Job Search Strategies: In part, it’s how you look at it

Aurora Donnelly is a solo practitioner always looking forward to the next exciting transition.

My friend who has been working very hard at making her new practice a success is giving up and looking for a job. She has done everything right, dedicating lots of hours, energy and brain-power to developing a practice focused on estate planning. She has in the process earned her Certified Financial Planner designation. As a result of persistent networking and a genuine interest in seeking advice and using it well, she has several good clients.

In the process of developing her practice, she has gotten an assist from contract work to pay her bills and remain afloat financially. She works many nights until the early hours of the morning, then goes to a temporary job, maybe runs to court, meets with clients. Her days are often 20 hours long.

Nevertheless she still goes out with her friends, walks her dog, goes to frequent family functions and takes the occasional trip out of town. She understands that when you are excessively focused on a work goal, to the detriment of the rest of your life, you don’t do well at any of it.

You can’t give in to exhaustion and discouragement. There is a benefit to knowing when to switch gears, when you have done your best and your business doesn’t work out the way you planned. We tend to label such events as failures, but I see our careers more as a fluid, sometimes meandering process than as a series of discrete events.

I recently had a discouraged 27-year-old say to me: “I have failed at everything in my life, I have accomplished nothing and I am very disappointed in myself.” At 27, you are just starting your life, but you can talk yourself into that type of thinking when you are in that kind of mood. Being exhausted and burned out can distort your view. He has accomplished a lot so far, but just can’t think that way right now.

There are usually several different ways to look at a situation and how you “self-talk” can have a huge impact on how you perceive a given situation. Learning how to look at your situation in the best light can have big rewards in giving you self-confidence and the motivation to continue to pursue your goals. What benefit is there to judging yourself harshly?

My friend who is giving up her practice as her sole endeavor for now, and going after a law firm job is an inspiration. She says that she has laid the groundwork for a successful practice, she will do what she has to until she gets enough clients to make her practice her only source of income and she will continue to develop her skills in the meantime.

As a sidebar, I can tell you that surrounding yourself with positive people, who think the way my friend does, can be a huge asset. When your “self-talk” begins to run in circles of self-doubt and anxiety, seek out a friend or acquaintance who has a positive view of the world. They will give you just the boost you need to maintain your well-being and look for the positive in your particular situation. Nothing stays the same and just as your situation can look pretty grim at a point in time, it can also change for the better in a second. As they say, a big part of success is showing up and keeping at it.

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