Do You Want This Job but Fear Being Disappointed if You Don’t Get It?

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You don’t want to get your hopes up

Is this you? A leadership position opened and caught your eye because it is exactly what you’d like to do next in your career. You love the work, you’d be honored to have this job title, and the increase in salary gets you pretty excited too. But you don’t want to get excited. You don’t want to get your hopes up and risk being disappointed. You are intimidated by this opportunity. You think you would be great at this job but what if the hiring committee sees things differently?

So, what do you do? You send an application and prepare for the interview, but you don’t let yourself dream too much because you don’t want to be let down. Sigh… There seems to be so much at stake... You may even think that the hiring committee’s decision will be a reflection of your worth. If you’re not chosen, you will take the rejection very personally. This whole thing is terribly uncomfortable. You may even self-sabotage by not taking enough time to prepare for the interview. If you don’t get the job, instead of feeling bad you can tell yourself it’s because you weren’t prepared. It’s not the real you that got turned down but the unprepared you. And your ego can live with that.

If you can relate to any of what I have written above, it’s time to break those negative thought patterns and embrace a much more empowering perspective.

Don’t exaggerate

Let’s be honest, even in the worst-case scenario, you don’t get the job and then what? Nothing changes. If you choose to create a story in your mind that you are a failure, or you are unworthy, it is purely a product of your imagination. Instead, you can focus on what you’ve learned in the process, be proud that you’ll be able to do better next time and keep moving forward.

Remember that whoever is chosen for the position is not the smartest or the most accomplished applicant but the one that seems to be the best fit for a particular position. If you’re not a great fit, you’ll be much happier elsewhere. You may have dodged a bullet. Not being offered a job is not rejection but redirection.

Leaders need courage

Imagine stepping out of your body and observing yourself as if you were someone else. Imagine that the person you see tells you: “I don’t trust myself to succeed. Too much is out of my control. If I try my best and fail I will feel terrible. I can’t bare the pain of disappointment. What will it say about me if I am not chosen? I’ll be full of self-criticism and regret. It will shake up my confidence. I don’t know that I’ll be able to forgive myself for this. And every time someone asks, having to tell people I wasn’t chosen will be humiliating.”

Does that sound like an inspirational leader’s words? Definitely not!

Imagine if that person became your boss. Would you feel that you’re in good hands? How do you think this person would handle contract negotiations with the bargaining units, or would make presentations to the Board of Trustees, or would “compete” with their peers for resources, or would develop a professional relationship with your President, etc.? Would you trust that person to advocate for you? Would you see them as a role model? You see where I am going with this.

Being driven by fear is not a smart choice

I don’t know why some people are brainwashed to believe that not getting their hopes up and avoiding disappointment is a good or a smart thing. It’s a sad thing! It’s a fear-driven perspective that will inhibit candidates’ ability to be seen for the leaders they really are. So please, next time you think the “right thing to do” or the “responsible thing to do” is to let fear control you, think again!

I can understand how the fear of a real danger can be paralyzing (and sometimes it should be for your own safety) but in the case of applying for a job, even if you don’t succeed, you have absolutely nothing to lose. Everything remains exactly the same.

Visualize and rehearse success rather than disappointment

To be able to convince the hiring committee that you are an exceptional candidate for this job, you have to believe it! So instead of creating emotional distance, learn everything you can about the college, culture, people, vision, mission, current projects, and so on. Truly do your best to prepare for the best interview of your life.

Picture in your mind what it would be like to be offered this job, to accept it, and to move into your new office. Think about the joy of meeting your new coworkers, learning from them, and being of service. This could be the next chapter in your career. It’s ok to dream and expect nothing but the best.

Important note: You can create tremendous enthusiasm and start feeling now as if you had already succeeded without creating attachment. Being attached to any outcome makes people desperate and more likely to make costly mistakes. Give yourself full permission to see yourself getting the job while remembering that you don’t actually need it. You are worthy and amazing regardless. An incredible opportunity is on the horizon; it could be this one or another. Stay open. Keep trusting.

Remember that at the interview, you will be more magnetic if you are confident, positive, and you can see yourself in that role than if you’ve been mentally preparing yourself for rejection. Obviously, your mindset does not guarantee that you will be chosen but it will give you a much greater chance to shine and be seen for who you really are.

So do it! Expect the best. When you see that your dream job is opening, don’t think that being humble means letting fear control you. Release that fear. Believe in yourself.

I know to some people it comes naturally and to others it looks like an enormous challenge. If you’ve been underappreciated or maybe even bullied in the workplace, your mind has been conditioned to let fear guide you because it seeks protection. Will-power alone won’t be enough to re-write your unconscious programs. Let’s work together to re-wire your thought patterns and allow you to advance your career with confidence. Click here to schedule a free phone consultation. 

About the author: Dr. Audrey Reille has empowered thousands of professionals through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements, online courses, and interviews on international telesummits.  Audrey is the go-to coach for leaders in higher education administration. She empowers them to thrive by reducing stress, optimizing strategies, improving professional relationships, and developing a strong and empowered mindset.

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