“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.” — Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Have you ever been faced with a challenge that seems like a brick wall that is too ridiculously high to climb over? In these moments we can often feel angry, scared, frustrated, alone and think to ourselves: “Why me?” “Why now?” “I can’t do that!” “There’s no way I can get past this!”
I totally get it. We all get it, because we’ve all been there. The thing is that there are plenty of people making it over to the other side, some of whose walls are even higher than yours. It might take them a while, they might have to get creative on how they do it, but they still make it over eventually and if they can, so can you.Advertising
Instead of filling your mind with thoughts that keep your feet glued to the ground, try telling yourself these 10 sentences and start climbing that wall one little step at a time. The grass is greener on the other side.
1. “I am stronger and more capable than I think I am.”
You have deep wells of strength that you don’t even know exist. Sometimes our brains try to hide these from us in an attempt to keep us safe and within our comfort zone, but you don’t have to believe everything you think. I promise you that you are physically, mentally and emotionally stronger than you think you are.
2. “I have faced and conquered many challenges in my life and I can do it again.”
Take a moment to think about a time in your life that was really hard. A huge challenge that you didn’t think you could get through but you did. You fought, you pushed through the fear and in the end you achieved the seemingly unachievable. You did it then and you can absolutely do it now.Advertising
3. “I know there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this, even if I don’t understand what it is right now.”
We are not meant to live in our comfort zone. If we did we would never do anything, we would never experience full lives or grow or evolve. Life gives us challenges to test us and push us further than we ever thought possible. Often we look back on past experiences and see why they happened or what we learned from them. There is something to learn from this one too, even if we don’t know what it is right now.
4. “I can find happiness in any situation.”
Your life will never be perfect. There is no moment in the future where everything will line up and you will be blissfully happy. “I’ll be happy when (fill in the blank).” That moment doesn’t exist. Happy people choose to be happy now by finding something to be grateful for in any situation. It can be as simple as your morning coffee that tastes so delicious. Think through and focus on the positives more than you do the negatives.
5. “I have made mistakes before but I am not my mistakes. I believe in my ability to change and be better.”
We all make mistakes, it’s a part of life. It’s also the way we learn and grow. You have no control over the things that have happened in the past, but you do have control over the decisions you make in the future. Choose to believe in your ability to make better decisions. Sure you might make a few more mistakes along the way, and who cares? Learn from them, grow from them and move on.Advertising
6. “I am calm and collected as I make my way through this.”
We think more clearly and have better judgment when our minds are calm. Take a few minutes to yourself. Breathe in and out slowly. Let any thoughts that come in float away (I actually picture mine as little butterflies floating into the sky) and say to yourself, “I am calm and collected as I make my way through this.”
7. “I trust myself in making great decisions.”
Sometimes challenges can leave us feeling torn and completely confused. Trust that deep down you know what the best answer or approach is. Whatever you choose and whatever happens will eventually work out and be OK. So take the pressure off yourself and trust in your intuition.
8. “I have the ability to solve problems creatively.”
You have the ability to think outside the box and get creative when it comes to solving your own problems. Trust in yourself and this creative power. If you’re doing something that’s not working, try a different approach. The worst thing that could happen is that it stays the same as it is now.Advertising
9. “I am not expected to do this alone. I can ask for help if I want it.”
Whatever the challenge is, you are not expected to do it alone. Reach out to people who love and support you or seek the assistance of healers, counselors, whomever and whatever you think will help you get through this. It’s amazing how simple our problems can seem when we start working through them with others.
10. “I choose to see this challenge as an opportunity.”
It can be hard to be positive in times of struggle, but a huge challenge is only one because we let it be. Force yourself to look for the opportunities you are being given because of this challenge. It could be that it has brought you closer to your family and friends, or that you have learned a valuable lesson. See your challenges as opportunities to grow and be better.
You can do this. You are strong enough.
“Every great story on the planet happened when someone decided not to give up but kept going no matter what.” — Spryte Loriano
Featured photo credit: Life is hard/D. Garding via flickr.com
Last Updated on March 14, 2019
7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer
Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.
For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.
Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.
1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?
A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.
It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.
It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.
How it helps you:
If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.
Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.
2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?
Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.
Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?
How it helps you:
Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.
Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?
If so, then this may not be the right match for you.
Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.
3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?
Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!
Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.
How it helps you:
This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.
For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.
Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.
A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.
4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?
To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.
A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.
How it helps you:
One word: hierarchy.
All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.
In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.
If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.
5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?
Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.
Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.
How it helps you:
Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.
If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?
This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.
6. What do you like about working here?
This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.
Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?
How it helps you:
You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.
Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?
Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.
7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?
What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.
As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.
How it helps you:
What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.
First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?
Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?
Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.
Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.
Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.
Making Your Interview Work for You
Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.
Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!
More Resources About Job Interviews
- 10 Things Strong Interview Candidates Do That Make Them Get Hired Every Time
- The Most Challenging Interview Questions and Answers You Should Give
- How to Answer Behavioral Based Interview Questions Smartly
- Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity
Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com