What Worked Yesterday May Ruin It Today

I think the hardest fall is the one that happens when we do what we have always done because it has always been successful and all of a sudden it no longer works.  Boom – gravity introduces us to the sidewalk.

Not only does it hurt but it is confusing.  Why isn’t it working? It has always worked!  So our first instinct is to try harder using what we always have, to the point of exhaustion.  It is incomprehensible that our old way no longer works.  So we continue to bang our head against the wall.

And we continue to get more and more headaches.  We justify using our old ways, we fight letting go, refusing to see the obvious.  We even start blaming the goal that we are trying to achieve rather than admit our old ways don’t work.  We really have a death grip on our old ways.

Hopefully one day the thought creeps in that maybe we should try something new.

Then terror sets in.  Change – the dreaded word.  Breath deep now, you can get through this.

Change doesn’t have to be huge or monumental – sometimes it is a matter of simple adjustments of actions or just a modification of an attitude.

Sometimes a radical change produces no results whereas a subtle change results in radical results.

You don’t want to change absolutely everything because the basic elements of what has brought you to where you are now are still strong, it is a matter of tweaking.  Small steps to gain greater strides.  Not a stone thrower, let me share one of my own experiences.

This realization hit home not too long ago when I was talking to my best friend.  First of all let me just say I have the best friend in the world, there is not enough words to express how much I appreciate and love this woman.  She knows me better than anyone, accepts me for exactly who I am and is the best devil’s advocate a girl could have.

We were in the midst of a conversation in which I was defending my long standing approach to certain things (i.e. the need to control everything) when she gently said, “and it is working so well for you now.”  Damn it!

So I continued to try to justify, bargain and offer explanations (code for excuses) when she then gently said, “it worked before because it was a necessity, now it is a choice because you are not in the same place.”  Damn it!!  Boom – hello concrete.

With that I had to take a really honest look at myself and that is when I saw it, the white knuckles clutching my old pattern of behavior.  Recognition was the important first step, then the work began on modification.  One thing that I used was a rubber band.  When I found myself behaving in the old manner I would snap that sucker on my wrist as a reminder to knock it off.

It is paying off.

Now – back to you.  If you are job searching and becoming frustrated because you are not getting the results that you want, stop and take a look at exactly what you are doing, what you are using and why.

Here are some things to examine that I find make a big difference.


Your Resume


Is it updated and clearly communicating the value that you bring?

Is it written to where you want to go rather than where you want to be?

Does it tell the reader who you are, what you do and how you do it better than anyone else?

Does it have a point?

Is it easy to read?

Does it look too simplistic?

Can a teenager read it and tell you what it is that you do?

Does it tell the reader how you solve problems?

Is it truthful?

Is it showcasing your talents or hiding them?

Does it leave any unanswered questions – like how did you do that, why did you do that, what was the result of you doing that?


Your Approach


Have you told your personal network what you want to do?

Have you communicated this in a way that they understand?

Have you been open to other opportunities?

Have you approached people in a positive and open way?

Are you too vague?

Can you clearly communicate your value?


Your Attitude


Are you expecting people to help you just because you want their help?

Are you trying to help others in return?

Are you too aggressive, expectant or demanding?

Are you letting frustration cloud opportunities?

Are you still angry about past events?

Are you being realistic about where you can go next?

Are you being open to trying something new?

Are you grateful for the help that you do receive?


Sometimes it is a matter or looking at a list and picking out one or two things to tweak.  For example maybe you need to modify your resume to more adequately reflect your key skills while approaching people in a more positive way.  When you think of change don’t let you mind automatically go to an overall complete overhaul.  Small adjustments can make a big difference.

Change isn’t easy but it hurts a lot less than meeting the sidewalk up close and personal.


Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.



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