5 exercises that can change a jobseeker’s world
The lens we view the world through can make all the difference to how successful we are within it.
While a very simplistic example of this is the concept of ‘glass half empty’ or ‘glass half full’ thinking, evidence shows that we do all perceive and process the world differently. Created through a combination of nature and nurture, our way of seeing is often difficult to recognise in ourselves and just as hard to change or overcome.
Jobseeker’s are no different. There are many ways those seeking employment – like all of us – can benefit from raising their consciousness around how they are perceiving the world and themselves. From building resilience and self-efficacy to wellbeing, small changes can change their world.
Here are 5 evidence-backed exercises that can support resilience and outcomes for jobseekers.
1 Knowing our strengths
Identifying and knowing our top strengths can help increase our capacity for resilience.
Strengths are many and include everything from our ability to lead or be honest, to our capacity to appreciate beauty or to love. They are the positive and natural personal character traits that we carry around with us and can recognise and then leverage to make progress in life.
Often they are the traits that, when activated, can get us easier into very positive states of flow.
While overplaying our strengths can lead to our ‘shadow sides’ (for example, leadership taken too far could result in being too narcissistic, dominating or dictatorial, while our ability to love could lead to people taking advantage of us) they are a useful to understand and reorient ourselves.
One way for jobseekers (or anyone) to establish their strengths is at www.viacharacter.org.
2 Conquering negativity bias
The ideal ratio of positive thoughts to negative thoughts is said to be about three to one.
The problem is the odds are stacked against us. Negativity is an in-built part of the biological human being, because it used to keep us safer and less exposed to risks in our environment. This means that we are now often plagued by (often repeated) negative thoughts about different situations.
This can be re-balanced (to some extent) through positive psychology. For example, through a concerted effort to remember ‘Today’s Good Bits’, jobseekers can be taught through an exercise to reclaim the positive elements of their days that may be obscured by hardwired negativity.
3 Putting it in perspective
Our ‘quick’ thinking brain is likely to make errors or ‘jump to conclusions’ in different situations based on individual beliefs or assumptions stitched together out of our past experiences.
This can lead to perceptions that may be skewed or totally wrong. This can often get jobseekers into trouble when they are attempting to start a new job in a completely new setting with new people.
Jobseekers can learn to put these first reactions into perspective. By disputing their first reaction to a situation and thinking of the many possible (and often more likely) explanations for people’s behaviour, they will be better able to respond to situations without knee-jerk ‘catastrophising’.
4 Thinking about mindset
A growth mindset is the belief our knowledge about something or our ability to do doing something can be improved with learning and practice. We have a growth mindset if we believe we are able to learn, grow and change, rather than believing we are destined to stay the same (a fixed mindset).
Jobseekers can recognise whether they have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Through exploration of case studies and science that shows how people can develop new knowledge and skills over time, jobseekers can learn their situation is not static and commit to new growth.
5 Setting PREP goals
Big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAG) can be intimidating rather than empowering. Often seeming like a mountain to overcome, BHAG goals can lead to demotivation and people giving up on a challenge rather than taking it on, as it can become all too scary, difficult and not enjoyable along the way.
The alternative is PREP goals. Personal, realistic, positive and having an end point, these ‘stretch goals’ are neither too scary or too easy, but instead move a jobseeker along a defined path towards a more achievable outcome that can be more motivating to pursue and celebrated sooner.