By Diane Dunton
Snorkeling wasn't an activity that I enjoyed. In fact, I always avoided it whenever the opportunity was presented. I am not talking about scuba diving. I am talking about snorkeling. You know, the mask, the mouthpiece, the flippers and all that is involved in the activity. I hated it.
I tried it a few times, but I always had the same results: no success. You see, I have asthma and I hate the mouthpiece, plus I am not a strong swimmer. About 10 years ago, I tried snorkeling while on a family vacation. We were out on a boat near a coral reef. I summoned up my courage, put the gear on, climbed down the ladder and plunged into the water. I really tried but with no success. I could not breathe! I could not manage the swimming with the breathing and the goggles and the looking into the water for fish. I couldn't see a thing. I quickly turned around and went back to the boat. "Never again," I thought. "Never."
Taking One Step at a Time
Last year, I decided to pursue swimming. I began in July and over the past nine months, I have built up my stamina for breathing as well as my strength. I can now swim a mile! This did not happen all at once but over time. I could not imagine being able to swim a mile when I first started. I had to work hard over the past months.
With the ability to swim and feeling strong, I had another opportunity to try snorkeling. I decided I would try it again and put aside all of my past fears. I had in many ways been preparing for this by swimming. At first, I tried snorkeling in shallow water and I soon became comfortable with the equipment. Then, I booked an excursion to go out to a reef. Wearing snorkeling gear and a life jacket, I jumped into the water. This time, success. I snorkeled! I saw fish in the ocean! Beautiful fish that I had never seen before in my life were now available to me.
In order to master this activity, I had to essentially start over. Starting over was not easy; starting over never is. Whether it is trying something new or trying something that we have not done in a long time, the process is the same and it takes courage.
Looking for a job, whether it is the first time in years or something you've done in recent years, takes time and preparation. In a similar fashion, I had to start over in how I thought of snorkeling, by preparing and then taking small steps. You can take the same approach with your job search.
When starting a job search, reflect on how you are thinking about it. Ask yourself:
- Are you approaching it with fear or with a vision of success?
- Do you know what you want to do and have you identified several job or career options?
- Do you have the skills you need to conduct your job search?
- Have you developed a plan?
- Is your resume ready?
- Do you have a list of people you want to network with?
- Have you practiced an informational interview?
Rallying Your Support System
Support is critical in starting over. I told family members that I wanted to try snorkeling again.
- Whose support can you solicit during your search?
- What do you need from them: a listening ear, ideas, or just to check in with you during your search?
Creating a vision, preparing yourself, and having support can lead to success. You will soon be swimming in a sea of opportunities, instead of swimming in fear.