We often ask people how they are feeling when they are showing signs of a cold or maybe limping after an over-strenuous gym session, but rarely do we enquire about their mental health. We would, but the signs of someone struggling mentally aren’t always that visible.
Mental health battles are internal, and they are rarely shared.
There are many trigger situations when someone’s mental health is challenged, but few are more testing than the beginning of a job search. As a candidate sits down to write their CV, they have absolutely no idea how it is all going to end. That is mental health challenge number one - uncertainty.
With so much on the line, the thought that you cannot possibly predict the path ahead is a crushing one for many. Whether you are thinking about resigning, or you have just been made redundant, the moment that you think about a life without your current job is somehow a very empty one…. because you can’t possibly know what the future holds.
Not yet, anyway. That is where visualisation comes in.
Before you embark on an uncertain job search, it is vital to create a picture of where you would like to get to. The picture will be blurry to start with, but we think that most people have one or two core motivations that they can build on.
Maybe you want to spend more time with your young family – you don’t know how yet, but you won’t have it any other way. It could be that you want to move to a company with an international perspective – again you don’t have to have firm details, but you can imagine the opportunities that may open up for you.
When you have something definitively positive to visualise, you simply have to believe that you won’t stop until you do get there.
Many talk about resilience as a key strength in mental health, and in order to handle the highs and lows of a job search, it is vital to keep these goals at the front of your mind in any situation. The goals may well be amended and updated as the search continues, but as long as they are there, you will find the strength to see things through.
The moment that you give up on your dreams and submit yourself to “whatever comes your way” is the moment that you lose control of your destiny. There is nothing more depressing than the feeling of helplessness in a job search. The moment that we see someone come into the interview room who has obviously lost hope, the first thing that we try to do is coax them to remember what the dream is all about.