Build Self Confidence
Honor Your Past Work
We can build self confidence, remember our skills and find our passion through honoring and respecting our past work. Through offering this kindness and respect to ourselves we begin to build the confidence necessary to move into another career.
I see so many people struggling with career change because they worked many years at one job and they are convinced that job is all they are capable of. This dark tunnel vision limits the view. To make matters worse, this is usually the one job they cannot, or choose not to return to.
My husband, Steve, worked for fifteen long years with people who were severely mentally and physically challenged. He longed to change careers and finally did through having a breakdown and taking a medical leave. It is best to leave stressful jobs before our emotions and body declare, "Enough!" and help us to leave.
Steve found it very difficult to career change because he believed he had nothing to offer. His self esteem fell into the toilet. After all, he reasoned, he had "only" worked with the mentally and physically challenged.
Likewise, some wonderfully gifted women in my last group referred to their past work as being "just" a bartender, "just" a waitress and "just" a mom-at-home for many years. The term "I'm just a" or "I only did" denigrate our work. When we invalidate our past work and our past life we demean ourselves and erode our self confidence.
When we use a job title to define and measure our capabilities we straight jacket ourselves.
Like Steve, so many of us, have to come to some acceptance of our past work and of our lives as they are now. Herein, we honor ourselves. This journey can be arduous for often, we are struggling with far more than career change. We are plumbing the depths of our being.
Do you have a story of how you reconnected to your passion? We would love to hear from you! Come and join our live
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For Steve, this uncertain time became a mid-life crisis. In my workshops I have seen men's esteem and worth plummet when they find themselves out of work mid-life. (I am not suggesting this is not also true for women but due to cultural conditioning, I've seen many men brought to sheer despair and utter worthlessness losing a job, mid-life.)
An insightful site I would recommend for men in mid-life crisis (or for women, with mid-life men in their lives) can be found by going to
hosted by Noel McNaughton. As Noel says, "Midlife can be a very challenging time for a man. What we thought we knew, we no longer know. What we thought was important no longer seems to be. It can be a tumultous and confusing time!"
When Steve found the place in himself where he truly felt his own value - regardless of his past or the fact he was out of work - his life began to change. The hopelessness of "there is no work - I don't know what I can do," shifted.
Remember Your Skills and Your Passion
We need to remember that there is a huge measure of honor and success in working any job for years. Plus, no doubt, an incredible range of skills were learned during those years!
The tough part is giving ourselves credit for what we are capable of and being willing to mine our past for the gold. Yet, it is worth the effort to do exactly this. Owning our accomplishments and honoring our lives helps build the confidence required to change careers.
Are you willing to stop now and spend some time delving into your past for the pearls? Pondering your past, can bolster your self confidence, help you remember what work brings you joy and what skills you possess.
Read the following questions about your past work and then sit quietly with them for awhile. Journal any images or answers that may come to you. Let go of any self criticism that may arise.
Take a few deep breaths, relax your body, let go and trust. Go within and ask yourself the following questions.What did you do in a day?
What did you care about in your work? What did you enjoy doing the most and why? What were the most important things you learned in those years of work? What gave you a sense of pride in your work?
Through reconnecting with the good in our past work, we honor our life and feel better about ourselves. Take the time and write a detailed story of everything you did in a day (or over several days). Within this story you will see you have a powerful list of skills you can transfer to other jobs. Also, look for pieces you did well and really enjoyed as here is a clue to your passion.
Owning your skills and remembering what you enjoy helps to rebuild self confidence and find your passion. As most people's esteem is hurt amidst career uncertainty, we need this boost of self confidence.
Beyond Fear and Panic in Job Search
At first, when I lost my two stores, I began my job search from fear and panic and grabbed the first job I could find. I was a single mom at the time and in dire financial need.
After winning a stiff job competition and finding myself in a new sales job I did not want, I felt grave despair. Upon quitting two weeks later I knew seeking a new career from fear and panic did not work.
It was here I began doing some serious soul searching. Upon pondering my ten years in women's retail I discovered I had never enjoyed standing on the floor selling clothing!
I enjoyed communicating, teaching, mentoring, leading. I thoroughly enjoyed facilitating our staff workshops and the customer appreciation evenings. Once I realized what I did not want to do and what I enjoyed doing I had the thread to begin my career search.
This is what you are looking for - threads to begin your career decision making. To quote the Beatles, changing careers is a long and winding road. You cannot expect to find a ready-made tapestry featuring your ideal job.
Yet, by gathering and appreciating the many colored threads of your life, you are building self confidence and weaving your lifework tapestry.
Follow these slender threads of your life. They will connect you to what you need as will
following your heart in career and job search.... read on...
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