Energy and Attitude

Your attitude matters in an interview. Are you unaware of emotional baggage you’re carrying? It is commonly said that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% what we think about it. I have found that to be true. I learned this the hard way.

The Problem

One of the personal traits I was most proud of was my positive attitude. Several years back I encountered a challenging situation that totally blew that perception of myself completely out of the water.

In the tenth year of owning my search firm, I was faced with a situation where a recruiter on my staff did something that cost me a lot of money. Although it was an extremely large amount, that isn’t the point here. The real problem was my attitude about what had happened. I was angry …  you know … the shaking kind of anger. Instead of acknowledging the circumstances and putting a plan of action in place to deal with the situation, I stewed in my anger. “He knew better.” I told myself.

This went on for weeks until the recruiter finally accepted a job with a firm around the corner from me. That was bad enough, but my office window overlooked the lot where he parked his car. So whenever I looked out my west facing office window with a beautiful skyline view of the city, all I could seem to focus on what his car! Without being aware of it, my attitude was affecting the other people I had on my staff. I almost hate to admit it, but it took me years to get over this.

The Solution

Then one of my favorite authors, Dr. Wayne Dyer, shared three characteristics that highly functioning (self-actualized) individuals posses that he learned from his mentor, Abraham Maslow.

  1. They are independent of the good opinion of others.
  2. They are detached from the outcome.
  3. They have no investment in power or control over others.

Hearing these three things stopped me in my tracks. I had always been somewhat of a people pleaser, wanting to get along with everybody. That recruiter didn’t like my solution to the problem, and it seemed he didn’t like me very much either. I definitely wasn’t being independent of his opinion of me. What would my wife and employees think about me? I had a reputation to uphold.

Secondly, I was worried about how everything would eventually play out. My mind was filled with “what ifs”. That took up precious time that could have been spent on much more productive activities. Many hours were wasted on negativity.

Lastly, I found myself hardened, deciding that I wouldn’t ever let anything like that happen to me again. That was the final nail in the coffin for me. I refused to trust others. The way to control how people treated me was to not trust them … not let them get too close.

By now, perhaps you have made the connection with a situation you have experienced where someone has done you wrong. Maybe you were unfairly treated by an employer. Maybe you didn’t get a raise, you were skipped over for that promotion you were promised or you were let go after investing years of effort in a company.

If these kind of things are left unresolved, you are carrying them with you everywhere you go whether you are aware of it or not. That means nearly any activity that involves trusting someone else is impacted by this wound … your networking efforts, the jobs you apply for and definitely your interviews, not to mention your family and friends.

Before you make your next phone call, go to your next networking meeting or job interview, do what I eventually did to address the negativity I was carrying.

  • Become aware of any unresolved issues.
  • Realize that your opinion of yourself is the one that matters.
  • Be aware that we can rarely determine the outcome of any situation. However, we can control our actions along the way.
  • Others are going to be who they are. Let them. Trying to change them is futile.

The Results

I have met with immeasurable favor since. My career has broadened to include doing even more things I love … teaching, public speaking, writing, producing a podcast and instructional courses. Doors opened to me at colleges across the country for their students in workforce restraining programs to learn how to conduct an effective job search. I am helping others with my life experiences … and that makes my heart sing.

In closing …

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway. 

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

– Mother Teresa

P.S. What are you finding to be a challenge in your job search? Tell me in the comments section below or send an email to If you have a microphone on your computer or hand held device, you can also leave me a voice message at

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