I’ve been working out for a long time – most of my adult life. In fact, most people who meet me today assume I was a tomboy as a child. Today it’s rare to hear words like “tomboy.” Girls who play sports are athletically inclined, just like boys who play sports.
But that doesn’t matter because, as a child, I avoided sports like the plague. I was a wuss. I liked to read. I wore dresses. I didn’t know what a point guard was, let alone a quarterback. Somewhere in my early twenties I took a class and then another and, along the way, became a certified gym rat and fitness fanatic.
The nice thing about working out is that, if you get a trainer and do what they tell you, you’ll make progress. Your results will differ because of genetic programming. Some people grow muscle faster and more easily than others. Some people are so coordinated they move on to play sports. Some go on to run marathons.
But one thing is sure: if you keep going back, you’ll get better.
“Class was easier than usual today.”
“And today too.”
“Oh…maybe it’s not the class. Maybe it’s me.”
That’s what’s nice about exercise. You just keep doing it and you see results as if by magic.
Other areas of life work the same way.
In a career context, though, it’s harder to identify “proper form” and recognize whether you’re making progress or spinning wheels.
For instance, you’ll hear about people who sent out 1000 resumes with no results. That’s like lifting weights in the gym that are too light to challenge you; you move a lot but nothing happens. You need to know …
… Are your resumes written well, to capture the eye of the reader?
… Do people get hired for this job, in this field, via resumes sent in cold? Or do you need to get an “in?”
… Are you searching for a job with unwritten requirements that you don’t have?
… Are you unconsciously projecting something negative – perhaps just with a word or phrase that subconsciously influences the reader
… Are you applying for a job in a field that’s no longer growing so they haven’t hired anybody?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re in the position of someone who goes to a gym and works out faithfully, but doesn’t use good form or choose the right exercises to reach your goals. You might have fun or even break a sweat, but you won’t see the results you want.
When you been doing something for a long time and getting nowhere – anything from networking to sending out resumes to answering ads – you need to stop and review. It’s easy to give up too soon but you can get exhausted and demoralized from meaningless, repetitive action that leads nowhere.
Before you begin any career activity that calls for repeated, set a tripwire so you stop and evaluate after a certain number of repetitions or a certain amount of time.
“If I send out 50 resumes and get no results, I’m going to get a professional to review my resume.”
“If I’ve been networking for three months and am not making progress, I’ll ask a trusted mentor (not in my own company) to review my strategy and get new ideas.”
“If I still hate my job in six months and haven’t done anything to change, I will sign up for a course or call a career consultant.”
There’s a fine line between perseverance and banging one’s head against a wall. If you’d like an objective sounding board, I offer one-off consultations. Typically clients just need one or two consultations – not the usual three-month or six-month coaching contracts. Start here to learn more.