Job Seeking – Dealing with Negativity Through a Positive Attitude

We read a lot about being positive and maintaining a positive attitude to things. Sometimes, when you read those sort of articles you are left thinking that it’s not okay to have negative thoughts or to react to something. If you are a job seeker then you will invariably face rejection and your instinctive response isn’t to think “that’s great” is it?

I am a great believer in focusing on the positive and projecting a positive image to the world. But is is okay, in fact it is more than “okay” to be disappointed or annoyed by that rejection email or telephone call.

“Their Loss” or “sounds like a lucky escape” is my better half’s response when I get the dreaded rejection after an interview. Whilst I always know that it’s intended to focus me in a positive way I am sure that any job seeker will be able to tell you that it can be disheartening. This is especially so when you get nonsensical feedback such as I received recently that “you didn’t give any examples of XYZ” during the interview to which my response if I had been able to give it to the interviewer was “you didn’t ask any questions around XYZ.”

That reaction to a disappointing outcome is potentially negative isn’t it? But it’s how we react after the initial reaction and process it that matters.

So, allow yourself to have a negative reaction and then you need to focus yourself on the next opportunity that you are pursuing. The following are some ideas on how you can do this.

The best way to eliminate negativity is to develop a positive attitude. Your thoughts and outlook on life have a profound effect on how you live your life. They are also contagious and affect those around you. You can’t have both positive and negative in the same space. So why not focus on turning the negativity into something more positive?

You will find you have more energy and enthusiasm when you have a more positive attitude. People will want to be around you more, and will be more positive as well, leading to a cascade effect. Negativity tends to bring you down and steal away your energy. It can also cause health issues over time. Some ways you can develop a more positive attitude are:

Read Books about Positive Thinking

There are many books out there that can teach you about how to develop a positive mindset and eliminate the negativity in your life. Reading is not only a great way to learn, but it helps your brain build more connections which keep it healthy for a longer time. You can even find many very good books on this subject in your local library and read them for free.


Affirmations are a way of reprogramming the negative thoughts you tell yourself – and in many cases, you may not even be aware that you have them. By doing affirmations, you can change these negative thoughts into positive ones. You can start thinking better of yourself.


Meditation is a great way to help eliminate negativity and turn it into positive thinking. It also reduces stress. Because you get past the conscious level, you can really help reprogram your mindset with meditation. If you combine this with the affirmations, you can increase the results.

Spend time with positive people

Try to eliminate or limit contact with people who tend to have a negative mindset. Sometimes you can’t completely break off contact with them, especially if they are family or people you work with, but as much as possible try to spend time with positive people. Not only will you find it easier to be positive around them, but you may learn new ways to help yourself be more positive.

Celebrate Your Achievements

Do you take time to celebrate your achievements? I know that I tend to be quite a reflective person and Celebrate Your Achievementslike many others I tend to incline towards reflecting on what could have gone differently or better. It’s all too easy for us to default to reflect on those things we can learn most from and that tends to be the things which could have gone better. However, we need to make time to also reflect and celebrate our achievements.

This can be especially helpful at a time when you are looking to secure a new job because it brings to front of mind those things you have done which have made a difference. You can then ensure that you weave these into your answers at interview as examples of what you have achieved.

When we sit back and look at things, as I encouraged you to do with the post around Personal Skills Mindmapping, we soon realise that we  have achieved  things in our life and work.

Do You Celebrate Your Achievements?

You should celebrate your achievements. Many people don’t. They marginalise their achievements. If you do this, you need to stop. It can set up barriers to achieving more. Learn how to break those barriers by recognizing and appreciating your own achievements.

  • Why shouldn’t you celebrate your own lifetime achievement?
    It’s a big deal for anyone in Hollywood to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. They celebrate it as an event, publicize it, and film it for all to see. Just because you aren’t famous, doesn’t mean you haven’t accomplished anything. Be proud of what you have accomplished.
  • The next time someone recognizes an achievement of yours, don’t pass it off as no big deal.
    Thank them, and consider yourself lucky that someone noticed. Also, write down the event any time it happens. This will show you that your achievements are worth it.
  • Appreciate the achievements of others.
    One way to get people to recognize your achievements is to congratulate them on theirs. Be genuine in your praise. If you are just doing it to try and win points, this will be seen as shallow, and people will know you are not
  • If you are feeling a bit light on the achievement scale, try to figure out why that is.
    It could be that you need to define your goals more concretely. Start with high-level goals and break them down into tasks and sub-goals.
  • One achievement that people overlook is helping others.
    This doesn’t have to be through volunteering. It can be helping a neighbor or somebody at work. You can choose to volunteer as well. When you help others achieve something, that is an achievement as well. It feels great knowing that you made a difference in someone else’s life.
  • Read about the achievements of others.
    The reason why biographies of successful people continue to be published is that they help people learn the circumstances of these successful people. You can see that they were just like everyone else. It’s the classic, if they can do it so can you. Try to read several books per month, consistently. Also, read people who you admire as well as people who you find controversial. It’s good to get perspectives on different people to help you keep an open mind.
  • You want to appreciate your achievements. But, at the same time, you don’t want to rest on your laurels.
    You always have more to achieve, so make sure that you appreciate what you have done, but understand there is more.

3 Actionable Next Steps To Celebrate Your Achievements





Write down all your achievements that you can remember. Try to think back as far as you can. Don’t limit yourself. If you had achievements in school or college, put those down as well.

This action will help show you everything you have achieved. It will give you confidence in your ability to accomplish anything you set your mind to.




Create a blog about your achievements. First, it will get you to write about them and how you got to where you are. Second, you never know who you may inspire by describing your experiences.

When your blog becomes popular, it will motivate you to achieve more because you want to keep your editorial calendar as full as possible.




Align your daily to-do lists with your overall goals.

If you don’t have higher-level goals defined, start with these. To-do lists are good tools unless you are not performing the right tasks.

High-level goals will help you determine what you need to be doing on your to-do lists.


Changing Careers – They Have Done It!

Changing careers is something that people think about but it can be quite a scary concept! I have been talking to a number of people over the last few weeks who have been considering whether they should change the focus of their careers. Seeking a new role or changing career is one of those things that people do tend to consider at this time of year.

I am sure you will have come across people who have “fallen into” their current career and have stuck with it because of the security the regular income brings. They often find themselves frustrated as time goes on that they are not following a career that would really fulfill them and allow to work in an area that they would enjoy and feel they were adding value to the world around them. You may be one of those people?

Pondering on this set me thinking about some of the people from history or that we know today who have changed their careers.

There are many examples of people who have have taken the plunge and moved from thinking about changing careers to changing their lives and careers completely through knowing themselves and what they were capable of. They also had the courage to change direction and make the most of the opportunities presented to them.

Changing Careers – These People Did It!

Julius Caesar

In 49BC, Caesar, though a great commander, was told to disband his legion and return to Rome – most likely to retirement or even death. He disobeyed orders and instead crossed the Rubicon River into Italy. His power grew through his great talents and love of the people, and that one act led to him becoming the Emperor of Rome and first in a long line of Caesars.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon was not even French, but become Emperor of the French within a decade after seizing upon the opportunities for power that had resulted through the French Revolution. He transformed himself from a corporal of artillery to the greatest general the modern world had ever seen, and he made every member of his family a king or ruler in Europe.

Arthur Wellesley

Arthur Wellesley was born in Ireland, a second son who would not inherit his father’s estate, and so would have to make his own way in the world. He was a talented violinist, but when the family of the girl he wished to marry turned him down because he had “no prospects,” he burned all his violins and threw himself into a career in the army. Around 20 years later, he defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo and became the Duke of Wellington. He also became the prime minister of Great Britain.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was a retired politician writing books and painting watercolors in the 1930s, but the rise of Hitler in Germany so alarmed him that he became a tireless opponent of the Fuhrer even though he was nearly 60 years old. He became Prime Minister in 1940 and led England through the horrific war and on to victory in 1945, when he was 71.

We have many modern examples of people who thought about changing careers and went on to be wildly successful:

  • Walt Disney was a newspaper editor
  • Ellen DeGeneres was an oyster shucker
  • Harrison Ford was a carpenter
  • Andrea Bocelli was a lawyer
  • Chef Julia Child was a spy in World War II

Sylvester Stallone was a deli-counter assistant and lion cage cleaner at the Central Park Zoo. Desperate to give his family a better life, he penned the screenplay to Rocky. Hollywood loved it, but he insisted he would only sell it if he got to play the lead. And the rest, as they say, is history.

What drives people like this to success? It’s often a sense of purpose or destiny. It’s knowing what they want and finding ways to get there. Let’s look at one way of accomplishing this in the next post! In the meantime are you thinking of changing careers? What are you going to do about it?

8 Myths about Body Language

Following my recent article about Body Language at Interviews I have had a number of conversations from which it is obvious that there still quite a few myths about Body Language and I thought it was worth taking a look at some of them so that you can avoid these “fake news” ideas. These myths about body language could be preventing you from communicating with others effectively, or picking up the often subtle clues that are important when dealing with people – such as in a tricky business negotiation, or a dispute with a friend or family member.

Here are eight myths to look out for:

1. A smile means the person is happy

It will usually mean that, but it could also mean they are confused, uncomfortable, or just being polite.

2. Liars avoid eye contact

Shy people do too! In fact, studies have shown that pathological liars often look straight at a person in order to make sure their lie is being accepted as truth.

3. Crossed arms always mean resistance or not being approachable

They can actually mean a lot of different things, ranging from “it’s cold” to mirroring because you are actually doing it yourself. It can also stop people from feeling too “exposed”, especially women, until they are able to relax into a situation.

4. Eye direction

The theory is that if a person looks to the right they are lying, and if they are looking to the left, they are telling the truth. There is really no set pattern. The only thing you can do is observe the person to try to gauge what is typical for them.

5. 93% of all our communication is body language

If that were true, we could watch foreign language films and understand them without subtitles. About half of our communication is influenced by body language, but words, tone and style are key. They should ideally match the body language, and vice versa.

6. You can’t practice your body language

This is false. The best public speakers assess themselves in a mirror or on video to see what bad habits they have so they can replace them with good ones. Good salespeople will do this as well to make sure that nothing they do will send an unspoken message that will blow the deal they have put so much effort into.

7. Fidgeting is a sign of nervousness

It might be, but it could also be pent-up energy from having to sit still for too long.

8. Body language is the same the world over

What is acceptable in the West might be completely offensive in the East, and vice versa. Handshakes are still uncommon in Asian countries compared with the bow. Nodding means yes in some countries and no in others. Learning the differences can make you a more successful communicator no matter where you go.

Body Language at Interviews

As someone who is attending interviews as part of my search for a new role as a Learning and Development Professional there’s lots to consider including of course Body Language at interview.

It’s many years ago now that I heard Allan Pease talk about Body Language at a JCI Conference. I do recall that after hearing him speak I became very focused on watching my own body language! However, with the benefit of experience since then I have modified my thinking but it is still an important consideration as long as you don’t become obsessed with thinking that everytime someone crosses their arms they must be feeling negative – they might just be cold or even more comfortable sitting like how.

It’s common to be nervous at an interview. You might be even more terrified to discover that your body language, rather than any words out of your mouth, can have a strong influence on the outcome of the interview. Here are a few quick do’s and don’ts that can help you ace your next interview.

  • Do: Give a firm handshake.
  • Don’t: Mash their hand too hard.
  • Do: Wait to be invited to sit down.
  • Don’t: Collapse into the chair. Keep everything controlled.
  • Do: Make eye contact. This shows you are paying attention and have nothing to hide. If there is more than one person conducting the interview, pay attention to each of them for a few seconds at a time. Start and finish with the person who has asked the most recent question you are answering.
  • Don’t: Stare. It can start to become too intense and uncomfortable.
  • Do: Sit comfortably, leaning slightly forward. Too forward seems like you are pushy or desperate. Too far back seems to indicated you are not really interested.
  • Don’t: Slouch, or lean too far forward or back. Sitting hunched forward, or lounging with arms and legs everywhere has the effect of looking a little too relaxed.
  • Don’t: Be too rigid. Try not to sit like a statue bolt upright in your chair with your fists bunched tightly. Act as naturally as you can considering the formality of this type of conversation.
  • Do: Face your questioners. This will help you look at each in turn.
  • Don’t: Angle your body away from them. This looks like you are trying to run away, or can’t wait to get out of there – especially if you are partly facing the door.
  • Do: Use your hands when speaking. A subtle message of control is to touching your fingertips together.
  • Don’t: Thrash around like a windmill. It is too distracting and suggests nervousness.
  • Do: Sit as still as you can while still carrying on a normal conversation.
  • Don’t: Touch your face or hair. This can make you seem dishonest and untrustworthy.
  • Do: Keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Don’t: Rub your head or neck because they feel stiff. This can give the impression that you are bored or not interested.
  • Do: Keep your arms relaxed and natural.
  • Don’t: Sit with your arms crossed. This makes you look defensive and standoffish.

These main do’s and don’ts of body language when you go on an interview can make all the difference to whether you are successful. Practice with a friend, in front of a mirror, or on video, and start sending the right messages with your body language.