August Career Tip: Shift Your View2016-09-16T16:33:26+00:00

August Career Tip: Shift Your View

I take horseback riding lessons once a week. It’s insanely fun and makes me feel like I’m twelve, in a good way.

I decided to start a couple years ago, even though I had no time, and I have kids, and it wasn’t the safest sport and blah blah blah. It was amazing until I had a bad fall last summer. The horse tripped as we were cantering and fell forward to his knees, and I fell with him. I wasn’t badly hurt; I had rolled out of the way. I was just a little shook up.

I took a month to recover, because apparently I don’t heal like a twelve-year-old anymore, and then I got back in the saddle, this time on a different horse. My teacher let me ride her mount. The animal is this gorgeous, well-trained mountain, a draft horse cross with the gentlest eyes. If you stand in front of him, he props his chin on your shoulder and sighs contentedly. It’s like riding a huge teddy bear.

I was still terrified of the teddy bear. I was sure this Clydesdale-like creature was about to trip and fall, and all I could see was my fear. It was everywhere, in the distance from the saddle to the ground, and the path I would soon take to landing on my face.

My riding teacher came over and asked how I was doing, and I told her how I was sure I was about to die. She pointed to the edge of the ring, where the foliage was just turning orange and yellow, and she said, “Name the colors.” Then she took the bridle and led me forward.

Cue Freakout

My brain called bullshit. I’m about to die and she wants me to name the colors? Okay, fine. I knew I had to look anywhere but at the ground, because when you ride, you end up where you look.

“Orange. Yellow. Green. More orange.” I started to breathe, just a little. And then she let go and I walked on by myself, muttering colors under my breath and occasionally, every minute or so I took a big breath like I was some kind of scuba diver. I wont lie to you, at the end of the hour I still saw my imminent demise, but I saw the world around me, too. After a few lessons of this, I started to relax and could enjoy riding again.

Why put myself through that? I don’t have to ride horses, except for some reason I do. I can’t really explain it, but I’m a better person if I gallop down the long side of a ring like I used to as a kid.

Is there something in your life that you think you really don’t have to do, you’ve been told it’s too risky, too bold, too something, but actually, for some unknown reason, you have to do it? Has something happened that makes you see the ground instead of the colors around you?

Start investigating the thing you need to do. Let’s take the idea of finding a new job. Easy right? Here’s what everyone does: Go online and see what openings are advertised online, find some that are kind of depressing, but hey, you meet all the qualifications, then send out resume after resume. Then feel that sense of terror that you’re failing at getting even those crappy jobs. That’s the equivalent of riding a glorious huge teddy bear and seeing only the grains of dirt in the ring.

Look for Some Color

Instead, start seeing the best you could strive for. Start looking at the best companies in your area, whether or not they have jobs. Read up on them, poke around their social media, “follow” them. Then ask around. Or look in your LinkedIn profile for a connection.

This mind shift sounds like too much at first, I know. Why waste your time reading about companies who aren’t hiring right now? Do you really know they aren’t hiring? Are you sure you don’t have a friend, or a friend of a friend, who might know of an job opening that hasn’t been posted for the whole world to see?

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy, this second approach. It’s not what everyone else does. But if you want to be someone who loves their job, you have to think differently from most of America, because most of America hates their job.

Look for companies that excite you. Jot down some notes, or pin some images if you’re always on Pinterest and Instagram.

What we see is what we get, in a way. I truly believe that. So look for something different.

Links for your weekend:

More tips from me on career transitions on my blog this month.

Would you switch jobs for these perks?

Quick trick for easing anxiety.

Are your work emails becoming exhausting? You’re not the only one.

Obsolete and new careers in the U.S.

Remember, dress for the job you want….

A t-shirt might actually help you succeed.