OK, you’ve read all the guides rules and advice on job interviews…and you still blew it. You said the wrong thing. Maybe you said a LOT of wrong things and felt like the basketball player who scored a point in the opponent’s side of the court. What happened?
You really didn’t want the job. Deep down, you knew it was all wrong for you. In her book, Find Your Own North Star, Martha Beck wrote about a woman who was asked why she wanted a job in banking. The woman said, “I really don’t like banking.” Since she was interviewing with a bank (like, duh!) the interview rapidly went south.
Martha Beck advised the woman to forget about banking jobs. “Your body is telling you something,” she said. “You don’t belong there.”
I had a similar experience when I interviewed for a job in one of the midwestern “I” states. As soon as I got off the plane I knew I was in trouble. Everything felt wrong. My skirt was too short (yes, I wore nice suits in those days, especially to interviews). I couldn’t get excited about the special lunch at the Holiday Inn with a choice between jello and macaroni salads.
And I still feel slightly guilty as I look back. The people were nice. They meant well. I was intrigued by the salary and many aspects of the opportunity. It just wasn’t right for me.
I didn’t know the job was all wrong for me. But my intuition did. And somehow my inner senses hijacked my brain and the rest is history. I took a job in Florida instead.
Learn more about how your intuition can help you reach your career and business goals. Other Special Reports available here.
When you feel lost and confused, it is easy to give your power to anyone who appears on your doorstep — a coach, a counselor, even a good friend or relative. People in transition, who are seeking direction, are especially vulnerable to anyone who offers help. The US government has developed programs to protect newly-bereaved citizens who are vulnerable to claims from funeral services.
Sometimes I meet people who have been laid off or otherwise terminated. They have been sitting on the couch for a long time, trying to decide what to do. They have undertaken introspective life reviews. They may have begun a frantic search for a new career, sending out batches of resumes. Perhaps they called half a dozen friends to commiserate about the evils of the workplace.
After six months or a year, they get a new sense of purpose. They visit a career center, call a couch or check out the services of the Small Business Administration.
Inevitably, when you get off the couch and start moving, you need to learn a new way to walk. Maybe you were a champion networker when you were vice president of Mega Corp, and now you are a job seeker or a start-up entrepreneur. Maybe you wrote award-winning ads, and now you are faced with selling yourself through a resume.
Starting over is much harder than starting out. Author Martha Beck says that career transition feels like going back to kindergarten. You feel that everybody knows more than you and you really want to go back to the way things were before.
And one day you wake up and realize, “Wait a minute! I know more than I realized!”
You may be angry with those who steered you in the wrong direction — or with yourself for not paying attention.
You may be angry with someone who says, “You can’t do that!” when you know perfectly well you can.
I am not suggesting you lash out at those who offended you, although I think you can ask for reparation if you can demonstrate that someone really harmed you. I am not suggesting that you make decisions while you are angry.
But if you have let your intuition lie dormant or you have responded passively to events around you, anger is a sign that you are getting your power back. You are turning on the juice. Your intuition is beginning to overpower the wet blankets, the poison darts, and the well-meaning-but-misguided mentors.
Some clients are surprised when they feel angry. Some believe that only happiness can signal that a transition is going well.
In his book The Art Of Work, Jeff Goins recalls the time he attended a workshop on careers. He insisted he didn’t know his purpose … and then he realized of course he did. He wanted to write. He was just a little afraid of the idea.
“I want a career change.”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, okay, I’ve had this inkling …”
And that’s the first step to find your dream career, especially if you’re a mid-life career changer. Your inklings come from your knowledge and experience. I think of them as text messages from your intuition.
However, many people don’t know what to do with these inklings. Sometimes they’re, quite frankly, unwelcome. Sometimes they feel disruptive.
These questions arise quite frequently. Watch this short video and leave a comment to register your opinion.
Nearly all career change (and business strategy) conversations begin the same way.
“I don’t know what I want.”
Sometimes you know and the idea is just too scary. Sometimes you’ve got inklings and you want to ignore them.
The idea is, deep down you know the answers to your own questions. You know what you want to do. But you can test your inklings with just a few steps.
Intuition works off information. The more familiar you are with a situation, the more your intuition kicks in.
There’s a famous story of a firefighter who entered a burning building and ordered everyone out, immediately. Seconds later the roof fell in.
On one level, he “just knew.” On another, he had been through so many fires he was picking up subtle cues that others missed
When you’re changing careers or starting a side hustle, you’re on unfamiliar territory. Intuition may mislead or even shut down.
Francine felt drawn to a high-priced, high-powered marketing coach. Everything felt “right” about signing up for this coach’s program. Francine’s credit card would be stretched … but Francine kept getting “go” signals.
Once she signed up, Francine was horrified to realize her intuition had led her astray. The coach talked a good line — and probably helped a lot of people who were far more advanced than Francine. Francine didn’t have experience in choosing this type of mentor and she didn’t have a tested process to screen potential resources. (It’s one reason I created this guide for new coaches, which also will help other new consultants and service pros.)
Sometimes you just need a few pieces of information.
Joe wanted to become a trainer or professional speaker. But he was also a single parent to a 12-year-old so he couldn’t travel.
Were there opportunities for trainers in his own city? That’s something he had to investigate. Most trainers travel … a lot. But he might find a unique niche in his particular city. Maybe the field has changed. Maybe there’s a niche for non-travelers. He needs to get this question answered before moving forward.
Trudy was trying to decide whether to accept a special assignment for her new side hustle business. The work would be perfect for her resume, but the pay was low — and her prospective client wouldn’t budge. Trudy needed to learn the going rate for this type of assignment; it’s possible she’s getting a terrific opportunity.
You have to be ready to receive guidance, from a person and from the environment.
You’re probably heard the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive.” I’ve found that when I’m really ready to move to a goal, I find the “right” advisors. I pay attention to signals.
If you’re not really excited about your goal, your intuition picks up on your feelings — or lack of feelings. You won’t get meaningful guidance. You won’t notice cues in the environment. (If you’re genuinely excited but sabotaging your own success, that’s a different question.)
And the “teacher” may come from your environment – not a specific person. I’ve seen people who who wanted to go back to school or start a business or move. They were totally stuck on what to do next. Often they concluded, “There’s no way I can do this.”
Then something happened — a last straw moment or a new opportunity. Suddenly their mindset shifted. They found all sorts of ways to move to their dreams.
That’s why so many people talk about the importance of “mindset” for success. When you really want something, you’ll find support everywhere.
Success is not guaranteed. It’s just more likely to happen.
Intuition speaks in code.
You have to learn your own intuitive language. For some people, a sleepless night before a major decision means, “Don’t do it. You’ll be sorry if you say yes.” But for others, the same sleepless night means, “This is normal. You always lose sleep over decisions!” And for yet another group, the sleepless night actually means, “You’re on to something! Keep going!”
The way to interpret your signals is to follow patterns and keep track of how decisions turn out. It’s an individual process. You can’t rely on iconic symbols: seeing a cat may have one meaning for you but a totally different meaning to someone who’s never lived with one. I outline this process in considerable detail in my book, Intuition For Career And Business Decisions.
Intuition speaks quietly and playfully.
Speaking of cats, intuition often comes as quietly as a cat’s purr. You have to listen carefully. And you have to be polite. Intuition can shut down when you demand answers andpound on the door. Most of all, intuition is playful. You’ll get better answers when you don’t take it — or yourself — too seriously. Let your mind wander around your question.
To learn more, check out my ebook on intuition.
Or we can set up a consulting session to strategize your next move.