Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Your GPS

We have moved to several different states over the past 5 years. Each time, I go through a process of learning my way around a new city. I'll admit I am more often than not--directionally challenged.

In 2007, when we moved to Misisissippi my husband bought a GPS for me. I programmed it, suctioned it to my car windshield and confidently hit the road. I loved the map and arrows that pointed me in the right direction. Most of all, I loved the way the automated voice would say, "caution" when I drove over the speed limit. That voice would redirect me when I made a wrong turn. "Please make a U turn," it would say. That voice would clearly tell me, "Your destination is on the right." Here are a few life and career observations my GPS taught me:

1) Whose voice are you listening to? We often go to the same people for advice because its easy. This may be a friend or family memeber who will give us answers we want to hear. They can also only give us advice based on their life's perspective. Do you ever seek wise counsel from unfamiliar reliable) sources? Who challenges you in your thinking and opinions? Seek fresh counsel from smart people. It may help you discover your passion and purpose in life.

2) Even when using a GPS, its only effective if you use it and trust it. As I started to get more familiar with shortcuts around my new town, I'd ignore the GPS and go my own way. Sometimes I'd just turn it off because I felt I no longer needed it and that automated voice was just downright irritating. This led to a few bumpy back roads and me driving in circles. Do you ever do that? What shortcuts are you taking in life or in your job search? Have you ever ignored tried and true advice about networking, resumes, cover letters and career planning because you think you have a better way? Sometimes we need to just stay on the interstate and avoid the backroads.

3)Even with the GPS, I would sometimes still get lost because I did not fully see the map. LAck of attention to detail and being in a hurry were the worst culprits. But it was my ability to laugh at myself then get back onthe right track that helps me reach my goals with joy. The best laid plans don't always work out but at least I have a plan. Then I have to trust God with the rest. I have to trust that there's a reason for disappointment. I have to learn to be flexible when necessary. I have to learn that there will be many frustrations in life but I cannot dwell in blame, indecision and pity.

"Caution," "Please make a U turn," "Destination on the right." I now refer to my GPS as God's Positioning System. Whose voice are you listening to? What maps are you following? Seek Wise Counsel, Listen, Pray, be joyful and stay on the main roads. Yeah, use GPS.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Running and your job search

So I'm jumping into the blogosphere. "Write what you know" is the advice I've been given. I work as college career strategist and I am a fitness instructor. These two things are not mutually exclusive. So here we go...

I'm watching the World's Track and Field Championship, Men's 800 meter. These runners must train physically and mentally to compete at this level. Many are known as the best runners in the world. During the 800 meter run, one of the runners tripped and fell. For most runners this would be a race ending event. But this guy got back up and started running again. It would have been easy to give up. But he was determined to keep going. That's how it is with a job search.

Sometimes we feel we have done everything possible to find a job or even a career. Yet when we don't have immediate results we are ready to give up or place blame. We blame the economy. We blame other people. But just like running, you must train mentally for your job search. While there's a lot of information out there on resumes and interviewing, few people talk about your state of mind and attitude during your search.

Your attitude is the most important tool you have in a job search. And yes, you ALSO need a stellar resume and outstanding interview skills. Despite what you hear on the news, you should not panic but plan and pray about your job search. Prepare by possesing a strong belief that you have skills employers want. Target industries and employers where you want to work, then be flexible. Keep a good attitude even when employers are not quickly responding to your inquries. Try encouraging someone else in an area of life where you are confident. It changes your outlook when you help someone else. Just remember, even if you fall down for a moment you can get back up!

Run the race with endurance, keep the faith and don't give up. Read 1 Cor.9:24-27 and Jer.29:11