You are the Language

You are the language you speak. If you talk about can’t and don’t, you won’t.

If you talk about go and do, you will. You are the language you believe. If you focus on limitations, you’ll operate within and be constrained by the assumptions you have about yourself and others. If you presume that you can do no wrong you’ll be insensitive to the negative impact of your best intentions. If you believe there isn’t much you can do right you’ll practice what you do wrong. How do you see yourself? As a problem to be solved? A gift to be appreciated?  A mystery to be explored? An inventor, sustainer, investigator? And how do you perceive others? As encouragers, enablers; barriers; receivers, transmitters?

As the saying goes, “if what you always do is what you’ve always done, what you’ll always be is what you’ve always been.” When it comes to looking for a job you’ll need to be more than your mental models command. Dare to question the assumptions your teachers, family and friends have instilled within you if they limit you and what may be possible for you to attain. Set aside assumptions of negative stereotypes of employers, work, the workplace, and your place in it. Visualize yourself in a different and better future and see yourself as whole, resourceful, supportive, positive and succeeding, working with people who are as you picture yourself to be.

If cynicism, pessimism, or fear is getting in your way, put it on hold while you give this a try: Take yourself back to a time and place when life was working for you: when you felt included, capable, and as good about yourself as others felt good about you. What were the circumstances that contributed to your feeling competent, valued, and integral to a team? Who was involved, how did you make a difference, what did you enjoy doing?  Capture it. Take this experience and convert it into energy you can draw on now.

Using the past as a springboard to the present, describe yourself to your networks and prospective employers as someone who has demonstrated the potential that exists within you. Combine the best of what you’ve done with the elements that bring out the best in who you are. Connect with people who in turn know people who know of opportunities where you can deliver on that promise.

Stay open and broaden your thinking.  Life long learners find pathways to expand their horizons in real or virtual terms that closed-end thinkers miss. Life long learners tap into the wisdom of best business practices; into the creativity of artisans and inventors; into the enterprise of entrepreneurs; into the systems and process thinking of engineers. They are open to, seek out, and find opportunities for formal and informal, individual study and group discussion. They read about and talk to individuals whose contributions have added value to their respective fields of endeavor, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally; that include (and are not limited to) business, technology, science, health and human services, travel, sport, education, the arts, government, politics, religion, community and public service.

Take a chance and do something, somewhere, that you’ve not dared before; open the doors and the windows and introduce yourself to locations, foods, traditions, modes of travel, styles of dress, opinions, concepts, and belief systems that you’ve not earlier experienced and see what happens. You won’t be the same and you don’t have to be different; but you will have access to potential that enables you move through change with a grace you’ve not earlier experienced. You’ll not only survive; you’ll thrive. Try it. You have everything to gain.

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Joyce Richman ( has been specializing in executive and career coaching since she started her own practice in 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce has appeared regularly on WFMY-TV and is the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her coaching profile can be found at

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