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  • Writer's pictureSteph

Slowing down to accomplish more

Updated: Jun 7

Photo of surfer.

Find your zen to recharge

Being an athlete, the day before sports matches was for low-key training, preparation, and strategy. My teammates and I were driven and we wanted to win. It was extremely difficult to take it easy rather than run more laps or cram in more drills. When everything was on the line, shouldn't we be practicing harder? Yet, our coaches didn't want us to risk an injury or burnout.

In job searching, sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to know when to slow down so that we can ultimately keep going, do more, and preserve our energy for our game day: the interview series that will ultimately lead to an amazing job offer.

Similarly, when you've been job searching your heart out for what seems like forever, you owe it to yourself to take strategic breaks. There comes a point of diminishing returns in productivity and emotional strain that can set you back. Better to pace yourself. Slowing down gives you an invaluable pause to adjust, reset, and fine-tune your efforts.

Here are some ways to slow your roll.

Take a day off from your job search.

If you're reading this blog post, you care about finding a new work opportunity. You have a meaningful vision for your professional life, and I'm guessing you are working tirelessly to achieve it. The urgency is real. While counterintuitive, taking breaks lets you refuel the tank: do things you enjoy, connect with people you care about, and just clear your mind. When you return to work on your search, you'll have renewed perspective and more energy.

Give yourself more time.

Most job-finding missions include financial aspects and I am not going to diminish that fact. It's good that you are taking it seriously and doing what is in your control to improve your livelihood. At the same time, we can only do so much. The pandemic job market is unpredictable (read: weird) and we're all on this rollercoaster together. I encourage taking positive action steps while taking time out of it. Having a preferred timeline can be motivating but it’s only fair for the pieces you can control. Flexibility is key to your well-being.

For example, if you promised yourself you would submit three job applications this weekend and unexpected life responsibilities interfered, why not keep the goal of applying to three jobs and simply move the finish line? Give yourself another few days. The main thing is to keep taking action; it's okay to give yourself an extension. Stay committed.

Have a mindful day.

As many of you know by now, I love mindfulness meditation. The good news is you do not need to be a meditation devotee to try a little mindfulness on its own. Mindfulness is a broad topic, and there are multiple definitions. To me, being mindful is slowing down to notice things. Maybe you focus a little more attention when washing the dishes or brushing your teeth; or, you become aware of the trees and sounds of birds the next time you're outside.

Enjoying a mindful day also gives you a chance to check in with yourself. What is it that you need and want? Importantly, what's going well? Being mindful doesn't mean analyzing; it's more about observing. Being rather than doing. Nevertheless, I find that when I start to slow down my day and just notice stuff, it's easier to connect with myself and how I'm feeling about things. While not the goal of mindfulness, this practice often leads me to more creativity, self-reflection, intuition, and maybe some self-compassion if I'm lucky.

All of us deserve a gentle rest for our minds and our nervous systems. There's a whole wide world out there that is easy to miss when we're hyper-focused on a job search. Balance is key.

Who is your favorite kind of boss?

Think about your ideal supervisor. When it comes to assigning projects and motivating the team, what qualities do they have? Are they demanding and never let up or do they set a realistic pace that includes time for fun?

You are the CEO of your job-finding quest.

Treat yourself as if you were your own Dream Boss. If they knew you, your natural work style, your potential, natural gifts, and the environment in which you flourish, consider what that setting would look like. Now, give that to yourself.

A while back, I had the chance to speak personally with a titan of industry and asked them how they achieved their success. They said each day they worked 10% more towards their goal, elaborating that their spirit animal was a turtle. Such a small percentage and one of the slowest members of the animal kingdom. Still, this person explained if all you have is 20-minutes on most days, it adds up. I have never forgotten that advice.

We live in a world of speed, burnout, and collapse. It doesn't have to be this way. Even top marathoners take sips of water. Go at your own pace, take your rest periods, and keep moving towards what you want professionally. I hope you have as short of a job search as possible; it is okay to slow down just enough to keep your aim towards what you want. Then take the ball and run with it.

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