Will You Choose to Bounce Back?
We all go through times when it feels particularly difficult to pick ourselves up, dust off the failure, the “no” from a potential employer, the silence following an application made, and get back at it. When relaunching, your ability to bounce back, to be resilient, will make a significant impact on your energy, excitement, and optimism each day.
Resilience allows you to perform at your very best. Resilience means to ‘jump again’ – it is the ability to bounce back from your experiences to the place where you are alive and at your peak. You can think of it as a tree swaying in the wind – even in hurricane winds, the strongest trees bounce back and remain standing.
The more resilient you are, the better able you are to face the challenges of relaunching, including deciding your next steps, reaching out to your network, applying, interviewing and then heading back to work.
Resilience can be learned and built, like a muscle you haven’t used in a while, and so if you are feeling rusty, you can start today. The key to resilience is perception – how do you interpret the facts that happen in your life? You and the person next to you can experience the same event – receiving a no from potential employer – but it is how you internalize and respond to that event that determines your success going forward.
To get you started, here are three steps you can take now to build your resilience muscle for your relaunch journey:
Expect to Fall Down
Hitting hurdles in the road of life is normal and nothing more than part of the process of looking for work and learning to perform at your best. When you expect it, you can make sense of it more easily and you will handle it better, which means you will bounce back faster. Denial is the enemy of resilience. Expecting the hurdles allows you to throw yourself into your relaunch 110%. You’ll be ready for what comes your way.
Detach, Detach, Detach
It is easier to manage through the tough times when you develop the habit of detaching from them. Resilient people are able to maintain perspective on the events that cause them to fall down. Highly resilient people do not avoid loss, receive less rejection than others, or experience less stress, they just handle it differently.
The good news is that you get to choose how you respond to an event. For example, when someone else is chosen for a job over you, you can immediately internalize it and assume this is a comment on your experience or character. But what is the more resilient path? This takes us to the third step.
Acknowledge, Fight, Focus
Every time you get knocked down, immediately acknowledge it - recognize that it is not what you wanted and allow yourself to be disappointed. Give yourself time to be angry or upset that you were not chosen for the job. After all, this matters to you, and it should. And as the saying goes, ‘what you resist, persists.' Do not resist your reaction.
Then, fight against the inner critic. Run through other perspectives or possibilities and argue back to your inner critic that is trying to get you to internalize the event and feel defeated. Solicit feedback and figure out what actually happened. You may find that the company went with an internal candidate, or that you actually made it to the final round (and at that stage, there are so many factors considered for the final pick). You may also never know, but you can choose to figure out what you can control (improve upon your interview prep, prepare better questions, research industry specific interview techniques), learn from that, and let the rest go. And no matter what, take the information as just that – information to help you move forward and improve.
Finally, focus. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others or get caught up in their success. This will derail you more easily and you will waste valuable energy worrying about others when you can be focused on yourself. Finding joy and performing at your best is not related to other people’s experiences.
For every hurdle you face, you have a choice. You can choose to expect it, detach from it, fight the assumptions, and focus on moving forward. And every time you make this choice, you are growing your roots and building your strength so that you can remain standing, regardless of the force of the wind.
Valerie Cherneski is the Founder of Cherneski Coaching and is a member of the iRelaunch career coaching team. A certified executive coach, facilitator and speaker, Valerie uses her background in law and psychology to motivate change and development with clients across the United States and Canada. She has two very popular podcasts on the "3, 2, 1, iRelaunch" podcast series, "Dealing with Relaunch Rejection" and "How Can I Regain My Confidence after My Career Break?" as well as mumerous contributions to the iRelaunch blog.