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by by Jane Allen | March 10, 2009


One of the many career change challenges is taking care of your mental health by monitoring how you're feeling about yourself and what you're doing. Basically, we're talking self-esteem here, folks.

When your self-esteem is up, you do what needs to be done with confidence and energy. Without hesitating, you act upon an opportunity. Set-backs are met with creative, positive responses ("OK, how can I approach this differently?") instead of global disaster thinking ("I never do anything right!").

When you're not feeling so good about yourself, every mole hill looks like Mount Everest, and you're climbing on your own with a Mini Cooper lashed to your back. Every innocent (and maybe even trying to be helpful) "how's the job search going?" can be a dagger in your heart.

Career change is often a long grind. When it feels like you're the one being ground, it's time to give yourself a pick-me-up. No, not the caffeine or sugar kind. Something else entirely.

Weeks ago, I ran across the term "magnificent behavior." Such elegant words. Say them out loud and they sort of roll off the lips. Then (and here and there) I pondered the questions: What qualifies as magnificent behavior? Who is behaving magnificently?

All too often, my rambling brain came up with examples of decidedly non-magnificent behavior. They're so much easier to find. Pushing those thoughts away, I kept trying. Never once did I consider that some part of me might fit the description.

Then a bit of synchronicity occurred, pointing me in that direction where I hadn't thought to look. An e-mail from DailyOM - determined to remind me of my own magnificence - asked me to write down five things that I like about myself.

Sure, I thought, I can come up with five.

Reading on, I saw that they wanted me to do this over a week's time, and I was to write down at least five things each day! FIVE EACH DAY? Oh dear. That would be 35 things that I like about myself.

DailyOM acknowledged that I might have some problems with the assignment and offered help:

"If you are still struggling with what to include on your list, think of what you like about your favorite people, because these traits are probably qualities that you possess too. ... [Or] think of five things you don't like about yourself and find something about these traits that you can like."

There's more. Here comes the even harder part:

"At the end of the week, read the list aloud to yourself while standing in front of a mirror. Instead of looking for flaws to fix, allow the mirror to reflect your magnificence."

Uh oh. Did a huge "NO WAY!" reaction just kick in for you? Reading praises to yourself in front of a mirror ... ? Is your brain screaming, "Silly, lame stuff! FORGET this!"?

DailyOM anticipated that response as well:

"Remember, it is when you feel the most resistant that this exercise can benefit you the most. Because we are constantly looking at the world, instead of looking at ourselves, we don't often see what's magnificent about ourselves that others do. When we take the time to experience ourselves the way we would experience someone we love and admire, we become our best companion and supporter on life's journey."

What's on your list? I'm still working on mine. And the mirror thing? I guess I'll give that a try, too.


Filed Under: Job Search

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