Monday, August 1, 2016

Facing Your Interview Demons

How you feel about yourself plays as much a role in your success as any skill or experience.

One of my client--whom I'll call Sue--came to me recently to rehearse for an upcoming interview at a local Portland company. 

"It's really scary this time," she said.

"Why?" I asked.

"I have to face a committee, four people, all men. I'm not sure I'm up for it."

I thought for a moment, then asked, "What exactly are you feeling about it, right now, in this moment?"

"I know I will be intimidated. Not because I don't have the skills or experience, just that I've always felt a bit inferior to executives, especially male ones."

"Here's my advice. We all face these kinds of 'demons' in our lives. We've been taught, or picked up along the way, the idea that we somehow can't measure up in certain circumstances. We play it out continually, avoiding such moments as much as possible. So we don't break the internal habit.

"It's easy for me to tell you to simply say an affirmation like 'I'm as good as anyone else,' or 'This does not scare me,' or 'I can do this,' over and over, but in reality, that mostly likely won't work. 

"First thing to do, then, is to own the fear. Yes. I am afraid to face the committee. Yes. I feel disempowered. Yes. My knees are shaking just thinking about the interview. No reason to deny it.

"Now, owning that, except that you can do with it whatever you want. You can let it throw you to the ground, or you can use that energy to embolden you. You can allow yourself the possibility of realizing that they are as nervous about the interview as you are. They're in a precarious position. They can't afford to make a mistake in hiring. They actually WANT you to succeed. Your exceptional presentation could save them many hours and expense in the pursuit of the best hire.

"With that intent, you go into the interview, empathetic, knowing they want--and hope for--the best from you. You give it to them. That's all you can do. You know it's good. And you know they appreciate it. 

"You've rehearsed and you're ready. You hold the best outcome in your consciousness, your mind. Let go of the outcome and know that no matter that outcome, the job you want, this or not this, is waiting for you."

As Alan Weiss, best selling author, suggests, creating high self esteem is a remedial task. It's basic; it's necessary. And essential to success in any endeavor. 

When you feel like you 'can't do it,' remember, many who have less experience and intelligence than you have done it. If they can, you can.

And you will.

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