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During our visit to Lithuania a number of years ago, I learned a valuable lesson. While my wife was shopping in a large supermarket, I was waiting outside just watching other shoppers going in and out of the store. It was there that I witnessed an interesting example of PERSISTENCE. As customers entered or exited the store, a woman asked them for some money. I would estimate that 10% of the individuals solicited gave the woman something. She spoke directly to the individuals in such a quiet voice that I could not hear her words. If you were watching her face you couldn’t tell if the individual had given her anything. She just seemed to mumble something. No one asked her to repeat herself.
Her appearance left a lot to be desired. Her face was very worn, perhaps by the sun or the elements. She was chewing on something the whole time. She was dressed in shabby garb. She was a person of small stature. She lacked any style or sense of presence. But she was collecting some money from 10 out of every 100 people passing through the doors of that store. I found her success to be very instructive. Her persistence was paying off at a level that seemed to work for her.
Over the years I have spent untold hours trying to convince job seekers that the secret to finding a job is an appropriate display of PERSISTENCE similar to this lady asking for a hand out as people passed by. A job seeker needs to confront people and ask for their help. Very few people will actually OFFER to help, but some people will help if asked.
The lady was proving my point, persistence works. I had three separate occasions to watch her “work”. I found myself wondering how much more successful she could have been if she had a better prepared “story” to tell. Again in my mind the old truism is golden, “Ask and you shall receive”, but somehow many job seekers don’t get it. A lot of job seekers will say “No one’s hiring, why bother trying?” If you believe the government statistics, there are 100,000 new jobs (or pick a number that works for you) developed each month. Who fills these jobs other than people who are asking to be hired?
Many employed people might advance their careers if they followed the example of the woman at the supermarket, namely ask for the order, so to speak. You may never know if you don’t ask. Even if your supervisor turns down your request for some additional responsibilities, you have set the stage for future consideration. How are your superiors to know if you are interested in advancement unless you tell them? There are a lot of people who are quite satisfied with their current level of responsibility and more or less the associated salary. They don’t want any additional cares or concerns. A person I spoke with a few weeks ago said he was quite content with his current role as a long time “grunt.” So do the smart thing and let your supervisor know you are very interested in advancing if that’s the case.
Are there growth opportunities within your organization that you might like to be considered for? This concept seems so obvious. If you are looking for a higher level job, ask about the availability of a promotion. Perhaps you need to prepare yourself by enhancing your skills in order to be seriously considered, or it might even be that you need to upgrade your appearance. You want to overcome the natural tendency to hide your talents under the proverbial basket. Woody Allen says that 50% of being successful is just showing up. If you are not happy with your current job, perhaps you should give this concept a try. Virtually every supervisor feels that there are not enough people looking for additional responsibility and challenge.
Image how much more successful you could be if you believed you could succeed. Your commitment to this view of the world will inspire you to go that one additional step. Make that one additional phone call or make that last call of the week late Friday afternoon. You need to convince yourself that success is just around the corner. Give yourself those additional chances at being successful. Some people would call this PMA or positive mental attitude. I call it persistence or the positive belief in your ability to achieve.
The old adage says if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Unfortunately others of us say “Gee, I haven’t reached my goal. I will just quit this endeavor and try something else.” Let me suggest a different approach. Try to go that extra step for the next 30 days and then assess your achievements for the month. Have you enjoyed yourself more this month due to your achievements or recognition? If you don’t sense an improvement in your circumstances, you now have a choice. You can go another 30 days or consider other options within your current employment. Or you can begin a search for a different employer who would ideally encourage your progress and growth. Life is too short to stay in a job that has no future growth.
It is clearly up to you. Remember it’s your choice. CARPE DIEM/SEIZE THE DAY
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:
 Retain faith that you will prevail in the end regardless of the difficulties and at the same time, confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.
THE STOCKDALE PARADOX.
James F. Fitzgerald is the president of James F. Fitzgerald & Associates, Inc., a Naperville, IL- based senior executive coaching and career transition firm. Jamesffitzgerald.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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