Career Calling

December 20, 2013

The Power of Emotion

I’ve lived in Chicago for over 20 years.  In that time, I’ve become a fan of the Loyola University men’s basketball team.  Yesterday, I attended a game between Loyola’s Ramblers and the Northern Illinois University Huskies.  The first half was ugly, but it went well for the Ramblers who were up 28-14.  The Huskies of NIU seemed lost and defeated.

Then the second half happened.  I noticed that NIU head coach Mark Montgomery took off his jacket.  He paced the sidelines and was animated in directing his players on the court.  Their teammates jumped off the bench every time NIU scored or made a great defensive play.  A small group of NIU fans grew louder and louder.  The tables had turned.  Now Loyola was feckless and fumbling.  The game ended as a 55-49 victory for the Huskies.

What does this have to do with career management?  Everything.  Coach Montgomery willed his team to victory.  He inspired them to play and believe that they could win.  Anyone who has to find a new job or make a career change needs to have the same psychological resources.  Almost every job search is filled with moments when we feel like the Huskies did in the first half: lost and defeated.  However, if we dig deep and kindle the power of emotion, miracles can happen.  If we rise above any kind of excuses or self-pity, we will move forward and take the action needed to find a good job or a new career.  Losing the first half means nothing if we find a way to win the game.

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