The best salespeople have a thick skin and know how to handle rejection. It is said that you can achieve anything if you are willing to hear no enough. In the job search we are all in the game of sales, but the product we are selling is a little more personal so the sting of the rejection can be one that hits close to home. It can be hard not to take it personally when you make it through multiple rounds of interviews and don’t get the job, or worse yet are not scoring any interviews in the first place. It is important that you remind yourself not to take it personally.
A job search, or maybe we should expand that to “any goal worth achieving”, is an exercise in perseverance. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and resolve to redouble your efforts.
The key to staying motivated is to make consistent, measurable progress. That is your task … to build momentum. Whether you are talking about personal momentum or professional momentum or business momentum–forward acceleration is the most important dynamic you have control over. Momentum creates a sense of purpose and builds on itself. It is an unbelievable feeling to be in the vortex of a momentum-driven journey. Being productive is a great thing. It increases your self-confidence and sense of well-being. It makes you more effective. The ultimate reward for keeping your focus and being productive will be the step ahead into a great new job.
You want to focus on your processes and not your end goal(s). Focus on process will keep you in the moment and motivated. It will also keep you from a paralyses of overwhelm – ie when the end goal seems so far away (the mountain is too tall to climb, the weight is too heavy to lift, etc etc). You need to increase your level of self-efficacy and accountability to yourself in attacking the tasks at hand and keep moving that needle forward.
So how do we increase our levels of self-efficacy?
Remember, big tasks are just a bunch of little tasks piled on top of each other. Use what you know about getting small things done. Start small, and take it task by task.
Understanding is a giant step to overcoming. Consciously tending to your self-efficacy and realize it is a driving force behind your actions or inactions will open up your whole life and jump-start your progress. Few things are more satisfying than doing exactly what you set out to do.
What are your priorities?
Organize them into a hierarchy and break them down into subtasks. Crossing things off a list has a mental effect and you will feel accomplished with tangible actions that you’ve taken.
It will keep you focused and motivated.
Now here’s where I want you to think like a sales person. If you are in sales you usually have a quota to meet every quarter. As part of your system I want you to have a quota as well, but I want your quota to be a quota of no’s. Every week set a target for yourself (ie, “I will make 20 calls to hiring managers”, “I will connect to 50 people in my intended industry”, etc) and I want you to keep pressing and getting used to hearing no. Be polite. Be professional. But be PERSISTENT. I spoke in my last blog post about your elevator pitch. This is where you want to use it. Push the sale. What is the value you could add? How has something you’ve done in past roles inform any challenges of the person on the other end of the phone? Have a plan for when they say no, but also have a plan for when they say yes. I want you to think about this as a game of numbers and get used to hearing no so that you toughen that exterior and stiffen that resolve. Every no is one more step toward your quota and you are continuing to build that all important momentum within your system.
Your career story is ultimately one of which you are the author. Own it and make yours an interesting story, one you want to tell and that propels you throughout the trajectory of your career.
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb