by Mala Subramaniam
The current health crisis is overwhelming for all of us. If you are worried about your job, you are not alone. Most of us have been through these fears and anxieties. Some of us have even experienced lay-offs. What can you do?
One thing you cannot do is losing your self-confidence. It is the ticket to the more exciting job that’s waiting for you. Wondering if your self-confidence has diminished? If you’re asking yourself these questions, the answer might be yes:
- Why did my employer let me go? Am I not needed?
- What did I do wrong?
- How come my colleagues are still working there?
- How can I get another job when the situation is so bad?
Most people fall into the trap of letting their job, position, and title provide their feeling of self-worth. The opposite is true—your strengths empowered the position. It is wise to think: “My position gained prominence because of the value I added.” In this way, if you lose your position, it is easy to say, “I can take my value-add elsewhere.”
When people lose their jobs or do not get their desired promotion, they go down a negative line of thinking. They call people asking for reassurance, and get easily swayed by others’ gloomy thoughts, predictions, and sometimes, misplaced advice.
It is a slippery slope. With this state of mind, getting a job would be tough—no one would want to hire people, who do not believe in themselves.
I’ve been there. Here are five steps to regain your confidence and move on.
Step 1: Take stock of your past accomplishments
A technique that works like magic is the Accomplishment Grid. You create a grid of your top ten accomplishments in the past five years. Be specific in your description of goals and accomplishments. It helps to have measurable quantifiable results. They can include work, school, or other extracurricular activities like volunteer work or sports. It never ceases to amaze me how everyone feels good after this exercise.
[Source: Book, Beyond Wins, Accomplishment Grid]
There are several outcomes from this exercise. Not only does it feel good, but it also becomes the foundation for your resume building and job interviews. It helps build your “brand” and identifies jobs that you will enjoy and jobs that should be low on your priority list. Keep building on this spreadsheet, even after you get your job.
This Grid helped me realize that I would be very unhappy in an administrative job, as I dislike filling out forms, reviews, organizing events, and anything that requires repetitive processes and/or keeping records.
Every time you feel low, pull out the Grid and read it aloud to yourself. Start talking to people about your accomplishments. Look at this period of time as an opportunity to build on your accomplishments.
Step 2: Energize yourself
There are several ways to build your enthusiasm and energy level:
- Listen to inspirational talks
- Sign up for virtual exercise, dance, or yoga (based on your health and medical advice). Take a long walk.
- Watch a comedy show (nothing relieves stress like laughter)
Constantly dwelling on our situation, without taking a break, is not going to get us the job. On the contrary, our stress can cloud our thinking.
Step 3: Volunteer for work that builds on your strength
As a trainer and executive coach, I seize the opportunity to deliver free virtual sessions for student entrepreneurs who have to present new business ideas to potential investors. I am opening doors for expanding my training expertise while helping students who are concerned about their future.
Don’t go around telling people you lost your job. Instead, reach out to companies and schools, asking them if you can leverage your expertise to help others.
Fear means asking, “Oh, what will happen to me?” Courage means asking, “What is happening to others, and how can I help?” You are now on the giving end, not just on the receiving end. Very soon, people will find ways to help you. You are regaining your confidence. People can see that in you.
Step 4: Dare to dream
Now, you are feeling better. You are gaining ground. Now is the time to create a vision board for your future. Answer three questions:
- What is my vision for the future?
- Where am I going?
- How will I feel when I am there?
Now, get down to the practical aspect by answering the following questions:
- How do I get there?
- What will stand in my way of getting there? What can I do about it?
- What resources do I need to get there?
- Do I need the help of a mentor?
Step 5: Spread the word
Share your dream with everyone by giving the 60-second elevator pitch.
When anyone asks me about my business dream, I describe delivering a guest lecture in a top tier business school. It leaves the listener and me feeling exhilarated, and the former is willing to make suggestions or open doors for new opportunities.
Will I get there? I don’t know, but I don’t ruin my chances by raising doubts.
Everyone admires a self-confident person. These people seem at ease with their work and with themselves. They invite trust in others. For those looking to start a new chapter in their professional lives, these are attractive characteristics.