Confidence is an essential component in so many facets of life. You may be involved in a hobby or a sport and need to have confidence in your abilities to compete, learn, play or perform. You may be launching your new job search and need to have confidence in the skills and competencies that you can bring to a new employer. Confidence is an amazing force in your day to day life. It drives the way that you face challenges, meet new people, communicate, and, in short, behave in most situations. Confidence for many of us can also be a fragile force that can be influenced by so many outside and unrelated factors. It is essential to hold on to and it must be managed by anyone who is less than a complete egotist. That means that most of us need to manage our confidence as we approach any activity, and that goes specifically for job search activities.
All that said, I was reminded a while ago that with age comes memory loss! I say that in an amusing and non-clinical context. What I mean is that we quite often forget what we have accomplished over the course of our lives. When we get to this mid and later career stage, we often forget that in our early 20s or 30s we did things that might be completely relevant to what we want to do next. Those committees that we worked on, campaigns that we brainstormed, and software packages that we learned may have seemed mundane at the time. But now take a look at how they may contribute to your future.
Here are some questions for you. Did you have a long career with a number of jobs that followed your educational path? Are you looking to move into a new field of work or expand into doing something else? Do you think that nothing that you have done in the past is related to what you are interested in doing in the future? Or have you somehow disconnected the dots of your career that would be quite impressive if you kept them connected?
I had an interesting “ahha” moment when I was talking to an old friend recently. He raved on about a particularly hot industry sector and how all my past professional experience would be so relevant to landing a job in it. I was shocked. He remembered many of the things I had done in past jobs and managed to piece them all together to paint a very compelling story. This was a story that I never even saw. In other words, he showed me how my decades of experience all played together to qualify me for a completely different career direction.
Could your past paint a nice picture for your future? You bet. If you have difficulty seeing how your experiences and accomplishments relate to a new direction, find some friends to talk to or a career counselor. Your past should not only give you a sense of pride and confidence, but it should encourage you to move into the future too. You might have to look at things from a different angle, or get some help in fitting the pieces together, but you too can discover new paths.
At the very minimum, actively recognize your many past accomplishments and use them as a source of self-confidence on a daily basis. These things can never be taken away from you.