Thursday, 26 December 2013

What Cathy Freeman can teach you about successful jobsearching

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, received the gifts they were hoping for, were surrounded by family and friends.

Now, we are already well and truly into New Year.

Most people set goals and resolutions at this time of year: I want to lose weight, I want to gain a new job; I want to pay off the credit card - and these things are great goals.  But did you know that by end of January most people have already not achieved the goals and resolutions that they set for themselves?

I want to encourage job seekers to don't be just another failed resolution statistic. Instead, get real, get serious about your job search.  If you want to gain a job, then you NEED to make a detailed Action Plan and start working your plan every single day until you achieve your employment goal.

One of the best books I have found useful in helping me set and achieve the goals I set for myself is Blake Beattie's Bullseye!: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Your Goals. Right from the Introduction, with the following small story about Australian athlete Cathy Freeman, every time I read this book I become motivated with renewed enthusiasm to check the goals I have written down and increase my efforts to achieve them:

"In 1992, a little-known Australian athlete failed to make the semifinals of the Olympic 400-metre race.  She was devastated, but determined to turn around the result.  Her ultimate goal was to win a gold medal in the Barcelona Olympics in 1996.  She worked out that the time she would need to win was 48.6 seconds, so she wrote this number down, and put it on her dressing table, where she would see it every day.  She then worked out the time she would need for each of the 400 metre sections and trained accordingly.  

In 1996, Cathy Freeman ran a time of 48.63 seconds, just three hundredths of a second outside the goal that she had set for herself.  She thought the time would be good enough to win gold; instead it was France's Marie Jose Perec who won with an Olympic record of 48.25 seconds. 

Freeman said that she was happy to get silver because it prepared her for what was to come next; a gold medal in front of her home crowd at the 2000 Sydney games.

Success for Cathy came from singleness of purpose and the clarity of her goal."

Inspiring, isn't it?

What can you, as a jobseeker, learn from someone as inspirational and iconic as Cathy Freeman?  And how can you apply her positive role-modelling traits to your jobsearch?

As Blake Beattie says, "Success for Cathy came from singleness of purpose and the clarity of her goal."

  • Cathy Freeman developed and followed a personal action plan - and so should you
  • Cathy Freeman worked towards her goal daily, with passion and dedication - and so should you (I'm sure she had her days when she lost enthusiasm and motivation, but her goals were so meaningful to her she never let go of her dream to win gold)
  • Cathy Freeman learned lessons and experienced setbacks along the way - and so will you
  • Cathy Freeman used that knowledge gained along the way so she could improve her chance of success for next time, which worked - and so should you
  • Cathy Freeman is sure to have used her talents (as a runner) as well as using the right resources, despite the costs (a sports coach, proper running gear) - and so should you

Gaining a job, for most people, doesn't just fall in their lap. Gaining a job comes from putting in time and effort to learn all you can about successfully gaining a job and taking the actions and steps that will get you there; that could mean undertaking training to gain a qualification, or just learning more about the industry you are trying to enter into so that when you speak with employers you can speak knowledgeably and with confidence (even if you are only seeking a general role!)

Cathy Freeman learned that just reaching the speed of 48.6 seconds was only just enough to get her 'in the running' (excuse the pun) for medal contention; she learned that it didn't guarantee her gold medal success. She had followed her action plan and put her best foot forward - but she didn't just stop there.  When she 'failed' to achieve her goal, Cathy learned from the experience and readjusted her goals so that next time she would succeed. It took Cathy a failure to qualify, and a coming second for her to learn what she needed to know and really do in order to achieve the ultimate success - And YOU will find the same thing: that putting in time and effort will get you 'in the running' for the positions you want too.

For job seekers, you have a two-step process to master: 1) submitting quality applications so that you are invited to interviews, and then 2) mastering the interview so that you are the candidate offered the job.  Don't expect to have perfected the process right from the onset: once you get 'in the running' from your applications, you can then shift to developing how to get 'in the running' with interviews to be offered the job.

If you need help setting goals, whether they be job search related or personal, and you don't have an employment agency to help you (or even if you do) then I highly recommend you purchase Blake Beattie's Bullseye!: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Your Goals; consider it a resource that will be invaluable towards your gaining success, not just with your job search, but with any other area of your life you wish to make changes to!

See a review of this book here.


Did you like this article?  Please feel free to share it with family and friends who may need some positive jobsearch motivation. And of course, I would love to receive your comments too. You can leave me one using the Comments section below. Alternatively, if you don't want others to see your comments then you can private message me using the Contact Form at the side of this article page, and you can find me on Facebook and Pinterest.

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