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What life do you dream of?

I watched the film “True Spirit” a couple of weeks ago which was a very inspiring film. It tells the story when a 16 year-old girl, Jessica Watson, decided to follow her ambitions about 14 years ago and went on a very long adventure by boat, a bright pink one called “Ella’s Pink Lady”, all by herself for 210 days circumnavigating the globe starting in Sydney, Australia. She did it purely for the love of sailing from a young age.

What’s so incredible is how she coped on her own all that time, and how she managed the extremely dangerous choppy weather. She had a special video conferencing system set up between her and her family to track where she was – this was the only contact she had with the outside world.

She was very brave and never gave up on her dream even when things got very rough, literally. It was evidently an intense journey for her parents and siblings too as at one point during the film, they really thought she had died as they lost communication with her when the boat capsized for a while. This storm was a really terrifying one as multiple storms merged into one and the massive waves caused the boat to capsize 15 foot under water… At least she was belted up whilst lying on her bed! Not fun though, especially if you aren’t a rollercoaster ride fan.

However, Jessica didn’t have a choice – it was totally out of her control and she did the best she could to survive and thrive through her love and determination to complete her sailing mission. Miraculously, she survived and came back in one piece feeling on top of the world that she had reached her goal (and proved some people wrong!). She was so glad to be reunited with her family again and 80,000 people waited at the port to cheer her on and celebrate her success!!! What an amazing journey that was.

It was obviously a popular Netflix film and a lot of people wanted to read more about what she experienced after watching the film (her paperback book did sell out at one point), how she managed to live in such a small space all that time, what she ate, what she did to keep herself company, how she managed to keep herself sane without any people to talk to face to face and finally, how she managed to tackle the technical problems onboard. I’m yet to read the book that was published with the full story of what happened – I am very intrigued.

I know it’s not quite the same as the job hunting process is, but there are similarities when I think of all the ups, the downs, the setbacks, the excitement, the joy and then the waiting around which Jessica also experienced on the boat for about a week whilst there was no breeze or waves to move her forward at all. She was stuck in the middle of the ocean with nowhere to go and feeling very alone.

There is an innate creativity in all of us. When you take on a big project or goal you want to achieve, like looking for a new job for example, or sailing a boat around the world even, you do really need to concentrate on the task in hand, look after yourself in the meantime, and somehow carry on in the best and most positive way.

I find I need to really focus on doing what is right for me, what my inner knowing is telling me, what brings out my passion and inner spark, even though I don’t know how it’s all going to pan out and not getting attached to any particular outcome. Not knowing how this job opportunity is going to come about or the way in which it will be presented to me. All I can do is keep focusing on what I love to do, my passions, my gifts, my writing, my musical talents, and continually do what inspires and uplifts me, live, be happy, sing, dance, connect with friends and family, and also, have self-compassion, find peace within, connect with nature and do all that soothes me, listening to the sounds of the ocean waves, waterfalls, even if only on YouTube, being surrounded by beautiful, loving people and instruments, eating healthy food, all of which gives me the fuel to keep going – this allows me the space to present myself as my best and happiest self, feeling fulfilled and full of purpose and having a clearer sense of direction.

I do love sharing my joy with others for the things I love, putting a smile on people’s faces, and giving people hope and optimism for the future. It’s the best feeling knowing I’ve made a difference in someone else’s life, added to their inner joy, given them a new leash of life they didn’t know they had. It really fills me up to help people, to do more good in the world, to make the world a better place. For the greatest good of all, to bring me joy, to provide joy to others. Something inside of me needs to reach that place, the place where I can make a real difference in people’s lives, whether it is through my writing or music or just the person that I am with all the other practical, real life communications and organisational skills I have to offer. All I can do now is follow my own intuition, to follow what my heart is guiding me to do.

Over the years, I’ve realised that loving ourselves really isn’t selfish – there is often a negative connotation when we use this word but essentially, the more we love ourselves, the more we can love other people. It’s good to feel loved inside wherever we are, at home, or in the office, or wherever we choose to be.

There are different ways of course that we express ourselves professionally with colleagues and at home with our family and friends, but ultimately, it’s really important to do what fills our soul up, what uplifts us. When we fill ourselves with joy and self-love, we can pass this onto others and live happier lives. We often put conditions on our love, when we get the job, when we achieve something, then we have that permission to love ourselves, but how about doing it along the way and celebrate each little success as you go along? The little steps along the way are so important, acknowledging every step makes it easier to see how far you’ve come along the way by breaking it all down into smaller, bite-size, more manageable pieces.

A great, easy way of celebrating the little steps is to play an empowering song you like that maybe even contains the words you want to express but don’t know how. Along the way, whilst writing this blog, I thought I would listen to the song “Tightrope” from the Greatest Showman as it ties very well with the theme of this blog – I’ve included the inspiring lyrics from the first paragraph below:

“Some people long for a life that is simple and planned
Tied with a ribbon
Some people won’t sail the sea ’cause they’re safer on land
To follow what’s written
But I’d follow you to the great unknown
Off to a world we call our own”

It really is an adventure all of this self-love, but it’s really worth it, and worth keeping up the fight for its existence in our everyday lives. There is incredible value in each of us and we must do what makes us happy, if nothing else, to make sure we leave behind a strong legacy, one filled with gratitude, beauty, peace and love, never to be forgotten.

It really is all an adventure that comes with a breath-taking view – a girl can dream can’t she? – and we do have to make sure we take lots of deep breaths along the way!!!!

What tests your resilience big-time?

Looking for a job has been a real test of resilience for me. The time spent on each application, the effort needed to get into the right mindset to persevere and keep putting yourself out there, even though you aren’t seeing any tangible outcomes. Which is why it’s important to celebrate each stage of the application process and how far you have come even though you aren’t “quite there” and haven’t nailed your dream job yet.

The way I see it is that you can make the choice to celebrate the growth in the process, even if they are small steps, little actions, or you can be miserable and dwell on the negativity, the rejections and the hardships of it all. It is really tedious and can be really depressing, I totally get it, as it can really affect your feelings of worthiness. It really is a time in your life when you are being judged on essentially who you are as a person, which can sometimes be tough to digest.

However, if you add some “spice” to it all, including adding joy to the equation, making time for yourself and doing what you are passionate about during the process to relieve some of that heavy feeling of anxiety and negativity, or brain fog even, then it does help raise those positive feelings inside of you and make you feel more creative and inspired. It must be made a “non-negotiable” part of your routine though, even if you build it up slowly.

The more you build healthy habits that make you feel good, the more it becomes part of your daily routine, most of the time. The more you do what you love, the more positive vibes you feel, and life starts to feel great and moving in the right direction, even though you can’t see the end result yet. It is hard but actually if you try and enjoy the process, as hard as it is, then things do start to feel more bearable and fun even.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain” Vivian Greene

Also, it is ok to listen to your body and take breaks from job searching too to give your mind a break and relax. It really is a job in itself looking for another job and requires a lot of self-discipline, self-motivation and more importantly, self-compassion.

Most of the time, I don’t even receive a thank you for submitting the application as everything is so automated nowadays – candidates just have to assume that the applications have been received ok and hope for the best however much time has been spent on preparing their application. If filling in one of these application forms that employers like to send, it can sometimes take a few hours of someone’s time to fill it in. If sending applications via email, there is always the option of requesting a read receipt when sending emails, especially if you really want to know that someone has received your email. It is a good way of getting someone’s attention especially as we are all overwhelmed these days with messages appearing from all kinds of places, text messages, WhatsApp, email, Facebook messenger, you name it. Lots of messages to manage on a daily basis which maybe explains this “culture” of not needing to acknowledge applications, or ghosting candidates even. It’s a real issue, and not just restricted to dating apps!

However, it is important to remember that behind each of these electronic applications is a human being, and we like to be acknowledged in a certain way, even if it is a basic, standard, cut & paste thank you letter that employers send to all those who haven’t made it through to the initial interview stage. At the same time, it’s important not to rely on any particular outcome, otherwise if employers don’t do as you expect or would like or appreciate them to do, you will get disappointed!!

Sometimes, I do get a reply to my applications, but most of the time, in my experience, I only hear if I’ve gotten through to the next stage of application, which has mostly been an interview via Teams or sometimes Zoom. It is really hard to be rejected and not receive any constructive feedback, especially if you have attended an interview.

Feedback is a brilliant way of helping potential employees to grow within themselves, to help them learn from their mistakes throughout the job hunting process. Without it, it does make things really difficult and frustrating, especially if you’ve gotten through to the final stage, and you just have no clue why you haven’t got the job. I know “being the right fit” is really important to employers, but why is it so hard for employers to take that time to nurture that human connection and provide some constructive feedback to help that person find the job they are the right fit for, especially if you know they’ve spent time and effort on their job application?

The only option left for us jobseekers is to guess our way through the process which isn’t ideal. Sometimes, things might be obvious to our own eye that we can improve but other times, the only thing we can do within our control is let it all go and move onto the next opportunity knowing that maybe this rejection is telling us that this job isn’t meant for us right now. There is also an element of faith in self, that the right opportunity will show up at the right time. Faith that it will happen, that this perfect job is out there, and not to worry in the meantime. It’s hard to keep up the faith but we do have to keep going and have a lot of patience! What other positive choice is there?

Gratitude is also another important part of the process for me, acknowledging all the little tasks and actions I have completed each day (most of the time) and also finding moments to celebrate in each day even if it’s just playing one of my favourite motivational, empowering songs to acknowledge something I’ve achieved, however small it is. I have one list that I update to make life simpler for myself. Even when I just complete tasks, I show gratitude for having completed them, which is still a good reason to celebrate.

Also, it has been a learning process adapting to the idea of having interviews online, and even though people only see your top half, I always do get smartly dressed from top to bottom, because most importantly, it gets me in the right mindset and makes me feel good, and I always love to put on a bit of make up too to make myself feel more “professional”. It helps me to feel excited along with some uplifting, empowering music which can help to shift those pre-interview nerves and get my mind ready and raring to go.

It’s not easy online getting that same connection as you would going to someone’s office and having that face to face contact, but saying that, it is more interactive than a phone call at least. We are also relying on a good internet connection at both ends, which can be a challenge sometimes. Eye contact is key with these online interviews, but can prove difficult if for example the screen goes blurry, and there is a delay with the sound and someone’s lips are moving at a slower pace to the sound of their voice, which can be really distracting! But somehow amongst all of these challenges, we give the interview the best shot and portray ourselves in the best light we can, and then based on our performance, an employer will make the decision about whether they think you are best qualified for the job and want to give you a chance in the next round of interviews. Then the waiting game starts.

As well as learning from my mistakes as I go along the process, or more so, improving myself, improving my answers to interview questions, improving my covering letters to help me get more interviews, tailoring them one by one to the company I am applying to, and really presenting myself as my best and truest expression of myself. That’s all we can do, however much preparation we do beforehand, it’s how we present ourselves in the moment.

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path” — Paulo Coelho

I am learning that it’s ok to be me, that it’s safe territory to be me. Me is ok.

I’m also learning that I can make the choice to not let all these rejections be about myself and my self-worth, and instead focus on what the companies who have rejected me are missing out on by not employing me!!!  There are so many things in life that are out of our control, and so it’s important to see the power and beauty in what we can control, and the things we are able to learn from each and every experience we have, even if it’s a negative one. It’s important that we step back and allow ourselves to breathe and learn from those experiences in a positive way so that we can move forward in the best and most productive way.

I would love to work for a company that embraces that growth mindset culture and encourages learning and growing amongst their staff so that we can become happier people as a whole, better at our jobs, more productive, more focused, less stressed – and yes, it is part of the “whole package” when employing someone. If employees or candidates aren’t interested in all that jazz and personal growth stuff, that’s of course fine too, but we all as humans have an innate need to experience joy and connection. It really is of interest to the employer and will make a happier, healthier workplace which makes all the difference as people do spend a lot of their time at work.

“Connection is why we are here. We are hardwire to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” Brene Brown

A positive, work environment that takes account of the fact that we are all human and have our own individual needs that need to be taken care of. It is an environment which employees can thrive in, so by addressing these needs for good staff wellbeing at work, then it can surely only lead to good – a better workplace, a kinder world and a more joyful environment to be.

Joy is important and I think that employers do play an important role in providing that joy to their employees to help improve motivation, focus, sense of well-being and good health, happiness and productivity. It also gives people a sense of community and human connection that people do need to feel on a regular basis, both at work and at home. This is what makes us tick and feel alive!!!!!!!