I grew up with siblings so there were often times that one of us would grab the last of something not because we really wanted it but we wanted to make sure the other two didn’t get it.
I think it funny that I see the same behavior in my pack of dogs. My eldest who is 12 years old and no longer interested at all in playing with toys or quite frankly the other dogs will sometimes commandeer a coveted toy just to keep it away from the pups.
Ironically I see this “I don’t want it but you can’t have it” behavior a lot in so called adults. I think it is the primary reason there are divorce attorneys.
When I do coaching one important aspect that we dive into is the understanding of not only why you do what you do but why you want to pursue certain opportunities. Maybe it is not a matter of preventing someone else to take your opportunity but rather an inability to recognize your opportunity.
Sometimes you will go after a position because it is what you have always done and you are not able to see yourself in any other way. Sometimes you are on a specific career path and quite content with it so in those instances it is perfectly fine.
But it is not fine if you go after certain opportunities because they are the “safe bet”. They are not taxing on you, not what you want, but at least you feel fairly confident that you can land the position. It is an avoidance of rejection.
One of the biggest reasons we do not pursue an opportunity is the fear of rejection. No one likes rejection so why set yourself up, right? Why not take the safe bet, why apply because you probably aren’t going to get it anyway, right? Wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I am sure a life of no risk all safety and security might be a pretty fine way to go but I bet it is pretty flat line too. No real highs or lows. Always staying in that safe zone keeps you from getting rejected but it also keeps you from experiencing a greater level of satisfaction, happiness or self-worth.
Years ago I began in the workforce as a legal secretary and I could have continued over the next twenty years in the same capacity because it was something that I loved. I loved being admin. So I transferred to another admin job and it was great. But then I was fortunate that I was forced to change within the company which led to another position leading into management.
I was scarred to death. It wasn’t something I wanted but it was either step up or step out so I chose to stay employed. Once I got that opportunity something in me stirred and I started to want a little more. I had experienced greater highs and lows than my normal comfort zone. Although the lows were very unpleasant the highs made up for it. Long story short here I am.
When you are reviewing prospective opportunities take a minute to examine what you are being drawn to – is it the same job over and over again? Is it a job you don’t even like but you know you can do so it is safe? Keep going to the same type of job that you don’t even like is like re-marrying the wrong person. Not so smart and not so good for you.
I have also heard people say that they have a pattern, that they get into various situations and they all end the same – not well. I hate to tell you this, but that is all on you. First, if you have the expectation that the next job will end just like the last few then guess what – it will. You are setting the expectation, which in turn will subconsciously set your behavior, which in turn leads to the expected result. Knock it off.
Try looking for something that scares you a little bit. Yes, you have to put yourself out there. You will be forced to sell yourself and communicate to the prospective employer that even though this isn’t your expertise you can do it. That is a very scary prospect and just ripe for all kinds of rejection.
But here’s the thing – what if you get the job? You actually convince them that you can do it and they agree. Holy cow! What a feeling of excitement and a good adrenaline rush of fear. If you made it past that first step then you can take the next. Before you know it by sticking your toe outside your comfort zone you could start racking up some pretty good highs. That’s worth it my friend.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.