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    Think Like a Sports Pro to Ace Your Job Search

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    What do sports and your job search have in common? More than you think when it comes to strategies and mindset. Professional athletes have to have incredible focus. It’s all about the competition and no matter what physical strength is involved, winning the game starts and ends with the mindset.

    The following tips will help you ace your search.

    1-Prepare. Ready for the big game?

    Athletes prepare for months, even years, with a rigorous training schedule, healthy eating, keeping focused on the end result – the win. Before you venture out looking for your next gig, consider what you need to do to prepare. Update your written materials such as resume, bio, LinkedIn profile, Visual CV, etc. Are you confident in your interviewing skills, sound bites (your 15-, 30-, 60-, and 90-second introductions), and salary negotiations? Put your “play book” together and create a career action plan.

    2-Motivation. Every athlete uses motivation in some form.

    Whether it’s the drive to reach new personal goals, or the “I’ll show you” method, sports can teach you ways to overcome adversity. What spurs you on to complete a challenge? You could even create your own team to keep you motivated—a professional network of people/mentors.

    3-Use self-talk. Believe in yourself.

    Athletes constantly hear from team members and coaches: “You can do it! You can do it!” However, at some point, the athlete needs to believe it to achieve it. Sometimes that occurs through self-talk. While in your transition, replace negative thoughts with positive ones to shift your energy and belief that, yes, you will find the right next position.

    4-Visualize. Picture yourself at the finish line.

    How many athletes do you think picture themselves making that touchdown in the end zone or running across the finish line? Stephen Covey stated it in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “Begin with the end in mind.” Once you have visualized yourself accepting an offer to the new job, you are almost half way to attaining it.

    5-Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you.

    We don’t need to bring the athletes in on this point, we see and hear how this plays out during most games or athletic events. Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements discusses how people take words and actions of others personally when it is not theirs to take. It’s easy to jump to premature conclusions. Ask questions to avoid misunderstandings and express what you feel is important.

    6-Don’t give up. Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.

    Professional athletes, Olympic competitors, and even kids involved in local sports leagues often come within seconds of defeat, only to somehow find the inspiration, discipline and singular focus on the goal to win. When you feel discouraged, put your focus back into perspective, even if it is on a small goal. Remember what motivates you about this career change, give yourself a pep talk, visualize reaching your goal, and celebrate the wins along the way.

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