uncertain steps

The Magic of Being Out of Control

While working with those in job transition, they often – especially my Type A’s – find it easy to do the first part of finding a job as there is a specific outcome for every step. The candidates need to define their desired next job, create a resume, and research target companies. Actions are definite and resolutions are assured if effort is taken. Logical steps are made. Tasks are crossed off checklists. And most importantly outcomes are within our control. For example, to create a resume, adding the content of work history, wordsmithing and proofreading the text, then ensuring proper formatting will eventually result in a finished tangible resume in hand. Action and outcome.

The next stage of finding a job is more difficult because the candidate is not in control of the outcome. In this phase, the goal is to land a position but every step of the way the candidate can not predict the outcome. First job seekers need to network to get close to their target companies. Although they can uncover who in their network can introduce them to someone in the company, there is no way to ensure an introduction will be made or the result of that introduction. Next a candidate applies for a position, but there is no way to know when appropriate positions to apply for will come up or to ensure being called in for an interview after applying. Although one can do their best in an interview, a candidate has no control over additional interviews, the amount of time it takes go through the interview process, or if they will receive an offer.

uncertain stepsThis second stage is a struggle for many as it is rarely linear with defined timelines. In this phase, there are no predictable outcomes. Candidates long for a tangible result for their effort, but the result is not assured nor may it appear in the way they expect. Many candidates struggle with the unknown and uncontrollable nature of networking, applying, and interviewing. They find it difficult to stay positive and optimistic because it is impossible to see where the next step will lead. Frustration and fear arise from being out of control. Many try in vein to force this part of the process to be within their control. They are stressed and unsettled by the uncertain nature of this phase.

But this is also the time the magic happens.

During the networking phase, connections lead to other connections, lead to the right connections. A chance meeting and a brief conversation can become an interview with a vice president. The right word at the right time to the right person can lead to a newly created position specifically designed for the candidate. Steps taken appear to be forward, backward and sideways, but viewed at 10,000 feet they are always progressing the job seeker ahead, even if it is in a convoluted and unexpected route. Trying to force this time into logical steps and outcomes reduces the magic. More wonderfully unexpected spectacularly perfect events occur when the candidate lets go and just follows where the energy leads.

In life, many things we do are logical, linear, and controllable. And many are not. When they are not, often we try to force these parts to be under our control to give us a (false) sense of security. But when we force things to work a certain way or contrive a logical linear path to follow, often the results will never come to fruition or the resolution will not be to our satisfaction. We work hard. We force. And we are disappointed.

Letting go, taking small steps without the assurance of results, and trusting we will be supported can create magic in our lives. It may take five unrelated steps to arrive at the desired result. The next step might not appear until we take a first step. Our goal may not be achieved, yet a surprisingly unexpected and more amazing result may appear. Letting go of control so we can be in alignment, in the flow, takes a lot of guts because the path is not clear. It takes patience. It takes trust. It takes moxie. It takes a playful hopeful attitude. And it takes the ability to move past our fears and desire for security. But when we let go of control, we allow the magic to happen.

What in your life are you currently trying to control? Is it controllable? Why do you need to control the situation? What are you afraid will happen if you let go? Why not trying loosening your grip a bit and watch for the magic to happen.

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