5 Simple Ways to Stay Motivated During a Job Search

The great industrialist Charles Schwab was quite disappointed when the workers in his steel mill were not meeting their production quota.

He asked the foreman what was wrong. “I don’t know,” he replied, “I’ve pushed then and threatened to fire them, but nothing works. They seen to have no incentive to produce.”

Later, just before the night shift came on, Schwab went back to the plant and asked the supervisor how many heats his crew had processed that day. He was informed it was only six. Schwab took a piece of chalk and wrote a large figure “6” on the floor and walked away.

When the other workers came in, they asked what it meant. “The big boss was here today,” the manager said. “He asked how many heats were made and then chalked the number on the floor.”

The next morning the night shift rubbed out the “6” and replaced it with a big “7.” When the day workers returned and saw the higher figure, one man exclaimed, “We can do better than that!” His fellow employees caught his enthusiasm, and when they quit that night, they chalked on the floor an enormous “10.”

It was a 66 percent increase in just 24 hours and all because of Schwab’s challenge.

small__3969972966What steps can you take in staying motivated during a job search? It is easy to get discouraged. No one enjoys rejection. Yet, rejection is just a part of the process. Sometimes it is as simple as using a little reverse engineering.

For example, number a piece of paper to 100. Now your goal is to see how fast you can get to 100 “no’s.” What can this teach us? The more we put ourselves out there, the sooner we will get to our yes.

I have someone I am coaching right now that has all but given up on searching for a job. He is discouraged and tired of failing. What did I tell him?

5 Ways to Stay Motivated During a Job Search

In no certain order, I want you to read the following tips and figure out how to apply at least one of them right now. Which one of these thoughts is the most encouraging to you?

1. Redefine what success means for you personally.

Success can be a tricky thing. Don’t believe me? Go ask 10 different people to define success for you. Don’t be surprised if you get 10 completely different answers. All that really matters is how you define success. Several years ago during the beginning stages of the recession, I wrote a post entitled: Hey Recession – My New Definition of Success.

The real question is: what does success mean for you personally? Can you set yourself up to be a winner?

2. Find an area in your life that you can win at right now.

What one area of your life do you have control over? Many of us become discouraged because we are trying to win at something we ultimately do not have control over. Sure…you need to have a dynamic resume, good interview skills, and have the ability to make a solid first impression. In the end, someone else decides if you get the job.

Other areas of our life we do have more control over. Volunteering your time at the local homeless shelter can give you feelings of success. Spending more time with your kids is rewarding. Going after that extra certification is within your control. Choosing to workout and get in the best shape of your life is under your control. What is one area of your life that you do have control over and can get a quick win?

3. Don’t place your identity into what you do for work.

This is a big one. Americans often get their identity from what they do for work. This is why one of the first questions out of our mouth when we meet someone new is, “What do you do?” It is easy to get a sense of self-worth from what we do. The problem is placing your identity into something that is temporary is not a good strategy. Choose today to not let your identity be wrapped up into what you do for work.

4. Watch the downward spiral and stop the descent.

The downward spiral is a lot like the kid version of playing dominos. As kids, we stack the dominos so when we hit one they all fall one by one. I’ve seen the exact same thing happen in the lives of discouraged job seekers. Their lack of finding a job began to affect their health, relationships and confidence.

The first key in avoiding this is to know when the downward spiral is happening. Acknowledgement is key. Then, you can begin to ask this one powerful question: “What is going right in my life right now?” You can also ask, “What can I be thankful for right now?”

Sometimes just asking better questions can get us to a better place mentally.


5. Trust that God goes before you in your search

I don’t know what you believe spiritually, but I believe God is all knowing. If He is all knowing, then He knows my next job opportunity before I do. Nervous about the next job interview? Trust that God knows if you are to get that job. Now, this doesn’t give us a pass to not do our part. Just know that your Heavenly Father is on your side and assisting you in your job search. (Also see 4 Ways to Trust God in Your Job Search).

Question: In the past, what helped you stay motivated during a long job search?

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    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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