The Danger of Motivational Quotes That Aren’t Actually Motivating – Job Search Momentum

Generating and maintaining motivation to search for a job can be a daunting task. Let’s face it. Most people do not enjoy searching for employment, and no amount of “You can do it!” can make most people excited about the tasks in front of them.

As a coach, I find that one of the biggest barriers (not the only) to progress in job search is a lack of motivation. To make matters worse, much of the well-meaning comments from friends, family members, and social media posts (I know I am guilty of some of these as well) create the opposite effect from what they intend.

This makes me think about the power of our internal talk track during the highly emotional and vulnerable time of searching for a job. While searching for employment, most people feel overwhelmed by conducting research on companies, connections, and opportunities, and they feel fearful of multiple rejections along the way. Many folks already feel less confident about their abilities, especially if they are currently unemployed. This is enough to paralyze people when they feel they need to press forward, and they can hear the clock ticking reminding them that a job will most likely not just fall into their laps.

And then they encounter comments like:

“How many applications have you submitted today?”

“You need to be more confident. Just fake it ‘til you make it.”

“YOU are responsible for your own happiness.”

“Just put yourself out there.”

“Stay positive. Employers can tell when you’re nervous or desperate.”

And the popular….

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ~ Carl Jung

For someone who is struggling, what internal responses might these comments invoke? See some ideas below:

“How many applications have you submitted today?” (Self: Probably not enough. Here’s another test I failed to pass.)

“You need to be more confident. Just fake it ‘til you make it.” (Self: What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just BE confident?)

“YOU are responsible for your own happiness.” (Self: I really have to do this on my own.)

“Just put yourself out there.” (Self: I wish I was more assertive and daring.)

“Stay positive. Employers can tell when you’re nervous or desperate.” (Self: But I am nervous. If I had any courage, I would be positive.)

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ~ Carl Jung (Self: Great, now I’m a lesser person because I’m struggling to act on the goals and objectives I set for myself.)

These are just a few examples, though it is easy to see how well-meaning comments can actually dismiss a person’s feelings and abandon them to the growing pains of career and life transition. If someone in your life is going through this kind of transition, consider the way your words can impact their struggles and efforts. If you are in transition yourself, consider ways that you can give yourself grace during this time of reinvention or redirection. With this in mind, I offer a few alternate ways of talking with yourself:

“What can I do today to help myself feel stronger?”

“I have talents and abilities, and I have used them before. This is a temporary situation, and I am in unfamiliar territory. I am going through a time when it will help me to explore and gather information.”

“Emotional ups and downs are normal, especially during a job search or transition. It is ok to feel discouraged at times, and I will reach out and lean on friends, mentors, coaches, or beloved family pets ( J ) who can offer support or guidance.”

“I can set the pace for my own job search according to my own goals.”

“I will most likely not win every interview or win every job. I will learn as I go, and I will learn from my mistakes and seek to recognize what I can and cannot control or influence.”

“I am a good person, and I want to do well. I am going to get stuck sometimes – for an hour, or a day, or even longer. This is ok, and I am ok. I can always start again.”

Let’s do our best to help each other move forward. You are not in this alone!

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