One of the most common questions I have as a Career Coach and as and LCI workshop facilitator is, ‘How do I go about finding my ideal career?’

Most people know what they don’t want and that is usually where they are at right now. The first thing I say is: ‘If you’re unhappy in your career, find one you like or find something to like about the one you have’. Then as a coach we often undertake 5 steps in a process of discovery to assist them in working through what that may be. The steps are as follows:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Figure out what you want
  3. Tell everyone you know
  4. Go for what you want
  5. Don’t let NO stop you

In this special post series we will sequentially cover each of these steps in more detail. In this post we explore (final) step 5: don’t let NO stop you.

Step 5. Don’t let NO stop you

Well that is a double negative isn’t it and a negative plus another negative equals a positive!

What can stop us achieving what we truly want is the fact that some career prospects will say ‘NO’ to us. Often what we really fear is the potential of someone saying ‘NO’ without it actually happening to us. Is it useful to think about what might or might not be? Is it realistic to assume that your skills and knowledge are going to be suitable for every career prospect you seek out? Does one ‘NO’ actually mean that you will never find that ideal career? Actually the word NO can bring us much closer to the very thing we are seeking!

Why do we let “no” stop us?

Although self-confidence and self believe have a big part in it (see the previous newsletter), after hearing ‘NO’ or receiving the ‘Dear John’ rejection letter we can feel rejected, angry, annoyed, sad and sometimes unworthy which can be enough to make the most confident ideal career seekers stop. In making a meaning out of the word ‘NO’ we are making an assumption. No does not mean rejected, angry, annoyed, sad or unworthy it simply means NO. So what can we do? The career process doesn’t have to finish there; in fact this final step is possibly one of the most important steps. The difference between those that stop and those that keep soldiering on is their attitude, persistence and follow up.

Don’t take NO for an answer

Many of us will hear this little word with two letters, ‘NO’, and create a mountain from it with the internal conversations, ‘did they reject me because of X or Y’ or ‘the interviewer didn’t like me’ etc. In fact this little word tells us very little and is quite unconstructive in helping us move forward. So what we need to do is find out why we have been told no? Don’t hear the word, or read the rejection letter and then file it, find out the specific reasons and more importantly some advice on what you could do differently next time to improve your process. This is a step many of us fail to complete which can close off future opportunities.
It is also very important to tell the career prospect that you thank them for their time and that you appreciate their feedback. Let them know you are still interested in any future opportunities as they arise. It is this point that will make you stand out from the pack, and can keep you top of mind for any future positions. This step in the process is especially helpful where you have been short listed or were second choice. Often the first person selected may not work out or another position may arise and if you have already been through the recruitment process it makes you an easy and cost effective choice.

Don’t take no for an answer, be persistent and follow up.

Today’s Action Plan: Don’t let NO stop you

With your ideal role in hand along with your best elevator speech for your ideal job:

  • Ensure Steps 1 to 4 are complete
  • Create a really powerful positive affirmation to motivate you and build your confidence
  • If you hear NO, be persistent and follow up
  • Use the new information to tailor your approach
  • Keep trying – remember for every door closed you are closer to one that is open.

Written by Nicole McAuliffe

Nicole McAuliffe is a LCI workshop facilitator and Director of Creative Connections, a professional life coaching company that supports individuals and organisations in all aspects of career change and development and work life balance.

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