Job Search Series – Think Positive! Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks

 The optimist declares, “The glass is half full.”
The pessimist despairs, “The glass is half empty.”
While they argue, the opportunist takes the glass, says,
“Cheers,” and drinks it.

The New Year is a time when we are standing on the high ground looking down at the sweeping landscape of the year ahead and believing that there isn’t anything we can’t accomplish. Former NFL quarterback-turned-ESPN football analyst and businessman Ron Jaworski said, “Positive thinking is the key to success in business, education, pro football, anything that you can mention. I go out there thinking that I’m going to complete every pass.”

Despite the flippancy of the quote under the half-full glass above (which is my twist on others’ twists on the age-old glass half full/empty sentiment), adopting a positive attitude will position you to take advantage of opportunity when it comes knocking at your door. Sometimes that knock is very soft, so you have to be aware and alert, which you can be when you are optimistic and looking up, rather than pessimistic and looking down.

There are many examples of how the power of a positive attitude can change your life for the better, improve your health and even safe your life! Here are a few:

  1. The Power of Positive Thinking, the landmark and internationally bestselling book by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, helped millions to gain confidence and improve their lives. Dr. Peale was a clergyman and his philosophy was anchored in the Christian faith and conservative politics. But, one need not be Christian or a conservative to gain some valuable nuggets of practical advice in this bestselling book.
  2. A positive outlook can be good for your health. The now well-known story of Norman Cousins, the long-time editor of Saturday Review magazine, and proponent of the power of positive attitudes in overcoming illness, which he documented in his book, Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by the Patient. Mr. Cousins was convinced that positivity, determination and rolling-in-the-aisles laughter helped him to recover from a serious illness. And, the Mayo Clinic advocates that positive thinking can reduce stress.
  3. A positive attitude is one of the top qualities sought by employers and clients.  Employers want team members who are optimistic and upbeat because they know that such positivity is good for the morale and productivity of the workplace. And, clients want the entrepreneurs, vendors and companies that they hire to bring a can-do approach and mind-set to the table. Both employers and clients want answers, results and resolutions, not complaints, problems and pessimism.
  4. Positive thinking and determination can save your life. A riveting story in the New York Times Magazine, “A Speck in the Sea,”recounts the plight of Montauk, New York, fisherman John Aldridge who fell overboard one early summer morning before dawn while preparing to collect his lobster traps. Although terrified, he told himself, “No negative thoughts… Stay positive. Stay strong.” He did, and it (spoiler alert!) helped him to stay alive long enough to be rescued.

An optimistic approach to your tasks and responsibilities can energize you to:

  • Become organized.
  • Improve your hard and soft skills.
  • Update your resume and make it a powerful, modern, marketing tool.
  • Enhance your online social and professional presence (such as establishing and filling in your LinkedIn Profile).
  • Expand your network of contacts.
  • Get out and socialize person-to-person with confidence at networking events.
  • Perfect your dining etiquette so that you shine at interview and business luncheons and dinners.
  • Develop a professional self-marketing plan to obtain a new job or secure that promotion.
  • Enrich your family and social relationships
  • Reach out to others in a kind and uplifting way.

If a positive outlook can change your life, reduce stress, improve your health and even help to save your life in an emergency, it certainly can help you get through school to graduation, land a job and start – or restart — your career. I’ll be addressing topics this year that will help to you master the leadership skills that will lead to your success. So with your glass half full come along with me on this journey. I’m thinking that soon you’ll have a glass that’s completely full.

Until next time,


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