Finding a job that is both financially satisfying and personally fulfilling isn’t an easy task, especially in tough economic times. It’s common for people to get discouraged during their job search and feel as though they are “stuck” or “at a dead end.” This can often lead to feelings of self-doubt that diminish a person’s motivation and desire to achieve. While hard to avoid, these defeating thought-patterns actually contribute to the difficulties that people have finding work, making it even more challenging to secure employment. So how can you overcome this vicious cycle? Our blog article answers the question of how you can harness the power of positive thinking to overcome self-doubt, and discusses the many ways in which staying optimistic can improve your chances of finding the right job.
Actively working to manage your self-doubt is one of most important steps that you can take to enhance not only your motivation to succeed, but also your performance. The beliefs you have about yourself have a direct effect on a variety of personal factors, such as your behavior, effort, and motivation. This means that individuals who have higher levels of motivation to pursue potential employment tend to also perform at higher levels, leading to greater productivity during the job search as well as in successfully gaining employment. The following three strategies can be used to help you work towards managing your own self-doubt:
- Embrace failure: According to Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University, there are two mindsets that people can take when they are faced with a challenge in their life – either a fixed mindset, or a growth mindset. Part of embracing a growth mindset involves praising the process instead of the person, especially in difficult times such as during your job search. Rather than setting performance goals for yourself, a growth mindset encourages people to set learning goals, where criticism and obstacles are viewed as opportunities for growth and development. While individuals with a fixed mindset tend to see the need for effort and repeated attempts at finding work to be a sign of inadequacy, those with a growth mindset view effort as a necessary part of success, as well as an opportunity for learning and personal improvement.
- Stop over thinking: While it’s natural to run through scenarios about the answers you could have given in an interview, or ask yourself where you went wrong in your application after not receiving a call back, ruminating about the past not only impacts your mental health in the present, but it also feeds in to your future performance. The way you feel about yourself depends a great deal on the type of self-talk that you engage in, which directly influences your confidence going forward. Although it’s difficult to escape from the problem-saturated stories we tell ourselves after a perceived failure, it’s more beneficial if we can dispute these stories in order to stay focused on solutions. For example, rather than ask yourself where you went wrong in an interview, ask yourself what you did right and what can be learnt from this situation for next time.
- Practice self-compassion: Having compassion for yourself has been shown to directly improve your confidence and performance in the job search process. Being self-compassionate means expressing kindness, care, and comfort towards yourself, regardless of the circumstances that you find yourself in. Part of this involves being conscious of the fact that imperfection is part of the common human experience. It’s not unusual to get discouraged during your job search and to feel as though you are the only one not finding success in this process, but this is not the case. Recognizing that you are not alone in the challenges you face can be an important first step in overcoming or re-conceptualizing this struggle in a healthier way.
By April Dyrda, M.Sc., Calgary Career Counselling
This article has been adapted from a presentation delivered by Louisa Jewell. For more information about building self-confidence and other facets of positive psychology please visit: www.louisajewell.com