Last week, I attended the annual summit held by Career Directors International, a professional organization of which I am a member. My kids were not so sure about me being gone for several days, my five-year-old son in particular. The day before I left was hard for him. He had issues at school and it continued when he got home. Eventually, he calmed down and we talked; during that conversation, it came out that he was sad that I was leaving.
Due to various travel issues, I didn’t arrive back home until Monday morning and then slept until noon. When I finally awoke, I expected my son to excitedly squeal and give me a big hug. So when my son saw me for the first time yesterday, he smiled, gave me a brief hug, and quickly went back to playing.
Teasingly, I asked my son, “Didn’t you miss me?”
He responded, “A little. Not too much.”
“What?” I asked in mock indignation.
“Well,” he reasoned, “I had Daddy.”
My son’s reaction to me being home speaks volumes about how present he is in his life. He doesn’t dwell on past feelings all that much — it’s more about what is happening in the moment.
How much better could we be served if we put more emphasis on the here and now?
1. In interviews: Don’t keep thinking back on a past interview you may have tanked. Your interviewers will be able to pick up on those negative feelings under the surface. Just remember that everyone has bad days. This interview represents a new opportunity, so focus on the changes you need to make and on the reasons why you would be such a great fit for this position. Prepare thoroughly for this interview and be totally present in what is happening right now.
2. In new positions: This can be a tough one, particularly if you were laid off or fired. You may worry about if you will really be “good enough” or if you will lose this job, too. That is natural to some extent; however, bringing your past emotions regarding your job loss with you to your new workplace will only hinder you. It will cause you to second-guess the choices you make in your work and you will tend to play it safe. Mistakes do happen to everyone, but you are more likely to make more mistakes because of the additional pressure you are putting on yourself.
Instead, look at this new position as a clean slate — an opportunity to solve new problems, to grow your existing skills and acquire new ones. They hired you for a reason, so now is the time to show them how right they were in choosing you!
3. In networking: Just as in interviewing, people at networking events will be able to detect if you are bringing anxiety with you. That, in turn, makes you less approachable and could end up resulting in missed opportunities because folks have opted to talk with others who are more approachable. In addition, dwelling on the past is more of a me-oriented activity that ends up making it more difficult for you to truly engage with others.
To make the most of this networking opportunity, prepare as you would for an interview — know your elevator speech/branding statement, as well as a few stories of your successes, and show interest in what’s happening with others.
How else can being in the present helped your career?
Image courtesy of nasrul ekram
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