Sometimes You Have to Restart Your Engines

What do you do when you feel that your career may be flushing down the drain? Hit the Internet sites with an updated resume—after all, everyone knows that there are zillions of jobs posted, right? 

Start calculating how much time you’ve accrued when the ax falls—with accumulated sick and vacation time, the company is bound to give you some severance. 

How about calling Dr. Laura—she’s capable so summing up your situation in a nanosecond. 

Here’s another way—look in the mirror and have a serious chat with you.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from an executive with a publicly held company. She had followed several of my columns and wrote that her business life was not so good. In the last few years, she’s found that she no longer speaks up at meetings, that her leadership skills are tarnishing and that she doesn’t have any faith in herself. She seriously wondered how long she would be able to stay employed.

After some coaching via email, I encouraged her to get my book, The Confidence Factor—Cosmic Gooses Lay Golden Eggs. Two weeks ago, I got this email. With her permission, I’m sharing it with you—

Well, I got your book as you recommended and I read it. This week, it was the first thing I would do every morning from 6 to 8 before I would start work. I also used the book for journaling thoughts and ideas about what I was going through right now. I really enjoyed reading the stories and the specific points you made really hit home. Here are the actions I have either already started to take or that I am planning to take:

Surround myself with people I respect and are positive. Mentally reinforce all my good qualities and make sure I show those qualities to others every day.

Admit it when I have failed and move on. Be smarter the next time.

Do more things to impress myself and don’t worry about the need to impress others so they will like me more.

I don’t need to be in control of everything all the time.

Realized that sometimes when people act like they really don’t get what I just said, it doesn’t make me wrong. It could be because they are not ready to hear what I have to say.

Make a list of my accomplishments and the best experiences I have had in life so far.

Treat others in a way that helps them to feel better about themselves.

A week after I got the above email, another arrived. My writer continued—

I wanted to let you know that I did very well in a meeting yesterday. I didn’t hold back my comments and opinions. It was a very important meeting (the future of our department) and I was pleased with the outcome. At one point, I expressed an opinion that no one agreed with. I laughed and said to myself, ‘Well, at least I helped them become very clear about what they don’t want.’ 

Before the meeting, I was still nervous and almost avoided attending. I still have much work to do before I regain my confidence, but at least I am on my way.

Confidence is the power to create the regard, the appreciation, the caring that you have for you.

In a word, confidence is the reputation that you have for you. It’s not genetic; it rarely comes from having the ideal environment. It comes for the school of hard knocks, Life 101, making mistakes, and failing (and getting back up). It comes from living, not hiding in the shadows when problems and negative events surface and the ability and willingness to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself.