Don't Let Negative Thinking Derail You!
From Career Tips, 2006 Volume 12, December 2006
Welcome to the December issue of Career Tips. I'm enjoying The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, where I came across this quote:
"People often assume that there are vast differences in emotional intelligence between members of different professions. Engineers, accountants and scientists are often believed to have a low emotional intelligence ... there is essentially no difference among the average scores of various professions ... The only group that scores a great deal lower than the other professions is the group whose members have no profession at all: the unemployed."
So for all of you engaged in a career search, one clear way to differentiate yourself is to seek out ways to improve your emotional intelligence. And the good news is that:
"emotional intelligence ... is so critical to success that it accounts for 60 percent of performance in all types of jobs. It's the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence ... the best thing about emotional intelligence is that it's a highly flexible skill ... those who score low can actually catch up to their coworkers."
Don't Let Negative Thinking Derail You!
Have you ever let a sense of defeatism prevent you from attempting something you assumed was hopeless?
Have you ever walked into a situation you considered hopeless, and walked out with a result better than you ever imagined?
People are often surprised to find out how much their emotional state drives their actions, and limits the results they achieve. We tend to assume that our emotions are a "logical consequence" of the situation, and then react to the emotions, instead of recognizing that we have a great deal of control over our emotions and reactions. For example, if you are in a bad mood, you can choose to stay in that state, or you can choose to take action to change that. You can act like you are actually in a good mood, smiling, straightening your shoulders, and looking for something positive in your situation. Pretty soon you will feel better. This will make you act more genuinely like you are in a good mood, making you feel better, etc.
I have seen how exactly this cycle of action leading to emotion leading to more action can adversely impact one's career. Think about this: what does it do to you when you have to work with a team member who is constantly negative, criticizing others' decisions, complaining about assignments, and saying that it will never work? On the other hand, doesn't it energize you to work with someone who is upbeat, with a can-do attitude, who is willing to go out of his or her way to help you and the project succeed? It's pretty clear which person you would prefer on your team, isn't it? So who do you think is more likely to get tapped for that next interesting assignment, to be approached by a former boss about a new job, or to have a positive reputation create new opportunities even among those who don't know him/her directly?
In an interview in December's Entrepreneur magazine, Chris Gardner states:
"I never doubted myself. I knew I just needed one opportunity ... all I had to do was convince somebody that I could be successful on Wall Street ... When the sun cannot come up soon enough in the morning because you want to do your thing, you're going to be successful, and money has nothing to do with it."
What an example of positive thinking! And this comes from someone who went from raising his son alone while homeless, to starting his own highly successful brokerage firm. His autobiography comes out this month as the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.
Put the power of positive thinking to work in your career or career search. Imagine the result you want, and put yourself mentally in that role. Instead of worrying about the barriers that others might put in your way, and then letting them defeat you, look at them as interesting problems to solve. Put together your strongest possible presentation, and go out to present it proactively, positively and persistently. You may be surprised at the progress you make, and even if you need to make corrections to your course, you will find that many are impressed by your approach and your positive attitude in face of challenges. And that alone may lead to new, interesting opportunities!