by Guest Author: Tilla Brook
Self-image matters. We all know this. And so often our self-image is one that does not support us to become all of who we are. Particularly when we are looking for a new job or a change of career.
I am what I think. My thoughts shape my world. Yours do too. What you think about yourself and the world around you shapes your life. Those thoughts shape how you come over in your CV, applications and interviews. I can’t be the only one who looks back on some of mine and cringes!
So here’s my metaphor for reshaping your thoughts.
“I am a Castle”
The Castle is a metaphor for self-image. Metaphor and imagery are brilliantly powerful ways of exploring feelings, emotions and thoughts that can get in the way of showing a potential employer who you really are.
I’m Tilla and I’ve been using the Castle metaphor to create a set of resources to enable the coaching clients I work with to access their most powerful self. The person that they are inside, underneath all the garbage they carry around with them. So they can show up and give a great account of themselves. Here’s how it works:-
At its best the Castle is strong, a safe haven, wise, resourceful and welcoming. It’s built on carefully laid foundations, has appropriate defences and code of conduct, a banner that can be seen from a distance, a coat of arms, a strong leader and a staff of experts who work well together. When you are at your best that is the kind of Castle that truly represents you in the world. It’s who you want to show up as at your next interview.
At its worst the Castle is built on poor foundations, is over fortified, attacks everyone in sight in case they are an enemy, keeps the drawbridge up and the portcullis down and is run by overzealous staff with no strong leadership. In the Castle I’ve written about some of those overzealous staff including:
- The Librarian – its job is to have you doing more and more research before you can begin to write that application or attend that interview. It’s been known to miss application deadlines or have you turn up at an interview on only two hours sleep.
- The Impostor – also known as “I’m a fraud”. It will tell you that you don’t know enough, your skills are inadequate and you shouldn’t even bother applying. During an interview its job is to undersell you and tell the panel all the things you CAN’T do.
- The Soothsayer – a catastrophising voice, laden with tales of doom and woe. Its creed is mistakes, disciplinaries, unemployment, homelessness and disgrace. Listen to this one and you will never take a risk to try something new.
When I lose sight of my internal resourcefulness and let myself be run by my thoughts and limiting beliefs this is the kind of Castle I am. Definitely not my best self!
Potential Job Moves Can Rock Your Castle
So, here’s a way to strengthen your Castle. Grab a pen and paper and think about three times in your life when you’ve just known what to do, when you’ve been at your wisest and most resourceful. Draw or write about those occasions, explore that part of you that is the leader of your Castle. Give her, or him, a personality, a voice and a name. Maybe identify where inside you this inner leader lives – heart, head, belly, hands? Once you’ve found that inner leader I invite you to ask her/him at least three times a day “What’s Needed Now?” Get into the habit of turning to this part of you, rather than to your fears and doubts. Then place that inner leader by your side throughout the recruitment process. Take your greatest ally with you rather than your squabbling staff!
My top tip for managing the unruly staff is simply to remind yourself that these are just thoughts. Not real. When you notice that one of the staff is overzealous ask yourself “is this thought useful or not useful right now?” If the thought isn’t useful gently put it to one side and choose to think a different one. Yes, the old one will no doubt keep popping back. Just keep putting it aside and replace the overzealous staff with a great internal leadership team.
The Magnificent Castle – How to Become Who You Are is a fun, colourful and easy E-course built around this wonderful metaphor. It’s packed with ideas, tips and strategies to enable you to become your best and most resourceful self. To find out more click here.