Taking ownership of career setbacks

10/10/2022

hand stopping falling piecesCareer setbacks are an inevitable part of your professional life and can manifest in different ways during your career, whether experiencing redundancy, interview rejections or perhaps when finding a new role is taking longer than anticipated. When events or changes in our professional lives seem overwhelming, it can be difficult to make decisions about what to do next.

Stephen Covey wrote about how to deal with overwhelming events and worries by being proactive, in his bestselling book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. The circles of control, influence and concern is a productivity management tool that enables individuals to evaluate the challenges they are facing with three ways in which they can think about the challenges and respond to them. This article explores how you can use Covey’s strategy to ensure you use your job search time and energy in the best possible way, and effectively manage the factors that are within your control.

Circle of Concern

As a job seeker you could have a wide range of concerns or worries that leave you feeling unsettled, such as being unemployed and the cost of living, job market conditions or facing redundancy. When there are factors that you have no direct control over, you may feel panic, uncertainty and apprehension which is perfectly normal. The Circle of Concern is the biggest circle because there are so many things that you have no power to change. Spending too much time focussing on how you can change these areas can lead you to feeling stressed and helpless as you have no control over the outcomes.

Circle of Influence

These are areas where we have no direct control over the outcome because other people are often involved. They often relate to other people’s thoughts, mindsets, behaviours, and actions. Although you won’t be able to directly control other people, you can influence what happens. In a job seeker context, you cannot stop candidates with more experience applying for the same role as you, but you could influence a recruiter to interview you or offer you a job. If you have a well written CV where you are selling your relevant experience, you are more likely to get selected for interview.

Circle of Control

The smallest circle is The Circle of Control, but this is the most important as you have complete control over the outcome and should be where you direct your focus and attention. These areas include your thoughts, mindset, behaviours, and actions. By focussing most of your attention on yourself will improve your ability to be able to respond positively to change. In a job seeker context, you can ensure you are practicing interview questions out loud to perfect your interview technique, ensure you are using all job search methods available to you and showcasing your strengths using a strong LinkedIn profile.

Implementing small positive rituals such as the circles of control, will help you train your mind to develop a growth mindset, meaning you can be more proactive on the factors you can control in your career and in return gain a sense of clarity and autonomy. This will ultimately have a positive impact on your confidence, helping you become aware of what thoughts and actions are worth your time and energy.

Renovo is the UK’s leading outplacement and career transition specialist. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email info@renovo.uk.com

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