I’ve been reading a book by Japanese novelist, Murakami, on what he talks about when he talks about running. He has been running nearly every day for over 30 years including a marathon a year across the globe. Imagine the dedication and sheer hard work in maintaining that commitment to yourself to achieve personal goals. Whatever life throws at you on your journey this year, remember his wise reflection:

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

When you are looking for a job, wanting a promotion or to move on in your career, just turning up without proper preparation won’t cut it. You may be on that metaphorical treadmill where it’s a slog to complete yet another application form, tailor another CV or get up and go to that job you hate. Yet, if you stand still, you run the risk of falling off or becoming obsolete as everything else changes around you.

Running to stand still can feel like you are going nowhere. It’s hard work to maintain or increase your fitness. The alternative is staying on the proverbial couch where it’s more comfortable. When I started running, I was going from ‘couch to 5k’ and needed to pace myself by setting weekly goals and making incremental improvements. Staying in condition, honing your skills, maintaining a positive mindset and shaping your unique value proposition will all stand you in good stead when you eventually get the call.treadmill

The constant here is taking action rather than procrastinating – spotting and seizing the opportunities to make those small, achievable steps within your every day context. For example:

  1. Practising your first impressions when you meet someone new.
  2. Telling compelling stories about your achievements to people you trust.
  3. Asking friends, family and colleagues for their views on how you come across, what you do well and not so well.
  4. Consciously and regularly reflecting on significant experiences for insights, lessons learned and new ways of doing things – keep a learning diary.
  5. Creating your own positive affirmations – try writing down 3 things that made you feel good today, whether it was simply the time you gave someone, a ‘thank you’ you received, or a personal achievement of whatever size and nature.
  6. Taking genuine responsibility and ownership rather than dwelling on the unfairness of the present or previous mistakes or blaming others for your situation. Passing the buck or deflecting changes nothing.

‘Seize the day’ (carpe diem) has become a bit of a cliché and can feel too much like an exhortation or being pushed. Try to shape your day instead – it will feel more within reach, give you greater control, and is about responding to whatever comes up in a way and a pace that suits you.

Practise, practise, practise again and again to leverage what you can do (your competences), what you are good at (your strengths) and maximise your natural abilities (your talents) –

People make their biggest contribution when they recognise, value, develop and use their unique talents in support of a cause they truly believe in – Clive Wilson

What do you truly believe in?

Karma has no deadlineA part of me has always been attracted to the idea of Karma, the notion that good times are always around the corner when things have not been going well. Karma originates from Hinduism, a kind of cosmic law based on reincarnation. Popular culture tends to define it as good and bad vibes.

The rational side of me veers towards an objective truth underpinning these spiritual and emotional perspectives. We’ve all heard of the law of averages and statistics have some compelling evidence to back it up.

If you perform well for a period, it will be followed at some point by a drop in performance. If you have great success for a number of years in an area of your life, it will be followed by a dip at some point. It doesn’t mean you’re no good anymore. Second books for authors and movie sequels are often not as good as the original. It’s called regression to the mean performance.

Also, the difference between the number of heads and the number of tails tends to get bigger as we continue to flip the coin and the changes in lead from head to tail and vice versa tend to become increasingly rare. Unsurprisingly, some people feel like they are losers and others winners, although there is no real difference between them other than luck.

You may pray or believe in positive karma or have faith in luck that things will improve. Murakami looks towards his inner resources and competes with himself rather than other people. You also know that the support and help of other people can make a difference in your life.

Pursue a growth mindset. Go regularly for that daily run, to the gym, or whatever you get a buzz from – conditioning to keep you match fit for finding the job and career for you.

Are you in good mental and physical shape to make the leap when the opportunity comes?