have to) mean pain.”
Too many times, in our minds, it becomes an all-or-nothing concept. When we ponder working out our physical muscles, we anticipate pain. Similarly, for careerists, the idea of a job search evokes visions of grueling intellectual fatigue.
However, instead of avoiding initiatives in career or job search because of potential pain, Heather invites a new perspective that deemphasizes pain and embraces the struggle. She says, “… you don’t stop when things get too heavy, you shoot to get out one or two more reps.”
In job search speak, this equates to taking one or two more action steps toward your next role or promotion, even if it feels uncomfortable.
A healthy struggle can actually rejuvenate and pain is a secondary consideration. Done right, the process of firing up your career engine is about doing things that build momentum; the struggle spurs process flow – a blend of push and joy and an awakening, if you will that compels your career vehicle forward, on a new path.
Therefore, rather than wrestling with career change and growth, embrace the empowering gains you achieve by diligently exercising that muscle.
To get you started, following are a few career change workout sessions to consider:
- Peer into Your Rearview Mirror. Revive faded career snapshots through the prism of your achievements, defining the multifaceted stories that have imbued your success. This can be mentally exhausting if addressed in large doses, so assign yourself a 30-60 minute session, pushing just a little more than you are comfortable with before stopping. Over time, the results will build.
- Determine Who You Are and How That Adds Value. In addition to looking into the rearview mirror, assess the resulting, nuanced outcomes to refine snippets and short stories that best reflect the current “you” and the aspirational “you.” This phase should tax your intellectual muscle, requiring deeper thinking and peeling back of layers, while also shedding layers no longer beneficial. After a few workouts accompanied by rest and repair, new intellectual muscle emerges – clarifying your focus and energizing your momentum.
- Research. While it may sound simple because of 24/7 internet accessibility to billions of pieces of information, the enormousness of options actually can exacerbate the challenge. Where do you start? What sites are reliable? How do you research companies? Then what? How do you know if you’re a fit for those types of companies, industries, jobs? These all are questions you’ll want to sort through, and it is likely you’ll need several sessions to sift through and fine tune the results.
While the career change arena is complex and the steps at times feel weighty, don’t stay in your corner. Get out there and compete for your next opportunity. Start with baby steps, and then, as you feel your muscle grow, momentum will build and opportunities will expand.
Embrace the struggle!
PS – And while you’re at it, subscribe to Heather Frey’s blog – I guarantee that her fitness tips and strategies will be an energy activator helping propel your job search initiatives to the finish line!
I am one of only 50 master resume writers and have crafted more than 1,500 career stories that put “your value into words.” My bachelor’s degree in writing/journalism allows me to apply a journalist’s eye to your career. Email me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy of Beverly Pearl.