Think back to the last time you looked for a job. Chances are, you were on the hunt because the job you were currently in wasn’t fulfilling. You made the choice to start putting in applications, even though you knew you would face some rejection. With every “thank you for your application, but we’ve hired someone who better matches the skills required” letter you receive, it gets harder and harder to submit applications without self-deprecating. You may even contemplate staying miserable in the job you have because “at least it’s a job” rather than continuing to look for something better and more worthy of your time.
Whenever we face a difficult challenge or choice on the way to achieving something we want, it feels easier to give up than to carry on. This happens because we feel like we can’t do anything to make things easier. But once we get through it, we look back and realize it wasn’t as bad as we thought. In fact, we usually stress ourselves out far more than is necessary.
It’s only a moment of frustration, don’t give up.
When we feel like we are losing any and all motivation we had to begin with, it can be nearly impossible to get it back.
In keeping with the example of looking for a new job while stuck in a difficult one, it’s sad to think so many of us would allow our emotions to drown out our optimism. We were not born to go to work, pay bills and die. If you spend a majority of your time at work instead of at home, why in the world would you settle for a career that makes you miserable? Yes, there are risks and hardships included any time you try to achieve a goal, each stressor is worth it in the end. But it can be so challenging to remember that when you’re going through it.
When we face a really difficult challenge – like constant rejection from companies – we can develop tunnel vision and lose sight of the optimism all around us. All we see is the failure and heartache of not succeeding. We completely disregard the notion that this will one day be a memory and we could be recalling the memory from a corner office!
So how are we supposed to take those blinders off and push through, even when we feel anything but motivated?
Let’s explore it in our complete guide on how not to give up:
Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.
The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.
The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.
Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages
People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.
They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.
Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise
They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else. A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
Their stories are full of holes. Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising. The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.
How to Spot a Wolf
Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony
Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.
A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.
A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.
Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.
Ask Questions, the More the Better
There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.
When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.
Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.
They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.
Wolves Are Everywhere
As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.