Inadvertently Setting Yourself up for Chaos

Team Destruction at rest...
Yet another lesson learned from my dogs this weekend. Saturday morning I decided I could take the house situation no more: I was in a full-force cleaning mode. Furniture was moved; every floor was swept, mopped, scrubbed, polished; stairs were vacuumed; windows all washed; and every piece of furniture dusted.

The kitchen was attacked with vengeance. I fixed the garbage disposal, dishes all done and put away, the counters, sink and floors were scrubbed, and I even moved all the furniture off the rug to clean it with the carpet cleaner. I ran that thing over the carpet a good three times – it was in dire need. I didn’t want to put the furniture back on a damp rug so when I went out Saturday I left the table and chairs along the counters.

So when I returned and walked into chaos in the kitchen it took me a minute to realize it was my own fault. There were puppy prints on the counters, every item that was on the top of the counters was now strewn about the floor, and even items that were on top of the fridge were now scattered about the kitchen floor. Having left the chairs against the counters I left the dogs an easy passage to climb up and explore where they normally could not. And they took full advantage!

I realized as I was cleaning up my kitchen for the second time in 24 hours that I really should not be surprised at chaos if I myself set it up to happen; but how often do we do this to ourselves? Far too often, yet we fail to see our actions are the direct cause of the result.

Keep thinking you cannot get a certain job and your actions will follow your thoughts, which lead to proving you right. Deep down you really want the job, but your doubt causes you to behave in such a way that is counter to your desire. When in conflict I believe that karma chooses the side of action. If this is how you behave then it must be what you really want.

In my classes I compare job searching to dating, so let me use an example from that scenario. You like a person and you think they may kinda-sorta like you; but you are afraid of getting hurt, so you don’t want to be the first one to pony up and admit that you like them. So you act as though you could care less, ignore them, even say things to possibly drive them away all to protect yourself. Let me interject something here – that’s just stupid.

Anyway, to try to protect your faint little heart you act like an ass and guess what, that person reads not what you say, but how you act and makes the determination that you don’t like them and stops communicating with you. Congratulations – you won, you did not get hurt. But you dumb-bunny, you lost in a bigger way than that!

If you want the job, go after it. Look, either way you don’t have it now, right? If you sit on your duff, doubt yourself and keep talking yourself out of it I guarantee you that you will not get the job. I would rather be honest with myself and go after something I want and have a chance of not getting it rather than feel sorry for myself and be able to say, “I knew it wouldn’t happen.”

Do your homework, what will it take to get the job? Is there any preparation that you can do, start utilizing your network to find out more about the company, more about people who work there, if there is anyone in your network that might be able to assist you. Are there events that you can attend in order to get more “in the know”, are there informational interviews that you can conduct to be better prepared, or are there things about how you present yourself that you need to change? Do your homework, be honest with yourself and be willing to put yourself out there. Take a chance of “looking like a fool” to reap the rewards.

Doing nothing leads to nothing. Ask yourself this: are you leaving those chairs along the counters just asking for the very thing you do not want? Are you setting yourself up for failure by the actions you are not taking? Are you inadvertently setting yourself up for chaos?

Taking deliberate action leads to the possibility of a few different outcomes: you could get the job; you could find a different opportunity through all your efforts that is even better than your original goal; you could build a stronger network; or you could feel proud of yourself for making a plan and following through. One possibility is you still don’t get the job, but in my book all the potential positives sure outweigh that one negative.

And throughout the process if you take a step or two backwards, don’t fret, you’re heart isn’t broken – your ego may be bruised a bit, but shake it off, get back up and move forward. There are so few things that with a little bit of work and sincerity that you cannot make right again. So you bomb an informational interview, so what. There are more to be had, learn from your mistake and do better next time. Don’t leave disaster an open path for success – take control of what you can to get what you want.

Lisa K. McDonald
Career Polish, Inc.

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