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Time for a "Mental Diet"?

By Nan S. Russell

In 1881, the New York YWCA’s proposed typing lessons for women brought protests citing, “the female constitution would break down under the strain.” How many women believed that and didn’t sign up?

Or how many would-be commuters listened when "experts" determined that riding a speeding train of fifteen miles per hour would cause them to suffocate in tunnels as blood spurted from their noses?

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These thoughts are amusing now, but don’t laugh too hard. We have plenty of our own that hold us back, blocking our transition from job loss to career prosperity. Consider a few I recently heard from an audience at a conference where I was speaking:

"All you have to do is read the headlines to know it’s a bad time to look for work."

"Just face it - finding a good job when you’re over fifty is impossible."

" I’m overqualified for every job that I see."

"I can’t get a job without experience."

"No one will hire me because I made too much money."

"It’ll take too long to get current with technology."

"Nobody I graduated with can get a good job, either."

"None of the screeners at job fairs understand my experience."

Your beliefs can hinder you from getting that interview, being offered the job, or achieving your goals.

Are your thoughts limiting or are they motivating? If you think you can’t you set yourself up for a self-fulfilling result.

Like a plaque on my desk cautions, "Don’t Believe Everything You Think." If you’ve been without a job three months or more, you can speed your job loss recovery with a mental diet. Here are three tips to get you started:

#1: Tame Your Thought Monsters

Judge, Critic, Analyzer, Fear, Shame, and Not Enough are an arsenal that ambush confidence, kill ideas, and push us to shadowy places. Judge and Critic may visit most often. Others, like Shame and Not Enough, wait like cats to pounce when least expected.

But you’re in charge of what you put in your head and believe about yourself. So, if you don’t like the thoughts that pop in, create new ones.

Self-talk makes a difference in how you view you. It also makes a difference in how you experience job loss recovery and those gatekeepers to the job prize you seek.

Feeling rejected? Lost your confidence? Don’t let doubt-monsters take residence in your head, hijack your accomplishments, or diminish your self-esteem. Tame those thoughts and you’ll get better job hunting results.

#2: View Opinions as Opinions

What if the Beatles in 1962 listened when the Decca Recording Company responded, "We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out."

Or what if a struggling Walt Disney took seriously the words of a prospective employer to "try another line of work" because he "didn’t have any creative, original ideas."

Thankfully, they didn’t believe what they were told. But many of us do. We accept someone else’s opinion as our fact.

We allow others to determine what we believe we can do, be, or achieve. We accept that we’re too old, too young, too qualified, too inexperienced, or too whatever to get the position we desire.

Don’t let others people’s limiting beliefs about you become your own. Other people’s opinions are data, not facts. Use them with caution.

#3: Listen to Yourself

What are your saying about yourself to yourself? What are you thinking about your likelihood of getting that next job? Listen to your thoughts and to your conversations with others. Listen to the word-picture you’re painting of your future. Is it a future you desire?

If you believe you can’t get a job because you’re over-qualified or too well-paid, you limit your possibilities and motivation.

If you believe there’s one company or one industry or one way to achieve career prosperity, you limit your creative and innovative thinking. And if you believe you don’t need to learn or evolve to get that next great job, you limit your growth and opportunities for the future.

Your words matter. The connections between your words and your results are powerful. We all know about The Little Engine That Could. But sometimes it’s more subtle. Watch for the words you use that stymie your optimism, resolve, and persistence. "Nobody’s hiring." "I already tried." "I’ll go broke." "I’m too old." Replace those words.

Talk and think about what you want, not what you don’t want.

Start Today

By going on a mental diet today to remove your limiting beliefs, you’ll increase your results, speed your recovery, enlarge your possibilities, and positively impact your future.

As Mark Twain suggested,

"Take your mind out every now and then, and dance on it. It is getting all caked up."

Today’s a good day to start dancing all over the beliefs that are clogging your future.


About this author...

Job Loss Recovery Expert Nan S. Russell discovered a Stanford degree didn’t protect her from being fired from her first professional job. From minimum wage to Vice President of a multi-billion dollar company, she learned the hard way. Now she helps others with what does and doesn’t work at work. The author of three career books including, The Titleless Leader, Hitting Your Stride, and Nibble Your Way to Success, Nan is a national speaker and work issues consultant. More at NanRussell.com; and her job loss seminar: Rebooting After Job Loss.