No matter where you live and where you want to work, there’s probably an ocean between you and what you want. No, I don’t mean the vast body of water that covers 71% of the planet. It’s not that you live in the UK and want to work in the US. Not that kind of ocean.
It’s the ocean of thoughts that swim around your brain. Constantly circulating thoughts, feelings, and past experiences.
These include the hurts, insults, misunderstandings, false accusations, lack of validation and other debris leftover from all the people who ever spoke to you unkindly – accidentally or intentionally. All the efforts you made that went unrewarded. All the dreams that couldn’t be sustained, in reality.
This internal pollution typically isn’t visible at the surface.
I know. I have an ocean, too. I’ve had to dredge it, sift it, cleanse it and recirculate it. It’s actually part of the work I do regularly, along with checking my calendar and making my bed. It’s a daily ritual. So, when I speak to you, my ocean is clean and clear. That freshness allows me to simply say what I mean. Ask what I need to know. Listen to what you say. Hear what you mean.
In almost every interaction, I see all the old trash that litters the present consciousness of the person I’m speaking to.
Largely, this is my job. I am a communications and career coach. When you speak, I listen for what will move you forward and what is holding you back. If my ocean of thoughts were littered with the remnants of uncomfortable past experiences, I would not have a clear mind to help you read yours.
While you may rarely speak to a communications coach, most everyone else you speak to knows what I know, just in a different way. They sense that something is wrong with you. They might think you’re unqualified, overqualified, defensive, evasive, irritable, moody, inconsistent, unreliable, nervous, rude or just nutty.
If you have not succeeded, it’s largely because you are sinking in your own ocean. The undertow keeps you from being entirely present and clearly engaged with the people and opportunities around you. That’s what’s cluttering up your communication and stopping people from trusting you, liking you and caring about you. That’s why they are reluctant to hire you, promote you, award you a raise, invest in you and otherwise help you get where you want to go. It’s why you’re stopped, stalled, irritated, and find yourself stuck with “difficult” people. It’s why you don’t get a response to your resume or calls, it’s this sense that you’re somehow not “right.”
The fix? Get yourself a stack of index cards. With every negative thought – like a desire to complain, procrastinate, challenge authority or otherwise undermine yourself – take a card and write it down. Then ask yourself: “Who first told me that?” “Who gave me this impression of myself or the world?”
Do it now and never stop. Oceans need lifeguards. You are yours. If you want more tips on this, email [email protected]. Subject line: Ocean.