Friday, June 26, 2009

Staying Motivated

Six Ways to Stay Positive During Your Job Search
By Jon Gordon, author "Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else"

The days following those fateful words, "We have to let you go," are dismal ones indeed.

Some mornings, it's tough to even get out of bed. As you scour the skimpy classifieds and job boards, grim scenarios play in your head on a repeating loop: "We'll lose the house" ... "We'll have to move in with my parents" ... "I'll never find work in this economy." You also wonder, "Are things really as hopeless as they seem? And if they're not, how can I clear away the dark clouds and see the light on the other side?"

I have been where you are right now, and I have some good news: The layoff you think is bad today will actually lead to great events in the future with the right approach and action plan.

It doesn't mean that you shouldn't allow yourself to get down. Rather, it's all about implementing the strategies that will help you focus, make changes and turn things around.

Getting fired
During the dot-com crash, I lost my job. I was two months away from being bankrupt. I had a mortgage, two kids, no insurance and very little savings. I was a paycheck away from losing it all. I thought it was the worst event of my life. But one day I decided that I wasn't going to let this challenge take me down; that's when I knew I had to change what I was thinking and doing.

I saw that what I was viewing as so terrible didn't have to be that way. It was what I chose to make of it. So I made some decisions that changed everything and led me to do the work I do now as a writer, consultant and speaker. I often joke that I went from fired to fired up. My layoff led to my life's mission and purpose.

The moral of my story is that what you think is a terrible event can actually be a good thing. There is a myth that most people embark on a quest to find their destiny. But more often than not, through adversity and challenges, our destiny finds us. It is during these times that we ask the important questions and make decisions that change the course of our life.

If depression, anger and fear are your motivating factors during your layoff, you will be making a tough journey even tougher for yourself and your family. Worse, you'll hinder your own progress. Negative beliefs lead to negative actions, making bad choices and shutting out friends and family. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Positive beliefs lead to positive actions.

Getting fired up
You may not find the positive energy switch right away. But keep looking and you will find it. Here are a few life-changing tips that can help you change your outlook and go from fired to fired up:

1. Jettison your anger
Allow yourself to be angry, sad, bitter and upset for a few days and then let it go. Release the bitterness. Recognize that you can't create your future by focusing on the past. After I was laid off, I made a conscious decision to forgive my company for letting me go and for giving me only two weeks of severance pay.

Making the decision to let that bitterness go helped me to think more clearly and have more energy to take positive action. Recently I spoke with a gentleman who told me that he wished he had made the same decision after losing his job. He said that it took him a year to finally move on and that his negative energy caused him to waste a lot of valuable time.

2. Say to yourself, "I have a dream" -- then start working to achieve it
Having studied many successful people, I've found that they all can pinpoint the moment when they decided what they truly wanted to achieve in life. It's a practice that should be required for all of us. After all, if you know what you truly want out of life, then you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Obvious as this may sound, many people never take the time to discover what they want.

When I lost my job, I realized that though I was initially sad to lose it, I hadn't been truly happy. I asked myself what I truly wanted to do with my life. "What was I born to do?" I asked. "Why am I here?" I realized I could open a franchise restaurant, which I hoped would allow me time to write. And off I went toward achieving my dream.

3. Choose to have faith in what you want, rather than what you don't want
Solve this riddle: What do fear and faith have in common? The answer: a future that hasn't happened yet. So why would you choose to paint that future bleak and empty, when you could paint it vibrant and fulfilling and fun?

Fear believes in a negative future while faith believes in a positive future. Even if you're not a spiritual person, why would you choose to believe the worst is going to happen? It just feels better to look to the positive future.

4. Start each day with one question
Ask yourself this one question every day: "What are the three things I need to do today that will help me find the job and create the success that I desire?" Then, take action on those three things every day until you've achieved them.

You may not get there in two days, a week or even a month. But each day you'll be one step closer to your goal. And you will get there eventually ... or maybe even find yourself somewhere better.

5. Take on a "glass is 92 percent full" approach
Today's employment-related statistics can be hard to get out of your head when you're searching for a job. But unlike the pundits on TV who seem all too pleased to focus on the most negative numbers available, you can choose to focus on the flip side. Rather than fixating on 8 percent unemployment, focus on 92 percent employment.

6. Choose to be humble and hungry.
Be humble. Know that you don't have all the answers and can learn something from everyone. Realize that there are always new ways to learn and improve. Be open to advice, to learning a new skill and trying a job you haven't thought of before.

Also, be hungry. Seek out a mentor, take him to lunch and model his success. Think of his life as a blueprint you can follow. Continuously improve and seek out new ideas and new strategies.

By remaining humble and hungry after my job loss, I was able to focus on and learn the things that made it possible for me to run a restaurant, write, speak and achieve another great "H" word: happiness!

Of course, maybe you're not the one who's been laid off. We all know someone who's lost his or her job. If you're wondering, "What can I do for that person?" the answer is to encourage, uplift and support. It will not only bolster your loved one's spirits, it will make you feel good, too. Leadership, after all, is a transfer of belief.

Jon Gordon is a speaker, consultant, and author of the international bestseller "The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy" and "The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work." Jon's next book, "Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else," was released in May 2009. Visit his Web site at

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