Recently, I’ve been working with a few clients who have been afraid to take some risks in their job search. Risks such as applying to jobs they’re under/over qualified for, calling or e-mailing a potential hiring manager and networking. With some other clients, the risks have been asking for a promotion, raise or feedback.
My standard response is consistently, “Do you want to live a life filled with “what ifs”?
In my personal world, I define a “what if” as “what if you didn’t do that” or “what if you did do that”; basically what if… anything. Before I refined it into a “what if”, I used to define it as living a life of no regrets, as I myself, refuse to ask the question “what if” anymore.
Let me be the first to say it and definitely not the last, living a life of no regrets is really hard, but not impossible; it’s really all in your head. All throughout life, we choose our own actions and we must live with what follows; good and bad. Very similarly to Newton’s third law, to every action there is always an equal reaction.
The way I see it, is mentally; it’s all in your head. We choose whether or not we want to regret something…we choose to live a life filled with what ifs. I get it… I really do; we all have done something stupid in our lives, but have we not learned something from it? Did it not make us a better person to some degree? If you answered no, then you haven’t done enough self-reflection. Self-reflection is another topic I could write on forever as I believe it something that we as a society have forgotten. The point is that you should never answer no; you shouldn’t want to answer no.
Life is only filled with “what ifs” if you haven’t done any self-reflection; if you haven’t learned anything. Dig back into your personal history, dig up those bones and ask the question “what if”. What can you learn from it? The point here is that it’s okay to ask “what if” when reflecting upon past scenarios, but we don’t want to create our life around “what ifs”. We do not want to dwell on the past in a negative manner. We learn from it, move on and make the necessary adjustments so that it doesn’t happen again in the future. You need to get all the “what ifs” out of your system because no longer should you be living that life. From now on, no more “what ifs”.
However, back to our job search. Have you ever wondered, “what if I did apply to that job in Chicago?” or “what if I had a better interview for that job?” or “what if I had only prepared more for that conversation?” If you have, I can tell you that you’re not alone. I deal with clients all the time who ask me questions just like those and I tell them this story.
Here is your job search tip. If you come across a job posting that you really like, but feel you don’t meet all the qualifications, for whatever reason, apply anyways. Why are you disqualifying yourself before you even give yourself a chance? If you won’t stand up and fight for yourself then who will? At the end of the day, you don’t know what the hiring manager and/or company is looking for.
A good friend of mine applied for a job out of college that required 5 years of experience in a particular field and they only had 5 months. Eek! Long story short, they applied anyways and ending up getting the job. Why? They told me that they later found out that the hiring manager had interviewed over 20+ people all extremely qualified for the job, but they didn’t have the passion that he was looking for. Along came my friend and the hiring manager said, I was willing to take a chance on you and train you because of the passion you had for this field and potential that you showed me.
So no longer should you be living a life of “what ifs”. Get out there, challenge yourself, put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Next time, you feel a “what if” situation come on, stop, reflect and decide what you ultimately want, but whatever you decide, know that you must live with the repercussions; both good and bad. It’s ok to make bad decisions! Sometimes it’s the bad decisions where we learn the most, but the way to move on from the bad decisions is to accept and learn from them. It is then that you will truly flourish and grow into the person that you’re meant to be.