What You Can Control

Working with those in job transition, I often see people frustrated by lack of progress. Companies take too long to respond after they apply, or they don’t respond at all. The interview process extends over months not weeks. People from their network don’t return their calls quickly. The job seekers are frustrated because they are focused on the results, not their effort.

During the job search the seeker can affect certain parts of the search. They can control the quality of their resume and cover letter, positioning them to make it through the computer scanners and human resources managers. They can affect how they prepare for and respond during phone and in-person interviews. They can control how often and with whom they network as well as their own follow up.

But that is it.

They can’t control if they are chosen for an interview. They can’t control who is interviewing them and what that interviewer is looking for. They can not control the internal politics and a desire to hire from within. They can’t control how quickly the interview process takes or when an offer is made. They can’t control if a company has a hiring freeze just before an extending an offer. Unfortunately, the result of the things they can not control, is where job seekers are usually focused leading to disappointment and stress.

go with the flowWhat are you trying to make happen in your life right now? Where are you frustrated with a slow process? What can’t you wait to be resolved?

Now really look at your situation. What can you control? What is your responsibility to change? What is really in your power to do?

Do what you can and then look at what is left. Release your desire for results and actions you have no control over. I know this is easier said than done, but it is extremely powerful in lessening your stress level. Think of the serenity prayer which says, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Let’s look at the two powerful gifts of this prayer.

First, have power to change what you can. Don’t sit back and complain. Look at what is really in your power and then take action. I also recommend that you hold yourself accountable for the quality of your efforts, not the results. Find peace in knowing you have done the best you can do.

Second, let go of your desire for resolution around the things you can not affect. Let go of your anxiety. Let go of your desire for resolution. It is not the lack of resolution that is causing your pain, but your thought about the lack of resolution. Accepting what you can not change is a mental shift. It is the ability to control how you think about a situation. Just changing your expectations, can lower your stress level.

Focusing on the things we can not control increases stress and makes us feel powerless. Focus instead on your efforts. Focusing on what you can control leads to stress reduction and more contentment.

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