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Take care who you tell when you consider applying for a new role

30 September 2019

It is an exciting, and vulnerable, time as you consider putting yourself forward for a new role.  You are pulled to the opportunity yet often a little (or a lot) fearful.  A delicate balance often plays out.

During this time research of Dr Shelly Gable highlights the importance of taking care who you share your consideration of the new role with.  Share it with the right people, who respond in the right way and your confidence will be boosted.  Share with the wrong people, who respond in the wrong way and your self-doubt demons could just get the upper hand.

Gable's research shows that there are 4 ways that people respond to the positive news of others:

  • Actively and Constructively - "Fabulous tell me all about it..."
  • Actively and Destructively - "Really, that would be quite a stretch for you.  I'm not sure you are ready..."
  • Passively and Constructively - "Oh, nice. What's for dinner."
  • Passively and Destructively - "Ug - whatever."


Ideally as you share the excitement you have about applying the close people around you respond actively and constructively - #1.  They dive into your excitement with you, help you imagine yourself in the role and build up your resources to put your best foot forward.  When they do this the delicate balance shifts to the positive, you feel good about applying and are likely to put forward a better application.  (Side note: Remember it is not your job to make the decision about your ultimate suitability for the role - leave that up to the employer.  You just have to know you would be good at it.)

Surprisingly the response we want to be particularly alert to are #3 and #4 - the passive responses.  The second active/destructive response, while not ideal, gives you information you can assess, and the responder may just have useful insights.  The passive response gives you nothing, and it is this void that Gable has found is most damaging to an individuals confidence and abilities, undermining self-esteem and goal directed behaviour.

Silence, or near silence, in the delicate time when you consider stepping up and putting yourself forward for a new role amplifies any niggling self doubt - it is toxic. 

So as you share your consideration of a new role with those about you take care to seek out people who will respond actively and constructively.  If you get active and destructive feedback (#2) work with the person to deeper understand what they are trying to communicate with you as they are usually responding from a place of caring.  And, if your news hits deaf ears notice your own response and don't let silence, and the self absorption of others, be the silent killer of your dream.

As always wishing you a flourishing career.

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