Quality Event Mindsets | Foundation 2 – Lesson 4

Go back to Job Search Prep Syllabus.

Setting the environment and the establishing objectives is necessary but insufficient for having Quality Events, and the reason for this is simple: life happens.

Situations change, new information becomes available, resources come or go, luck works for us or against us. And that means that we cannot just set our objectives and environment and then turn our backs to them—these things require active management to keep them aligned. In a way, managing your objectives and environment is like sitting on a yoga ball. That’s called “active sitting,” and it is one way to strengthen your core because it requires a constant, slight tension of the mid-section to maintain balance. Slouch on a yoga ball and you’ll fall off. Similarly, if you stop paying attention to your objective and environment, you’ll drift. Quality Events take active management, only here it’s not your stomach muscles that you need to maintain balance, it’s your mindset.

Your mindset is the most most critical element of the Quality Event because it is the glue that holds the three components together. A Quality Event mindset has three elements. These are:

Perspective

You need to be open to having a Quality Event. Whatever the question, the answer needs to be, “Yes, and…” If you are afraid of looking silly, not measuring up, or stepping into the unknown, then you will not be open and your perspective will prohibit you from succeeding. A negative, fault-finding, or closed mindset will preclude you from experiencing a Quality Event. Too intense a focus on detail will cause you to overlook critical elements. Too broad a focus will inhibit you from seeing the detail. We’re looking for a happy medium. If you’ve ever stared at one of those computer-generated, 3-D images and seen the hidden image, you’ve achieved that happy medium of perspective. You need to think of a potential Quality Event like one of those images. Before you can focus on details, you have to be able to see the hidden opportunity. *Then* you can start working the detail.

There are a number of factors that will sometimes make it difficult for us to hold the “right” perspective. We can be so emotionally attached to our expectations for what should be, that we literally fail to see what “is.” We may feel that we have something to prove. We may be too stressed. We may be afraid. If, as you establish your objectives and environment, you find these things to haunt you, take it as feedback that you need to re-calibrate either your objective or your environment. Make them smaller. More private. Less private. More basic.

Focus

Once you’ve got the perspective, you’ve got to be able to hang onto it, mentally speaking. You must continually reinforce it. Perspective has a nasty tendency to slip away unless you stay with it!

Focus is a function of one thing: discipline. This is where you have to work through pain and temptation to stay on course. This is why we have broken this course down into 41 lessons over 21 days. To help you stay focused!

Patience

You don’t force Quality Events. You set the stage, and then let them come to you. Enjoy the ride, because after you’re done setting the stage for the Quality Event, it still might not happen. You need to be OK with that. It’s natural to begin to feel a certain amount of pressure after awhile (“Hmmm… it should have happened by now, what’s wrong here?!”), and you need to be able to maintain your calm in spite of that. This is where things get tough: there is no pre-drawn roadmap to success, so you won’t know how long you need to hold your focus. After awhile, you may start asking: “Is this working? Should I continue to do something that yields no results or should I change something?” Patience means having the ability to recognize changes in your environment, and to respond to feedback on your progress toward your objective, without losing focus or changing your perspective. Patience means having faith in your own ability to persevere. The ideal, patient mindset is enthusiastic, open, and willing to take a risk regardless of what happened yesterday.

Final thought

Commitment doesn’t start with a big life goal, vision, or anything like that. It starts with your attitude. The right attitude can be nurtured by setting yourself up for Quality Events. And Quality Events, as long as they have “correct” objectives, environments, and mindsets, can be as as small as you please.

Start with a small Quality Event and capture the feeling it brings to make sure your head and your heart are both in the right place. Concentrate on integrating life goals later. Remember: before we could land on the moon, we first had to fly 70 feet on a beach in North Carolina.

HOMEWORK

For those of you who found the first “Quality Event” homework too ambiguous, this homework is for you. For this lesson, I’m giving you parts of an answer—not “the” answer, mind you, but “an” answer, to what a job search plan could look like. Your homework is to read it and compare it to what you came up with the other day. That’s all, just think about it.

Example elements of a job search plan:

Calling potential employers

Objective: Get the names of 2 hiring managers before 8:30 a.m. each workday for one month
Environment: Quiet; Need pen, paper, live internet connection to access local information about where the company is located (for small talk with receptionist and other gatekeepers); Need headset so I can type and talk; Need Excel spreadsheet to capture information in systematic way.
Mindset: Anticipate 3 hang ups to every successful conversation, and 7 rejections for every name received; for 2 names, expect to make 20 calls. Will review spreadsheet at end of the week to see if these numbers hold true.

Engage hiring managers

Objective: Develop enough of a relationship with these hiring managers that I believe I could call them and they would look forward to my call.
Environment: Set the stage by telling them my situation and asking them what challenges they see with most new hires. “I’m looking for a job, but that’s not why I’m calling. I’m calling you because you’ve got a problem, and that problem impacts me. I know you want the best people, but if a great candidate knocked on your door tomorrow, you’d still hesitate to interview the person, let alone hire them. I need to know why, so that I can make the most of my own job search. It kills me to burn a potential lead to get this information, but it’s just that important. Would you help me? Could you take a few minutes to answer the question?”
Mindset: I’m making a friend, not pursuing a job lead. Friendships take time.

Build a reputation as a can-do person

Objective: Blog about great people I meet in my job search.
Environment: Typepad
Mindset: Everyone I meet is inherently good. If I feel someone is “bad,” it’s likely because I misread them. I am going to find the good in people and write about it on a daily basis.

These three activities are not only discrete elements of a job search, but each of them is designed to reinforce the chances of having a Quality Event: the first focuses on objectives; the second, on an environmental factor; and the third, on protecting perspective.

Do you see that?

Bonus Homework!

Create a Quality Event for someone other than yourself today. Shape their environment, cheer them up, and without being explicit, help them achieve something… even if the “objective” is to spend 5 minutes not worrying about the bills!

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4 responses to “Quality Event Mindsets | Foundation 2 – Lesson 4”

  1. mdabhi says:

    I’m realizing just how important attitude and my mind-set really is towards my own job-search. In the past whenever I got a rejection from a company I was targeting, my mind-set would just stop and needless to say I wouldn’t have the motivation to carry on with my job-search. Are there any techniques that you personally use to deal with adveristy?

    • Jason Seiden says:

      Great question. The answer is yes, there are techniques… and my guess is, these aren’t the kinds of things you’d expect. But they work, and you can apply them to anything.

      —Self-Discipline. If you’ve got it, use it. Of course, if you had enough of it, you wouldn’t be asking the question, right? ;)

      —Competition. Sometimes, if I can’t motivate myself, I find a friend and we’ll go to a coffee shop or someplace to work. Friendly competition around who can get more done usually is enough to motivate us. If no one else is around, I’ll go someplace public, like the library, and play little games like, “I’m not allowed to get up until that guy gets up.” The game keeps me in my seat, and I can usually power through my work in the meantime.

      —Indirect approach. Creativity doesn’t move in a straight line, and for me, neither does motivation. If I’m working on a project and can’t quite see it, I’ll start experimenting. For instance, if I’m struggling to do a proposal for a client, I might go online and download proposals for work in other industries. Then I’ll challenge myself to write the proposal as if it were, say, a movie treatment. That takes the pressure off, and before long, I’ve “tricked” myself into writing the bulk of the content… all I need to do then is reformat.

      —Get small. If I can’t write the proposal, I’ll write a section. Or a paragraph. Or a sentence. A word. No joking. (I do this when I’m running, too. Instead of concentrating on running 7 miles, I will focus on getting to the next mailbox… the next lamppost… the next intersection… string enough of those together, and you’ve gone 7 miles without even realizing it.

      —Music. Different music impacts me different ways. I’ve found that with certain songs I can sort of put them in the back of my brain and not listen to them, but still use the rhythm to set my pace. Again, it’s no different from running to music with tempo that’s perfectly matched to your stride. For some mental work—especially repetitive, mind-numbing work like cutting-and-pasting or managing spreadsheets, I will load a particular set onto the iPod and set it to “repeat.” Lots of people recommend calming music for this… personally, I don’t think the genre matters as much as the key and tempo of the music. (You can find a song that works and use iTunes’ Genius function if you’re struggling.) I even have some G’n’R mixed in to my “concentrate” music. It just works for me.

      —Get angry. Sometimes, lack of motivation comes from feeling a bit depressed, worthless, or hopeless. We all have those days. When I do, I can’t get to happy… good emotions like happiness don’t “stick.” They feel contrived… but I still know I need to work up the emotionally ladder. What I find for me is that instead of meditating or trying to cheer myself up—which may or may not work—I can overcome a bad mood by allowing myself to get angry first. I start hopeless, then find something outside of myself to get angry at. I channel that into my work, concentrating the whole time on beating the object of my anger. I can usually hold that emotion for long enough to get through my work. [When I’m done—and this is really important—I need to move out of angry. That means I have to reach for another emotion. I generally choose exhaustion. (Don’t tell me exhaustion isn’t an emotion. Just go with me here.) I’ll go for a run or do a workout or fix something in the house… Something with results I can look at and see. When finished, if I’m still wound up, I stretch. Until… I’m spent. And as corny as this sounds, when I get to that point, I generally feel much better, because I feel accomplished for the day. If I’m still not in a good mood, that’s OK, because by now happiness is “accessible” to me… all I need to do now is go through old photos and boom, I’ve got another wave of energy.]

      The specifics are obviously all going to be different, but these are attitude-level techniques I find work quite well.

  2. annamonster says:

    I definately have trouble dealing with adversity and motivation. I really relate to the jogging bit by focusing on small accomplishments. I do the same thing when I go running. I hadn’t really thought about it, but the part you said about competition when working is really true for me. I am recently out of school and so find myself working alone more often. While reading that I realized that I get more work done when in a public place. I am at the library now and it does help me stay on track.

  3. Jason Seiden says:

    @annamonster I love the library… btw, new science just came out saying that people are “happier” when they spend more time interacting with people eyeball to eyeball. And folks who study aging diseases (think Alzheimer’s) have found similar things, such as interacting socially can help stave off such diseases. We’re social creatures!

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