What’s the underlying motivation for you in your job search? Fear of running out of money, the stress of feeling like a loser, anger at your former employer for letting you go, or is it guilt, shame, or insecurity? These are emotions that typically ‘push’ us forward; it’s the stick, not the carrot. Using negative emotions to move yourself ahead can work but mostly leaves you feeling unhappy, resentful and anxious. This makes looking for a new job extremely challenging and often leads to procrastination and avoiding important tasks.
Is There a Better Way?
Is it possible instead to be motivated by your passion, purpose, curiosity or creativity? These are all positive emotions that ‘pull’ you toward your goals, in this case, looking for a new role. This is the nutritious carrot.
Rebecca’s enthusiasm increased significantly when she realized she could switch to a more positive mindset by choosing a ‘pull’ strategy. Instead of waking up dreading the tasks before her she now saw job hunting as an opportunity to get closer to her goal of making a difference. She became very clear that her passion for growing businesses through creative marketing strategies allowed her to make a difference. Nothing made her happier than satisfied clients.
What’s Gets You Moving Forward?
Give some thought to how you like to make a difference. What gets you excited? Imagine yourself doing it and see how that influences your motivation. We all function better when we create meaning out of our activities, especially the ones we find more challenging.
When Rebecca focused on her passion, which truly pulled her forward, she found herself in a better mood. In the moments that she didn’t want to compose a networking email or tweak her resume yet again for a specific role, she reminded herself these were tasks leading to what mattered to her. With this strategy, she was able to motivate herself forward without having to beat herself up with the proverbial stick.
What Do You Want to Be Feeling?
It’s tough enough to be managing the daily ups and downs of the job hunt without creating negative pressure on yourself. Instead, ask yourself what benefit you enjoy bringing to the world, and see how that impacts your moods and desire to move forward. Don’t take me my word for it. Experiment and see what works for you.
Lynn Nicolai is author of Buckle Up! Managing the Career Transition Rollercoaster. If you want to get off the job search rollercoaster and be more productive, check out Buckle Up!