The Small Stuff

By Cynthia Sutherland

When you’re searching for a job, input from others, i.e., “You didn’t get the job,” seems like a big deal.  This feedback can be viewed as a “no” vote.  But it’s really a nit in your life. You can see it that way in hindsight, too.

Floral Heart, from Wikimedia Commons (in the public domain)

Floral Heart, from Wikimedia Commons (in the public domain)

Oh, yes.  If you’ve been on a job quest for some time, and you’re invested in time deadlines or a job target for attaining a job, a rejection can be a shock to your system, your self-confidence, and a postponement of your financial goals.  But that’s true only if you can’t see that one particular job – or even this period of your life – is small stuff.

There are at least two situations within many that come to mind to help put this into perspective.  One involves Olympic hopefuls.  The other involves Dick Cheney and his heart.

Olympic hopefuls participate in ongoing performances and competitions, all geared toward their ultimate goal:  getting into the Olympics, and then winning a gold (or silver, or bronze) medal.  Olympic athletes practice and commit to their quest in their earliest years, and often end their careers (with or without a medal) long before you and I would even think of retiring.

I’m currently watching ice skaters on TV competing for a spot on the next U.S. Winter Olympic team.   There are a lot of losses and flubs in the short-term, even injuries, before their skills are perfected and a peak performance is reached.  Success, and even winning, involves their attitude and confidence as much as their ability.  And luck is part of that, I suppose, which I view as honing one’s positive attitude so that a win is the next logical step (so, not really luck).

The other situation that impressed me recently is Dick Cheney’s discussion of his heart transplant.  In his new book, Heart: An American Medical Odyssey, covered in several recent interviews, Cheney said that since his surgery, he “doesn’t sweat the small stuff anymore.”  He consciously appreciates each day, thinking about what actions he needs to take to live life to the fullest. Cheney says he enjoys each day as if it’s his last.

Dick Cheney’s attitude affected me powerfully. I admit that I’m not a Dick Cheney fan.  But you don’t need to share his views to be inspired by the impact that reclaiming his health and a normal life had on his outlook.

If you let yourself be inspired by such situations and consciously adopt a positive attitude, it would save a lot of emotional tension.  And the demeanor you portray to others and to potential employers would be so much brighter.  Your attitude is always apparent, anyway, even if you think you can hide it with professionalism and bravado.

When placed into perspective, this period is only a blink of your eye.  That’s what all my friends who have landed say in hindsight.  Really.

Cynthia Sutherland is a senior human resources professional, focusing primarily on diversity and inclusion and work-life.

© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved


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