Becky Roth Coaching, LLC - Moving Your Career Forward
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January 2014

Small Steps

Finding a new job can seem like an impossible task if you are thinking of it as a single item on a checklist. This can lead to "all or nothing" thinking -- each day you either find the job or you don’t. Putting yourself under that kind of win-lose pressure can freeze up the motivation of even the most optimistic person. 
There are actually many pieces to finding the right job -- the key to moving forward is to recognize and celebrate all the small victories and learning opportunities along the way.
When I was in graduate school, I remember one of my counseling classes focusing on the word compartmentalize. It means to “divide into sections or categories.”
I have always liked that word because it makes sense to break things down. When life gets overwhelming, I try to remember to take a deep breath and find ways to compartmentalize whatever I'm facing down into smaller steps.  
I recently read a good article on using smaller steps in your job search. Check it out here.
When you begin a job search you can be overwhelmed with many questions and possibilities such as:

  • Where do I begin? 
  • Should I work on my resume or start networking?
  • What do I want to do?
  • Should I look online for jobs?  

If you expect to immediately find a single solution to all those questions, you won’t be allowing yourself the time and space to fully explore the possibilities available to you.

When I work with clients, I find it best if we begin with the basic question, “What do you want to do first to begin your job search?” 
Starting with something you value makes you feel good and it's usually something you can easily accomplish. Then, you keep asking and answering more questions until a plan begins to take shape. It definitely helps to have a thinking partner to keep you on track -- whether that is a friend or a career coach. 

Finding that new job is a big undertaking and getting started with that first small step is the key.  After that, it's just a matter of "step…repeat…step…repeat." 


Searching for a new job can start to feel like a full-time job. Don’t forget to allow yourself to enjoy the process. 

You are embarking on a journey, and journeys can be just as enjoyable as they are challenging. Look forward to the possibilities instead of looking back at defeats.

Ralph Waldo Emerson put it well when he said that,
"Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

Here are Some Steps to Help You 
Let Go of that "Old Nonsense" 
and Enjoy Getting Back into the Career Game

1. Remember that self-care is not being selfish. Make sure you do one thing a day for yourself. For example, you could do something to feel good about your external appearance like get a haircut, manicure, or a new outfit for interviews. 

If you're an extrovert, plan a fun outing with a friend. If you're introverted, you can allow for more quiet time doing something nice for yourself. That sense of self care will come through when you network and interview. It will help you look forward to your career search and boost your confidence.  

2. Shift your paradigm from negative to positive thoughts. Focus on what you have instead of what you don't have. It can be easy to dwell on deficiencies, but appreciating yourself and your accomplishments energizes you and keeps inertia from setting in. 

Have you thought about volunteering?  Volunteering can really help your job search if you target your volunteering. Figure out how much time do you have to give each week and try to find something you enjoy that would enhance your resume.

3. Think about ways to balance your energy. You may feel pressured to be the best at everything, but keep in mind that you may not be able to do it all, so be realistic and plan to do what you can and do it well. As you search for your new career, make sure to keep your momentum moving forward.

Albert Einstein once advised, 
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” 

4.How you think affects how you feel, try to limit some of your everyday stress. 
This reminds me of great advice I once read about how to deal with stress: When you get overwhelmed, ask yourself, "Will this matter in 10 days, 10 months, or 10 years?" Probably not. Knowing that every single decision isn't a 'make it or break it' moment can help you to manage your stress and get your head back into the career game.  

Make sure to read my next blog about taking small steps.