Keep Ya Head Up
“Momma used to say…”
I love the Tupac Shakur classic, “Keep Ya Head Up” because the chorus is so universally uplifting. “Keep ya head up, oooo child things are gonna get easier, ooooo child things are gonna get brighter.” When you’re out there in the midst of a career transition, if there’s one thing you gotta do, it’s keep ya head up!
Regardless of whether you’re waiting for that email back from your college friend’s ex-office mate who’s now the CEO of a hot, new startup or if you were just rejected from the one place you had your heart set on, it’s inevitable that doubt will creep into your thoughts. Whether it’s triggered by downtime, rejection or boredom, there is no fool-proof method for preventing the uncomfortable feelings associated with doubt during times of uncertainty.
Here are a few tricks for staying positive and breaking out of the funk:
I’m a process kind of person. I need to break things down into smaller components in order to understand the big picture. When I first contemplated leaving the law, the scariest thing was picturing what I would do next. I had no road map, let alone a clear end in sight. Guess what? I also had the same feeling when training for a ten-mile obstacle course relay race last fall.
When it came to the race, I started a cross-fit regimen two months prior. By training with short-intense workouts four times per week, I built a combination of muscle mass and agility. With each week, I became faster and stronger, which in turn built my confidence.
Similarly, in my career transition, I enlisted the help of a great career counselor. Between each session, I completed homework assignments that were the building blocks for figuring out what I wanted in my professional life. One week, I listed every single job I had from the age of 12 and what I liked, didn’t like and the lessons learned. By reconnecting with these experiences, it was easier for me to identify my core values. After identifying my core values, it became easier to identify the type of work that makes me happy. All in all, the smaller steps made it much easier to take the bigger leaps.
It’s not just the chorus to an LMFAO song. Exercising is an integral part of staying positive because among other things, it helps reduce stress. There are way too many articles online linking regular exercise with all sorts of positive effects like improving mood and boosting energy, for a non-expert like me to give lip service in a short blog post. Suffice to say, that in the middle of a long run, while listening to uplifting music, I personally start to feel like anything is possible and with the help of Runkeeper, I can track my results. Good tunes + good vibes + measurable physical improvement = great way to feel positive.
Momma said there’d be days like this
Did you ever have a time in your life when what you wanted didn’t work out? Did you pick yourself up? If you did, then you certainly have some empirical evidence that with time and perseverance, the cards fell in your favor. There’s no exact formula but patience, a little luck and hard work go a long way. The timing may not always be on your own watch but it’s a whole lot easier to have faith when you have some proof that you powered through a difficult time. Plus, if all else fails, then I suggest remembering the helpful adage used time and time after again by my sister, “Rejection is G-d’s form of protection”.
Staying positive, upbeat and enthusiastic about the road in front of you is equally, if not more important for landing that next job because everyone, from employers to friends to family members and even pets feed off our energy. Quite simply they pick up what we’re putting down. So if you ever find yourself in a funk, just remember, keep ya head up!
Legally Free is a blogger for StrengthsInsight and an attorney at law in the midst of a career transition. As he makes his way through his transition, he will share insights into his journey of ditching his former legal career and rediscovering his love for innovative business, new and interesting people and having fun.
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