In the absence of information, we will often make up a story. This can be harmful when the featured star of your made-up story is you.
Consider this scenario: You see a job posting online and it seems to have been written just for you. You spend a few hours tweaking your resume and getting things just right. Then you hit the SUBMIT button, full of anticipation and hope. And then you wait. And wait and wait and wait. You hear nothing back. This is not the first time that this has happened. And even though your logical/rational mind tells you that this is “normal,” the emotional part of your brain begins to make up a story. The story line is a tragedy and you are the main character.
Stop the story.
This is not about you. No one is ignoring you. No one is judging you. It’s about the process of online resume submission. It’s impersonal and imperfect, but it remains important. A better alternate for your job search is to stop sitting in front of your computer…..get out there and network. Networking is the best, most proactive way to find your ideal next job.
How about this scenario: You are pitching a piece of new business with an existing client. They keep lowering the budget, yet asking for a higher level of service. You grow frustrated with the game of “send me a proposal” and then hearing nothing back for weeks. Your creative mind starts to fill out the story line. This client really doesn’t appreciate you. Perhaps this industry sector is not ideal for you. Maybe they don’t like you. And you know what, you are losing that loving feeling too. Why should you continue to waste your time with this client? Your resentment grows. But you wait because there still might be a possibility of doing business together. Should you reach out one more time? Can you get the magic back in this relationship like in the movie Hope Springs with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones?
“Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” – Don Migel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
Stop the story.
Pick up the telephone and reconnect. Invite them to lunch and make it your goal to reset the relationship. Find out what is really going on in their world. It’s not about you. There is likely something major happening in the business, or in their personal life. Perhaps a medical crisis that they haven’t told many people about.
On the other hand, while there may be some truth to the imaginings, you may simply have fallen out of favor with a key customer. But that doesn’t give you permission to write a fictional screen play based upon what you consider to be “true events.” Such a story will do you no good. It will prevent you from growing your business and career. It will dampen your existing relationships and limit the possibilities for all parties.
Stop the story.
I encourage you to recognize when you are beginning to fabricate a story in your own mind. Say the command to yourself – Stop the story. It will help snap you back into the present moment versus the imagined moment. It will help you wipe the page clean and to clear your mind. Now you can get on with the business of growing your organization and career… without all the drama.