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Down . . . But Not “OUT”: Setbacks Are Expected, It’s How You Recover That Counts

Although the media touts that the recession is over, unemployment (and under employment) is still a major issue, and keeping a positive outlook may be a full-time job in and of itself.

A few years ago I had the honor of partnering with The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, Orlando Health, Dress for Success Greater Orlando, AEGIS Law Firm, and WMFE to work with ten amazing women who found themselves in need of a little encouragement, empowerment, and ultimately, gainful employment. The participants were given a day of “new beginnings” at the Ritz-Carlton Spa, gaining tips on interviewing skills, creating positive perception, and empowering themselves to achieve their goals.

While working with our participants, it occurred to me that although the circumstances for each of us may differ, it’s likely that the core symptoms of the lagging economy may have a similar effect on just about all of us.

For that reason, I’ve put together some of my top tips for ensuring that you are doing everything you can to gain or maintain your reputation as a confident, relevant, asset to any company (whether you’re currently employed or looking for employment).

Tip 1: Keep a positive attitude and demonstrate your “forward thinking” skills. Whether you’re interviewing for a job, talking with your co-workers, or meeting with your senior management team, your attitude will significantly impact your message. The workplace is changing (leaner staffing, adjusted budgets, fewer resources), and your ability to adapt and improvise will surely win you bonus points. For instance, in an interviewing situation, focus on the positive and talk about your ability to overcome obstacles, create and implement process improvements, and provide value to the company (it’s never to late to learn these skills if you don’t already possess them). If you’re currently employed, be sure to let your employer know that you’re open to suggestions and in fact want to look at ways to support company growth and sustainability. It’s more important than ever to let it be known that you are working for the greater good.

Tip 2: Look the part. As they say, “You teach others how to treat you.” Make sure you are doing everything you can to help others “see” you in the role you’d like to gain or maintain. I was amazed at how differently we “viewed” our participants once they had their hair, makeup and clothing transformation and regained their self-confidence. I heard several people mention that Ratonya (pictured) now looked like an executive. She even walked a little taller. Which is why it may be equally important to note that when you look and conduct yourself in a professional manner, you remind yourself of your own potential. This can be especially important if you’ve found yourself in a place where you may have been “downsized” in your organization and you don’t seem to have the self-confidence you used to. I recommend getting dressed for work every day, even if you’re just running errands. Maintaining your identity and self-confidence, especially when you’re in transition, is essential.
Ratonya “Before” Ratonya “After”

Tip 3: Act “as if.” If you’ve had a setback or simply don’t feel you’re at the point where you want to be, it’s important to conduct yourself “as if” you’ve already achieved success. When you’re asked how you are, your answer is “Great!” The more you see yourself in that state, the more you will believe in yourself, and your confidence level will rise.

Following the workshop, Shaneek, one of the participants in the process of looking for employment, contacted me and said “My daughters were so excited to see me after the session. They expressed how this was the way I looked before and that they would love to see me like this everyday. . . it really made me see what my children were missing, and most of all what I was missing. . . so now I wake up and get dressed to go to work even if I’m just going to take them to school or go to the store. If I do this I know I will get the job soon!” Shortly after that, Shaneek sent me a note telling me that she had secured employment!

Hmm, I wonder if her renewed confidence had anything to do with it? After-all, so much of your success depends on who you think you are. So go for it, and Actualize Success!

©2017 Lisa Broesch-Weeks. All rights reserved internationally. Permission granted to excerpt or redistribute with attribution and notification.