Information, helpful advice, and commentary about topics relevant to relaunchers.

A Positive Perspective Goes a Long Way

5 steps to a new outlook on your relaunch (and yourself)

At this time of year, a little over seven years ago, I had just returned from a two-day seminar at my alma mater for women who were in transition—either leaving the workforce, attempting to reenter or seeking to downshift into a job with less hours and/or pressure. The majority of us were trying to re-enter and having a pretty difficult time of it. But just being with a roomful of smart women struggling with the same problem was inspirational, and I came home determined to make changes.

I had already managed to re-enter the workforce nine months before. After seven years at home full time with my five kids, I had started working part time for a neighbor who had his own executive search business. Although I could work from home, which is what I wanted, and although I enjoyed the treasure-hunt feel of my assignments, the pay was not exactly a chest of gold, and I felt a little stymied in terms of professional development.

But somehow, after that seminar, my view of myself had changed. Instead of anxing over whether and how to ask for more money, the next time my neighbor asked me to help him with a search, I simply told him I needed to be paid a third of his fee, rather than my prior hourly rate. He agreed. And within six months of that, I had solicited and secured a big assignment of my own.

I often reflect back to that time and wonder what enabled me to make these leaps forward. Had I learned new skills? Had the people around me suddenly realized my worth? No! Nothing had changed, except my perception of myself. So, without attending a two-day seminar, how can you change your self-perception and thereby, ultimately, change other people's perceptions of you?

Don’t denigrate yourself to yourself

You don’t have to be arrogant, but acknowledge what you’re good at and don’t be afraid to talk about it. I have a friend who says, “I’m a really good judge of people,” and she’s right. The corollary: don’t undercut your accomplishments by inserting the word “little” before everything you do. Instead of saying “I have my own little business,” say “I have my own business.”

Do the best you can, and then. . . let go

How many times have you sweated and schemed over something you wanted, lying awake at night trying to figure out that one next move that will “clinch” it! Stop. If you approached the task methodically, trust that you made the right moves and will achieve the desired results. And if you don’t, maybe what you wanted wasn’t quite right for you after all. In some ways, work is like a ball. Once you’ve thrown it, you can’t control where it lands.

Play to your strengths

I spent the early years of my career trying to conquer weaknesses, to prove to myself and others that I could do things that were difficult for me. No more. I’m not saying I’ll never do another spreadsheet again, but I am trying to choose assignments and tasks that I enjoy and can ace, while pawning off others on colleagues who are more suited to them.

Don’t dwell on failures

We all have them. The key is to acknowledge them, learn from them and move on.

Help others whenever you can

I’m not talking about joining the Peace Corps or taking on another volunteer assignment but, rather, the backscratching that savvy mothers and good business people do for each other, day in and day out. Here’s the deal: not only will the favors come back to you in spades, but you’ll feel like royalty whenever you roll out the red carpet for others.

Once you start to live and work by these principles, I can almost guarantee that your perception of yourself will change for the better, and others’ perceptions of you will follow.

Learn more about the Roadmap

A 5-Phase online workbook and support program to help you go from relaunch readiness assessment to negotiating your benefits package. Your self-paced tool for returning to work. 

Learn More


Success Stories

Maureen Byrne

Success Stories

Motivation, inspiration and ideas to shape your own story. Find your role models.

Read More

"The Bible of Career Reentry"

"The Bible of Career Reentry"

Learn More

Book cover of Back On the Career Track

Join Our Community