Island News

It starts with self-confidence

Written By : SUN FIJI NEWSROOM. “What should I do with the rest of my life?” Many young people feel overwhelmed at the beginning of their careers. They see all
12 Sep 2009 12:00

Written By : SUN FIJI NEWSROOM. “What should I do with the rest of my life?”
Many young people feel overwhelmed at the beginning of their careers.
They see all their friends and their classmates getting great fast-track jobs with good salaries – or at least it seems that way.
They hear their parents telling them to work here or there, or get some graduate degree or other.
It’s enough to make you panic. And that’s OK; it’s natural. But it won’t really help you move forward.
For that, you have to come to terms with the fact that most careers are not launched by a grand decision about where you want to end up and a clever game plan on how to get there.
No, most careers are iterative. They start with one somewhat appealing job – that is, a job that feels like it might be a pretty good match for your skills, interests, and goals.
That job typically ends up being not exactly right, so it leads to a job that has a somewhat better fit, which leads to another job with an even better fit.
And so on and so on, until one day – often years from the starting line – you find yourself in the job you have actually been waiting for all your life, the one that gives you meaning and purpose.
The one you wished you had known about back when you started but couldn’t – simply because you hadn’t started working yet.
But you know what? Even that ‘perfect’ job will not be without its trails and tribulations.
You may be at it for six months and then get a lousy new boss. Or your company may be acquired and your job may change or go away entirely. And your journey will need to start again.
My point is, careers are long and unpredictable. They are rarely linear. They zig and zag, stop and start, and take many unexpected twists and turns.
Hard work and talent matter, and luck will play a role too.
The key for you at this point is just to start. Learn about growing companies, emerging markets trends, influential people, and new cultural phenomena. Talk with people in different professions and with varied life stories. Go on interviews.
Ask questions. Mull it all over, with your head and your heart. And incidentally, the latter will probably tell you at least as much as the former.
Then act – take a job. Remember, it doesn’t have to be the job. It just needs to be a job that feels good enough to get you going.
The job that calls you -the career you were meant for- will come.
And it will be part of a life long journey that you will follow, like most people, one step at a time.

“One thing holds me back: fear of blowing it. How can I get some nerve?”
You don’t really need ‘nerve’ exactly- you need self-confidence. Without it, you are going nowhere, but you may seem to know that already.
Only you know why and how self-confidence has eluded you so far. Perhaps you weren’t born with much, as there does indeed seem to be a genetic component to it. But by far, self-confidence is a developed trait.
Some people get it at their mother’s knee, where they first hear the happy news that their every bright comment qualifies them for a Nobel Prize, or that they’re taller, more clever, and certainly better looking than every other child on the block. Others et it from great grades that set them apart, or sports at school, whether they score goals or get elected captain.
But there are no rules about where self-confidence begins. I know of a twenty-seven year old who picked up self-confidence by watching his father struggle to put food on their table. Today, this gutsy guy if fresh off an MBA and sees no limits to his future.
I also know of a manager who got his first dose of self-confidence as an adolescent, when he learned to pilot a small boat alone and spent his holidays reeling in fish. “After that,” he told me, “I thought I could anything.”
Could he? Absolutely not. Through his long career, this manager would tell you he has blown it many times, and his deep reservoir of self-confidence overcame it everytime.
You need to start creating that kind of reservoir for yourself, even if it is from scratch.
How? Not with grandiose plans concocted to hurl you to fame and fortune and quash your fear of failure once and for all.
Too many people believe that one big, public success will solve their self-confidence problems forever.
That only happens in the movies.
In real life, the opposite strategy is what works. Call it the “small victories” approach.
To begin, set a realistic goal, be it at work or home. Keep this goal attainable and contained; don’t overextend your expectations of yourself the first time out.
Then achieve that goal and feel good. You should.
Next, set a slightly larger goal, something somewhat bolder and enough of a stretch to put you slightly out of your comfort zone. Achieve that goal and feel even better. And so forth until you’re in a slow and steady forward march, building self-confidence step-by-step.
And it will build. There’s nothing more effective than tackling a challenge incrementally, growing and learning each time.
Now, without doubt you will screw up along the way as you try to build self-confidence. But when you small victory turns out to be a small defeat, do not revert to fear mode. Go deep into that reservoir, understand what went wrong, set another goal, and start again.
Te process won’t ever really end. As time goes on, your goals will just keep getting bigger and bigger. And failure, which will also occur on occasion, will come to feel like less and less of a thing to fear.
In time, you will discover that all failing really does is teach you something you needed to know – so you can regroup and stretch again, with ever more….NERVE.

By Sunila karan
Counsellor/Personal Development Trainer
sunilakaran@connect.com.fj. For stress management/counseling & communication training. Contact Ph: 9996807



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