My husband lost his job this month. Quite unexpectedly, and effective immediately. For his employer, this was purely a business decision—a cost-cutting measure that would save the company some money by eliminating some salaries and overhead expenses.
For Jim, this meant immediate change. He walked out of the office unemployed and feeling _______________.
How would you fill in that emotional blank?
Stunned? Numb? Disappointed? Angry? Bitter? Depressed?
Any of those responses may be appropriate. If ever you find yourself in this unfortunate position, you have every right to feel what you feel.
And at some point, when it’s time for you to shift from someone who’s lost a job to someone who’s seeking a job, you’ll want to be sure your attitude matches your intended outcome: positive.
You’ll decide the timeline for this shift. For Jim, it took mere hours.
By mid-afternoon the day his job was eliminated, he had updated his LinkedIn profile, started networking, and set his sights on finding a new position. He chose—quite intentionally—to fill that blank with a positive emotion.
Determined. Confident. Optimistic.
And he isn’t faking. Jim is genuinely interested in exploring new opportunities. He seriously believes in what he has to offer. And he is truly positive he’ll find not just another job, but a great fit.
In the years I’ve known my husband, I have learned a great deal from him about business, leadership, and communication. Especially persuasive communication, as he is an expert sales professional. So, while witnessing his attitude and actions this month, I’ve been watching to learn.
Inspired by Jim’s crusade for his own career, here are three essential lessons for just about anyone—whether you’re looking for a job, marketing a product, raising money, recruiting volunteers, campaigning for a candidate, or striving for some other cause.
1. Begin with the end in mind.
The moment his position was eliminated, Jim set about reorganizing his view of the future, creating a new image of “what’s next.” That picture may not yet be fully in focus. But Jim knows what matters most to him, and day by day, as he explores job listings and talks with prospective employers, he’s filling in more details. When an opportunity matches what’s in his mind’s eye, Jim knows he’s heading in the right direction.
What’s your goal? The more specific your target, the better; envision your ultimate success. How will you know when you’ve reached that happy end? What will you see and hear and do and feel?
2. Feel the emotion you want your audience to feel.
Sure, Jim’s positive attitude is good for him. Sustaining that optimism will keep him moving forward and may very well accelerate his search. What’s more, when he communicates with his target audience—the colleagues and recruiters and decision makers involved in his search—he’s channeling the very emotions he wants others to feel. For Jim to reach his goal, those people also need to feel determined, confident, and optimistic that he is the one to pursue. So, he’s purposely choosing to convey those emotions consistently, whether he’s writing an email, leaving a voice message, or answering questions in an interview.
How do you want your audience to feel? You can choose your words and tone to stir that emotion. Are you making those choices purposefully? Have you tested your message on a trustworthy reviewer, to be sure you’re striking the right chord?
3. Believe in the truth of your message.
A couple days ago, I heard Jim tell a friend, “I have a great product to sell, and no one knows that product better than me.” As a job seeker, he is the product. To reveal his value to others, he has to speak convincingly about his strengths, experience, and potential. That’s not arrogance; it’s truth in advertising. He’s not downplaying, exaggerating, or making any false claims. He’s simply telling true stories he’s proud to share.
What’s truly great about what you have to offer? If you’re going to interest others in your message, you have to believe in it yourself. What’s the best thing you can say with 100% certainty about your offer?
Every once in a while, I meet someone who says emotion has no place in business communication. Baloney! Inherently, the words we speak and the words we write carry emotion and attitude. What we say reveals our level of confidence—or lack thereof. The key is to choose your words with purpose. How are your words feeling? What’s the emotion you’re putting on the page? Does your attitude match your intended outcome?