Today is Valentine’s Day…as if you didn’t know, and it’s time to “Put a Little Love in You and Your Career”. It’s also the birthday of one of my cats, Valentino, and he has certainly lived the past 17 years as if he’s ‘the cat’s pyjamas’ or ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. Look at him all curled up, with nothing else to do. In earlier years,we would tie a red ribbon around his neck and give him a special birthday treat, but today I have just enclosed him in a heart!
This brings me around to you. Have you shown yourself some love lately? What if today you decide to proclaim to yourself that you are, indeed, the cat’s pyjamas or that you are the best thing since sliced bread? What if you decide to stop being sorry for yourself, stop listening to your inner critic telling you that you don’t measure up; that you will never get the job or promotion you have always dreamed of? What if, just for today, you take a chance and put a little love in yourself?
- Do what you have never done or go where you have never gone. Think of something you have always wanted to do, or somewhere you have always wanted to go. Is it something you could do today? If not, can you begin right now to develop a plan for it? Have you ever wanted to reach out to someone who could offer you some career advice, but you were afraid to ask? Today is a great day to reach out to that person. Forget all those butterflies in your stomach and take up the phone, send an email, meet them face-to-face and ask them to join you for a coffee.
- Commit to growing yourself. The fact you may have failed at something does not mean the end of the world. Reflect on that failure and ask yourself what were the lessons you learned from that event. Many years ago when I first applied to work with the United Nations, I failed Shorthand. In those days note taking was a requirement that came with the prestige of added pay. I was disappointed, but told myself that regardless of how long it took, it was going to happen one day. By the time I ended up at the UN, the skill wasn’t a requirement any longer, but I was well prepared. Sir Edmund Hillary was one of the first persons to climb Mount Everest. When he failed at his first attempt, he said to himself, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow, but I am still growing.” Have you, like Mount Everest, grown all you are going to grow?
- Invest in yourself. Some people invest a lot of time and money planning for exotic vacations, but little or no time investing in their own career development. A couple of Fridays ago, a man called to ask if he could come in to see me on Monday morning for a resume and cover letter as he wanted to apply for job that had a cut-off time of 5 pm the following day (Tuesday). I told him that resume development is a time-consuming exercise, and my turnaround time on a project like his would be 10 business days. He then told me that he couldn’t afford me anyway. That wasn’t even the point. I wanted him to realize that such a slap-dash approach to one’s job search, or waiting until a job appears on Workopolis before realizing you need to brush up on your resume is not a great plan and will most likely reap frustration.
- Be relentless in your pursuits. Whatever it is you are after, be relentless. You have heard the saying, “A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins”. Never give up on your dreams even if it appears insurmountable. Create a success plan and harness all the support you can get to see that dream through.
- Be generous and give of your time. Volunteer your expertise to someone. Wondering if you have the skills to be a mentor? Stop wondering, and start mentoring. You have skills that others would benefit from. Think of the world of good you would be doing by mentoring another person. Probably you’re facing the question, “What’s in it for me?” The Christian Bible says, “It’s in giving that you receive.” You’re actually getting something in return. Isn’t that awesome?
- Love yourself. Look in the mirror right now and say to yourself, ” I love you!” Sounds crazy, but when last have you told your unique self how much you love her or him? Compare that against the hundreds of times you have said to your unique self, “I don’t like what I see…I am too fat…too skinny…too short…too tall…I cannot become…”, and all those self-degrading negative conversations you have ingrained in your head. Stare at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, like Marianne Williamson said, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be?”
There are many other tips you could come up with yourself, so use these as starters. See what you can do to put a little love in you and your career today.
Enjoy what’s left of Valentine’s Day, and even if you think you don’t have anyone to love, look within and love yourself!