If your career change efforts are dogged by confidence crunching rants from your inner demons – you’re not alone.
Stepping into the competitive, spot lit job seeking arena can cue your cast of inner doomsayers to take centre stage. They’ll relish the chance to fill your head with a fog of doubt driven fear and anxiety. They’ll unleash a litany of your flaws and failures. They’ll demand to know ‘WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?’ when in a fleeting moment of apparent madness; you imagined you‘d be perfect for that plum role.
Let these tragic monologues go unchecked and your carefully rehearsed peak performance can fall completely flat.
There’s heaps of inspired help on how to counter acts of spectacular demon fueled self-sabotage and show the world the best version of your talented, valuable self.
Here is what I recommend to help calm your demons when they start giving you the job seeking jitters.
1. Acknowledge and identify them - say hello and get their number
According to Carl Jung who knew a thing or two about demons, ‘what you resist persists’.
First up, don’t try to ignore, block or ‘delete’ those mean messages about how you’re totally rubbish. Instead, try hearing them gently as if your demons were talking about someone else that you know and like.
Applying this tiny sliver of mindfulness can reduce the sting, quiet things down and let you see ‘who’s talking’.
Having gained a bit of ‘mental shush’ have a look at these mind monsters. It’s time to get their measure.
Try the full self-saboteur identikit developed by Stanford University Lecturer and CEO Coach Shirzad Chamine. His work on Positive Intelligence takes a practical and profound look at how our inner sage and saboteurs serve or sink us. Finding your inner saboteurs on Chamine’s list can be enlightening. I score highly on five out of nine, which apparently isn’t a bad thing as it means I have good awareness of when they show up!
Alternatively, ’Taming your Gremlin’ by Rick Carson offers a funny imaginative way to undercut your demon’s power using visualisation and mindfulness.
Context matters, so now you know whom you’re dealing with, get their history.
2. Understand their origins – find out how they got there
Most of our demons started out as protectors. As a kid, being silent and almost invisible or shouty and short-tempered might have kept you physically or emotionally safe. Although we outgrow the circumstances that created these self-protective patterns of thought and action, they often stick with us into adulthood.
Try viewing your demons as longstanding mental minders who’ve outlived their usefulness now that you can take care of yourself.
Remind them that actually you are OK now; in fact you’re in pretty good shape. Let them know that you’re a resilient, clever grown up who can handle the consequences of your career change and other life choices – what ever they turn out to be.
Finally, acknowledge their positive part in the pact you made with your child self to survive and thrive as best you could.
3. Prove them wrong – be a great grown up
Taking steps to calm your demons takes courage and tenacity. They’ve probably held sway in your head for a long time and in the human psyche for much longer. While deleting them entirely is unlikely, dealing skillfully with them is entirely possible.
One way to do that is to strengthen your ‘sage’, the ‘deeper and wiser part of you’ which sees challenges as opportunities not threats. Try Shirzad Chamine’s techniques for channeling your sage. These include predicting and preempting what your demons will say and flashing forward and imagining you’ve got the job already.
When the demons loom large on the job seeking front claiming you’re useless, unlucky, unprepared and so on, counter their claims by:
- Being brilliantly prepared - have an engaging online profile, killer resume, and a fab ‘fake it til you make it’ presence at interview
- Creating a stunning elevator pitch and making it your confidence building mantra (here is a great tutorial video)
- Preparing and memorising your answers to standard interview questions during those positive, confident moments when your demons are less shouty
- Counter the demon dialogues by engaging your cheer squad of family and friends. Talk through job options you’re unsure about or practice your interview skills with real people who have your best interests at heart and are deaf to your demon’s tirades
- Taking calculated risks and preparing to be surprised – network, cold call, follow up without any expectations around the outcome
- Using your demon driven anxiety to reality check your values and strengths. Write and talk about your career successes and your failures, share what they’ve taught you.
- Owning up to being afraid, staying open to chance and change and asking for help if you need it
Need to quiet your career change demons? I can help.
By Jo Green, Career Change Coach
I know how it feels to be lost in your career. That’s why I coach, to create learnings, action and help others get stuff done! Changing your career can be lonely and confusing so I'll walk alongside you, be your cheerleader and help you figure out what meaningful work is for you.
Drop me a note to organise a free 20 minute consultation to chat about your career change and how coaching could help.