Spring Forward: It's Time to Clean Out the Negative Stuff

Man with flowers.

Whether we’re employed or job-seeking, there may be times when we wonder if we’re sabotaging our own progress. We try so hard to do well but insidious little things seem to work against us.

And before we know it, we’ve somehow short-circuited what we were trying to achieve. We lose our keys, forget to bring the resume, or miss a deadline. It’s like having a tail that knocks over things behind us; we turn around to see the disturbing results—too late.

Spring is a good time to take inventory and create new patterns to achieve goals. Here are some suggestions:

1)    First and foremost, align your energy and intentions. You may think you know what you want but perhaps haven’t achieved the necessary clarity and commitment. Or perhaps it was someone else’s goal all along. Think: What do I really want? Visualize the answer in great detail. Say it out loud to yourself: Say it to others. Write it out. Repeat your goals while looking in the mirror.

2)    Take time to ferret out negative self-perceptions that may be holding you back. Even unconscious beliefs motivate actions.

All of us can carry deeply rooted fears that handicap our progress: “I’ll never really be good at this.” “Everyone else can have a good job but me.” “I don’t really deserve to succeed.”

Search your mind for these barriers. If you find them, listen a moment to understand them, then formulate better ones and listen to them instead.

3)    Practice good posture. Have your body reflect your goals and intentions. Feel the strength of your convictions in your frame and become powerful from the inside out. 

4)    Whether in interviews or meetings, conversations with others can be opportunities for creating fresh possibilities. Rather than focusing most on what you will say, try to listen before you speak. Make it your discipline to expand your perspective with each conversation you have.

5)    Networking is an art. Let people know what you’d like of them, but don’t expect help to be immediate. Accept that sometimes people need time to develop a deeper sense of who you are before they will help you, even if they like you.

6)    Declare spring cleaning on all fronts, a little at a time: Get rid of junk around your work and living areas. Detach yourself from things and people who fragment your focus and are unhelpful, such as the “friend” who remembers you at your worst and never fails to remind you of it.

Let spring be a new beginning. Move away from undermining yourself and go forward with stronger goals, richer energy and fresh possibilities.

By Diane Wilson. Reprinted with permission from the Chicago Tribune.