What are we afraid of?

Written by Debra Olshan Cooper,
President and Founder of Your Career Design lab

The other night I had a mini-webinar on The Ten Steps To Finding Your Dream Career. What struck me after my webinar had concluded is how many young adults and adults alike are afraid of showing themselves when they are interviewing or connecting with people who can assist in their career search.

One young woman, a bubbly, outgoing, energetic young woman, Susie indicated that while she has two degree’s from two top universities when she is interviewing she becomes a robot. I was stunned that that is how she referred herself to in the interviewing process. How does one lose themselves when being asked questions about themselves? I am not a psychologist, nor do I choose to present I am one, but after several years as a career coach, I have come to discover that without knowing who we are at our core, or our stories there is no way we can show up as ourselves in an interview.

Let’s take Scott …

In the group coaching session, I asked my proverbial question, “Why brought you joy, happiness, and passion when you were in your room losing sight of time until your Mother called you for dinner?” Scott answered, “I loved doing puzzles, the harder, the better.”

I asked what he wanted to pursue as a career path and he gladly answered “statistics.”

I asked what his story would be if an interviewer asked, “ What are your strengths or Tell me a little about yourself.” He answered in the staccato way most young adults answer, “I like statistics because I am good at…” however, after having done the TA-DA question, at that moment, he realized the connection between doing puzzles is where his passion for statistics originated and could now answer, “Ever since I was 5 I loved doing puzzles, I especially loved the ones with 1,000 pieces, being in the field of data analytic and statistics I can continue my passion for putting together ‘puzzle’ pieces.”

Overcoming the imposter syndrome

I have been working with an amazing young man that is planning to become a Vascular Surgeon and has had several opportunities to interview at several prestigious hospitals throughout the state. When it came to the question, “Tell me about yourself” he would wavier and redirect.

Finally I asked, is it difficult to talk about yourself?” He answered “YES”. I asked why? He answered, “I have ‘imposter syndrome’ I don’t feel I am really good enough for any of these hospitals and I am up against such great candidates.” Through our work, I was able to show him that he was good enough and as we went back into his childhood, he was the son and brother everyone looked up to. He was the one that led his team of interns to create a great hospital by implementing protocols that helped with doctor moral and implementation.

Once he was able to SEE who he was, the imposter imploded and was replaced with someone greatly capable and brought value to the interviewing doctors. He was able to reach great rapport with them and stood out among the other candidates.

Own your story

You weren’t afraid of saying you loved puzzles, or drawing or baking when you were a kid, why would you be afraid to share your passion now?

“The words you speak become the house you live in.” – Hafiz

Once we are able to tap into our childhood and bring out our authentic and true nature we will oftentimes find that there is a correlation to our passion and our pursuits. Often times it gets buried beneath the societal rumble of you should be this, you would be good at this, why don’t you pursue this… and we move away from our true desires and most importantly who we were put on this earth to do.

In NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programing, there is the “Swish” exercise where you put what you no longer want in your life and make it small in your subconscious until you are able to make the Swish from what you don’t want to what you do want. With subliminal messaging and linguistics, you can change a person’s conscious thoughts through unprogramming their unconscious.

The saying by Winston Churchill, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” as he was sending his troops into battle is the same for every young adult going out into their careers. If we go out with fear then we will be met with the possibility of being shot down, if we go into it with confidence, conviction and a knowing of who we are and what we stand for the outcome becomes a victory.

What are you afraid of? If this narrative is resonating with you, perhaps it is time for a GPS in your life. Someone, like a coach, who can help you to get to the finish line and help you make a career touch down.

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