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7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Give Up So Easily

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Give Up So Easily

We all hit points when it seems like going on is next to impossible. When you’re already overwhelmed, it’s easy to talk yourself into giving up. But giving up too soon could cause you to miss out on success. You never know how soon you might start seeing progress if you hang in there and give it a little more time. Here are eight good reasons you should keep at it just a little longer.

1. It takes many iterations for one success.

“If birds can glide for long periods of time, then… why can’t I?” -Orville Wright

You’ve heard of that thing called an airplane, right? It took Orville and Wilbur Wright many iterations of gliders, and years of testing and trying, to get to a powered “flying machine.”

They didn’t call each iteration a failure. They called it a way to improve, because each test, each trial, gave them new information which influenced and improved the next model.

Not getting it right the first time, or the 100th time, is not a sign that you should quit. It’s simply a way for you to keep learning how to do it better next time.

2. Instant success is a myth.

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

We’ve all heard stories of the overnight rise to fame. But the truth is that what looks like an instant or overnight success is always preceded by years of struggle and work.

There’s a long, hard road to success, but when success hits we only focus on the last mile or so. It looks so easy, and makes for such a great story, that we ignore the miles and miles of obscurity, difficulty, and perseverance required to get to that hill top of glory.

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Those stories make us feel that if we haven’t achieved a high level of success in a matter of days or months, we must be doing something wrong. And we are: we’re listening to make-believe stories as if they were guidelines to how life actually works.

3. Your success might matter more than you think it does.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” -Abraham Lincoln

And if you give up now, you don’t know what you could have accomplished and what the world might be missing because of you.

It was after Abraham Lincoln lost two runs for a senatorial seat that he ran for president of the United States…and won. That election put Lincoln at the helm during the War Between the States, and Lincoln is the one who issued the Emancipation Proclamation three years after his election.

What if he had decided, after two losses in politics, that it was time to give it up and retire to the country?

What if you decide that your success doesn’t matter? Your losses are too great, and it’s time to pull back to something average, give up, and settle down. Average is good enough.

Except that average never changed the world.

4. The most worthwhile things are not easy.

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” -Pablo Picasso

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We like easy, comfortable, familiar things. That’s because we tend to be lazy, and we don’t want to put forth the effort required to do difficult things. Because we shirk from the effort, we go to great lengths to convince ourselves that we don’t need that goal… whatever it is. We pretend that we’re satisfied with the easy things, but we know the truth.

The best things, the things that matter most, are the most difficult.

A great relationship, a career you can be proud of, a family, serving, innovating, helping others? All of those require deep thought, self-control, self-sacrifice, and a willingness to put in a lot of effort over a long amount of time.

But what could be better than the results you get from such an effort?

5. You might not have tried the right thing yet.

“If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.” -Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton failed miserably at being a farmer before he found his way to a career in science.

He wasn’t good at farming, but he was a genius at what he did after he failed at farming.

If you’re trying and failing, perhaps you just haven’t tried the right thing yet. Don’t judge yourself and quit on life and on your goals because you’ve failed in one area, or even several. Every time you try and fail, you learn something about yourself, about life, and you gain experience that can help you to do better next time.

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So press on. Try something different, and don’t let past failure keep you from future success.

6. Tenacity matters more than talent.

To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” -Mark Twain

If you feel like you aren’t good enough, or talented enough, remember this: there are plenty of supremely talented people out there working at dead-end jobs, not using their talents.

Talent is great, but without tenacity, talent won’t get you very far.

I know, I know: the overnight success stories. Right. But there’s a backstory to those, remember? And the backstory is the tenacity that kept that talented person pushing forward, long before success “hit.” Success doesn’t hit, or happen. Success is something you reach by hard work and determination.

So hang in there, and stay tenacious.

7. Your past does not determine your future.

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” -Bill Cosby

Many great successes were once known as big, sad, sorry failures.

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Every famous writer was once a wanna be writer.

Every amazing entrepreneur was once a shaky little start-up.

And 99.9 percent of the time, their first attempts were not their best. But they didn’t quit. They pushed through one bad draft after another, one business flop after another, until they learned enough and tried enough that they succeeded.

Each failure teaches you. Each attempt can give you valuable insight into how to do better next time.

You’re not doomed to repeat the past. You’re given an invaluable gift: the ability to think about and learn from your past. That past may be the very thing that give you the future you want.

Don’t quit. Success is ahead.

Featured photo credit: Aleksander Markin via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

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?

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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