A Successful Interview Primer


We all want to have an interview that leads to a job offer correct? Get a job offer after all and we can stop writing resumes and going to job interviews. Even if you enjoy writing resumes, applying for jobs and attending job interviews, you can’t get past that it takes time and energy; both of which we’d rather spend actually working and getting paid to do so!

So here’s some pointers broken down into categories. Hope you find them helpful.

FIRST IMPRESSION

  • Dress a notch above what you’ll typically wear on the job
  • Formal, business or business casual dress depending on the job; never casual
  • A firm, dry handshake, solid eye contact, a smile
  • Stand up straight, no slouching or stooping; look as fit as possible
  • Good hygiene: deodorant, clean hands and teeth, hair off the face, fresh breath
  • Turn your phone off just before reaching Reception
  • Greet the Receptionist with warmth; he/she may be asked for feedback

BRING WITH YOU

  • A résumé for yourself and up to 3 copies for those interviewing you
  • The job posting showing with highlights on the skills and qualifications
  • 2 pens (if 1 should run dry), paper for notes
  • A thank you note to be given to the lead interviewer later the same day
  • 3 or 4 written questions to ask before leaving
  • Enthusiasm, a positive outlook and some energy

IF YOU SIT DOWN

  • Show your preparation and lay out your résumé, job posting, notepad, pen, etc.
  • Offer copies of your résumé to anyone without one
  • Glance at your résumé if you need to recall points during the meeting
  • Lean slightly forward in the chair, sit up straight but look comfortable
  • Enjoy the conversation; this is an opportunity NOT an inquisition
  • Put your shoulders back and watch your posture

IF YOU STAND OR WALK

  • Match the pace of the interviewer, put energy in your step
  • Keep your right hand empty for handshakes along the way
  • Look interested in what you see, be observant and picture yourself working
  • Be friendly with whomever you meet; you never know their title or influence

WHAT YOU SAY

  • Ensure you have energy and enthusiasm in your voice
  • Market your value and benefits just as you would a product you’re selling
  • Know why you want the job and how hiring you benefits them
  • Vary the pace of your words, slowing down to emphasize points made
  • Never curse, resort to slang or speak badly of former employers, companies etc.
  • Use skill-based language as you speak; the words you found in the posting
  • Provide examples from your past and specific examples that prove your claims
  • Express gratitude for the interview, anticipation of joining them soon
  • Avoid talking excessively or one-word answers
  • Ask for clarification if you are unsure of a question
  • Steer clear of saying anything controversial that could damage your chances

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

  • Keep good eye contact throughout the interview
  • Avoid distracting behaviour like twirling hair, tapping your pen, bouncing legs
  • Always look focused and show strong interest
  • Listen to questions asked and make sure you answer the questions asked
  • Check your clothes before putting them on for cleanliness
  • Shine your shoes
  • Avoid large, dangling jewelry
  • Be punctual, allow for delays
  • If there’s time, check your appearance nearby before announcing your arrival

WRAPPING THINGS UP

  • Make a solid last impression – (more important than the first impression!)
  • Know the next steps in the hiring process by asking
  • Get business cards, contact information and how to follow-up
  • Find out when a decision is to be made
  • Ask if there’s more information they would like which you could offer
  • Express gratitude again for the conversation and your peaked interest
  • Thank the Receptionist, get their name (you will be calling them to follow up)
  • Smile again and shake hands firmly
  • Leave them your references

POST INTERVIEW

  • Ask Reception for interviewers contact info and proper spelling of name/title
  • Find a quiet spot and jot down any problem questions
  • Pen a Thank You card now and return to the Receptionist, leaving it with them
  • Note a follow-up date in your phone or agenda
  • You may still be observed until you leave the property so you’re still, ‘on’
  • Note your surroundings should there be a 2nd interview

There is great debate over which is more important, what you say or how you say it. Many people believe that the interview is largely successful or not somewhere in the first 45 seconds to 3 minutes of meeting a candidate. In other words, that first impression is critical.

Interviewers are generally smart enough to know that their first impressions are just that, and the bulk of the interview is determining if that first impression was correct or perhaps they misjudged an applicant and their opinion is changed. You are fully in control of how you come across with your body language, your words, the preparation and research you completed ahead of time and how you behave during the conversation. While this is a lot of responsibility, it’s nice to know that you’ve got a lot more control on the decision to hire you than you might have thought otherwise.

For more pointers, tips and general suggestions on how to both get and keep a job, I invite you to visit https://myjobadvice.wordpress.com/ where you’ll find my personal blog. There you can check out past blogs, comment, click on follow to get notifications on new ones etc.

Always with enthusiasm and appreciation for your readership and support

Kelly

 

 

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Nervous About An Upcoming Interview?


First things first; congratulations on the interview! Give yourself credit because you’re up against a lot of other people all competing for employment. So well done!

That credit your giving yourself is important because its external validation that  you’ve done a good job responding to the employer’s needs. Employer’s need people who can be productive and add to the success of the organization, so just getting to the interview is a good sign that they like what they read.

Okay, so you’re nervous. There are two kinds of situations where nerves can have you feeling anxious . The first is where you haven’t prepared at all for the interview. Not only did you not prepare, your plan is to wake up and wing it, counting on your natural ability to charm and think on your feet. If this has worked in the past, it will likely work again. Wrong. Employer’s are better qualified than before, better trained and can size up these candidates quickly. Your nerves will go through the roof as you slowly become more and more exposed as having not invested any time at all in doing some basic homework. You’ll be nervous, and for good reason as you’ve brought this on yourself.

The second kind of nervous is the good kind; yes you read right…there is a good kind! This is nervous excitement! You’ve prepared yourself as best you could, read up on the job posting, their website, you may have talked to some employees and you really want this job. The possibility that you’re soon going to be hired for a job you can do well, doing work you’ll enjoy and in a situation you’ll be successful at is so motivating! So this nervous excitement as the interview draws closer is fantastic.

As someone who loves interviewing, I’d be more worried for you if you felt no nervousness at all – that would be a huge warning sign that you’re running on autopilot and aren’t as invested in the job or company to the extent you should be.

Now, what to do to help you get those nerves under control. First off, breathe… Stress is a physical thing, and a few deep breaths; in through the nose and out through the mouth will help you give your body oxygen when it needs it to relax. Now stand up for a moment. Seriously. Place your hands on your hips and spread your legs, with equal weight on both feet. You’re in the, ‘Superman’ pose. Head up and looking straight ahead, chest slightly out and hold this for two or three minutes. Do this before the interview – say in the washroom or reception area and you’ll feel confidence growing. Odd thing is, it works.

Now, first impressions are important so choose clothing you feel comfortable in that fit the job you’re applying to. Check them a few days before so they are clean, ironed and you’re ready. On the morning of the interview, shower, brush the teeth, do your hair (off the face as a general guideline for women) and give yourself enough time to get where you’re going anticipating delays.

It’s always good to bring multiple copies of your résumé (for you and for them), pre-determined questions you want answered, paper and pen for notes, the job posting and your references to offer at the end. Depending on the job, you might want any certificates or proof of licences and education requirements too.

Smile at the first meeting, offer a firm handshake and look the interviewer(s) in the eye as you do so. When you walk, don’t amble or shuffle along, walk with purpose and be aware of slouching shoulders.

As for answering questions, use the STAR format. Well, I endorse it at any rate. Essentially you answer by sketching out SITUATIONS you found yourself in so the get a framework for your answer, present the TASK or problem to overcome, move to the ACTION you took in rising to the challenge and finish with a positive RESULT that came about because of what you did.

This format is neat, tidy and concise. It will help you PROVE you’ve done what you claim you can do. I can’t stress enough how specific examples you give are essential to a successful interview. Without specific examples in your answers, you’re hoping they’ll believe you’ve got the experience and skills you state you do, and you’ll come up short.

The tone of your voice is important too. Nervous people often talk quicker and their voices are slightly higher. Slow your words down, pause every so often to emphasize certain things you believe are critical, and your voice suddenly gets more interesting, more meaning is attached to your words and the overall impact is a more attentive audience.

As the interview wraps up, ask for their business card. All the information you need to follow-up with a thank you note or phone call is on that card. Do send a card of thanks! Many don’t bother these days and that’s even more reason to do it. You stand out and that’s what you’re hoping to do.

The most important thing you can do is leave a lasting positive impression. Why hire you? What makes you the right fit? Answer this now, before you get to the interview. It’s not about what you want, but how hiring you is in the company’s best interests.

Doubt Yourself? This Is A Strength!


Do you doubt your abilities or skills in your workplace? Do you wonder if you’re as effective or as productive as you should be? Good! You my friend have just identified a strength.

I bet that comes as ironic because perhaps seen your lack of confidence as a weakness. I mean after all, how can self-doubt be good? Well, read on and see if what I’ve got to say doesn’t make you change your point of view.

Think of doubt as your instincts kicking in when you’ve got a decision to make. Should I choose one thing over another, or even when presented with several options and having to make the best choice. Some people confidently make a choice and stick by their decision, sure in their ability to make the correct one. You however, are less sure, so you pause, hesitating while you think and weigh the pros and cons of the choices before you and even as you make your choice, an inner voice is crying out, “Wait! Not all the information has been processed yet and we might be wrong!”

Now if the top prize always goes to the person who makes the quickest decision, sure the confident person might win more than they lose. However, even the most confident person will tell you that their confident decisions turn out to be incorrect every so often.

Self-doubt is a good thing if it causes us to check on the information we already have or gather more information when necessary to make the best choices. So if you teach or instruct, you may doubt your ability to communicate a topic to your audience; to get through to the extent you’d like. The ideal thing to do is to check with those you’re teaching; essentially determining if you’re being as effective as you’d like or as your employer expects. Checking with your audience might be done verbally as in asking for them to paraphrase what they’ve learned, or it could be in the form of a test. Have you ever considered that tests don’t only show what someone has learned but also show the ability of the teacher to instruct?  It’s true!

Self-doubt can also benefit you if you are feeling pressured into doing something that goes against your moral compass. Ever had one of those moments when you were dared to do something that you just felt was wrong? You wanted perhaps to impress someone or a group, but to do so meant hurting someone intentionally? You doubted your ability to actually do it though and said something like, “I don’t know if I can do this. It just seems wrong.” That was self-doubt kicking in and it was a good thing back then and it’s still a good thing today.

Now while self-doubt is a good thing; a strength, in its extreme, it can be a negative. When self-doubt has you completely paralyzed, unable to go ahead and make any choice at all, that frozen state of inaction that robs you of your ability to choose is not a good thing.

If you know you have to compile a report for your boss by a certain date and you’re completely at doubt about if you can do it, it will definitely be an issue if the day comes and you haven’t even started. However, I don’t think that’s just self-doubt kicking in, that’s also the fear of asking for help until you gain the confidence to do similar reports on your own in the future. Not everybody learns at the same pace, and you might need more help before mastering the skills needed to compile reports on your own.

Of course self-doubt takes energy. Many who doubt themselves wish they had more self-confidence, especially when it comes to big choices and big decisions. I have to say though, at the root of this self-doubt there’s often an explanation for this present behaviour in the past. Many who continually doubt themselves had little praise, support and encouragement from people in influential positions while growing up – parents, teachers, employers and yes former/present partners.

An abusive partner who constantly looks for every opportunity to be critical and demeaning, can unfortunately cause a lot of damage in a person. If you were told all the time, “This coffee tastes like crap!” you’d start to doubt your ability to make a good one. This lack of confidence and heightened self-doubt is a cruel result of bullying and abuse. In fact, if you as a co-worker or boss find you’ve got an employee who seems plagued with self-doubt, you could help them immensely with some encouragement to make choices and not come down hard on them when they make a choice you’d rather they didn’t. Words of encouragement will do more to achieve the desired result than any words said in anger and frustration. In fact, just by being such a person’s boss, your title alone is something they’ll feel intimidated by.

Good advice? Start with small decisions; those with small consequences. If you can, look for work that might have less responsibility for decision-making; at least until your self-doubt gradually subsides. Increasing your confidence is also something you might share with others, so you receive encouragement more often. Remember self-doubt is a strength and can often have you re-evaluate your thinking and come up with a better result.

All the best out there today and every day!

Not Feeling As Grateful As You Should?


If you count yourself among those in the workforce, think back for a moment to the last time you were unemployed . If it was a brief period where you were out of work you might not have felt any desperation, but if it was a prolonged period, you’ll appreciate the state you emerged from. Appreciate not from any endearment of course, but appreciate from the point of having great respect for what it felt like.

If you go back in your memories, you might remember the anxiety and worry; the fear of not knowing how long it would be until you found a new job. Maybe you can recall the constant mental energy that your unemployment consumed. Any time you took a break from your job search to do something else, you felt like you should be job searching, so things that typically brought you joy failed to do so. Even if you did escape the concerted thought required to job search successfully, it was for the briefest of times, and then you’d be right back consumed with your unemployment.

At some point, I wonder if you thought to yourself, “When I do get my next job, I’m going to be so grateful; I’m going to do my best to work hard at rewarding the trust somebody will show in hiring me.” Did you think something along these lines? Maybe you even went so far as to make a promise down on your knees in a prayer? “Help me find a job and I’ll (fill in the blanks)”.

Okay now back to the present. Here you are and yes your thankful you’re back among the working. So about that prayer where you promised something in return for a job…? So about that gratitude you’d feel and hard work you’d show everyday once you were working…? How are you doing?

Have you slipped back by any chance into the old, comfortable you? Has your status as a working person and the income it provides that offsets your expenses lulled you back into old habits that might have been responsible in part for your previous unemployment? If so, why is that? Did you or didn’t you promise yourself that things would be different if and when you found your next job? So what happened?

One explanation might be that the job you ended up getting is a far cry from the job you’d imagined at the time you made those promises and had those feelings of future gratitude. Had you known you’d end up where you are now, you wouldn’t have been so grateful or desperate. Really? If that’s the case, you wouldn’t mind returning to being out of work? Think on that. You don’t really want to be back there again do you? I mean, thinking all day long about finding a job, watching what you spend, doing without and the only things rising are your worry, anxiety, fear, desperation, debt and depression.

Human nature being what it is, maybe you have slipped back into the old you – behaving the same way, as your actions are products of your thoughts, and your thoughts are similar to pre-unemployed days. There’s a saying that goes, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” Does this saying in this respect apply to you?

Okay so grudgingly you admit you’re not as thankful as you were when you got that call that offered you the job. That’s a day you don’t mind remembering at all. Oh it was good! So were the moments you told someone close to you that you’d been hired and of course the first pay.

Of course this job you have now might not be your dream job. Yes, it could be that you took this job you’ve got now as a transition job – just to curb the financial bleeding of money out. The thing is, it’s taking longer to find the right job than you’d ever have imagined, and there is a part of you that resents this current job,  as it seems to be a reminder some days of the difference between were you thought you’d be and where you are. Is that however, any justification for taking your own feelings of poor self-worth with you into your current workplace and spreading that disappointment and negativity around? Is this how you show gratitude for their faith in hiring you back when you were feeling desperate?

If we’re completely objective here, or if we look at things from the perspective of the employer, no it’s not fair. The baggage you’re carrying with you about your career aspirations and how things have worked out is yours and yours alone. This employer who brought you aboard by hiring you doesn’t deserve anything but your best. If you’re moving on to something better soon (well that’s the plan anyhow), that’s fine, but while you’re in the here and now, you’ve got a job to do.

In other words, as you go through your day, make sure your invested in the work you’re getting paid to do. Don’t let your thoughts wander too far into the future, thinking about what you’d rather be doing. These thoughts can, if not checked, make you miserable in the present and miserable workers aren’t attractive to employers. The last thing you want is to be let go.

Gratitude is best shown in the attitude you bring and the value you add.

Want To Get Past Probation At Work?


Hooray! You’ve landed yourself a new job! If you were unemployed, all that stress of looking for work is behind you now. If you left one job for this one, you’ve got a lot to look forward to, presumably this opportunity has more for you than where you worked last. Congratulations either way!

Your goal has actually shifted in any event, from finding a job to maintaining this job. So how long is your probationary period? 3 months is a good guess, but it might be longer. Oh, and if it’s a contract job, you’ll be hoping perhaps to perform so well they’ll keep you on. The same is true for many of you out there who land yourself a seasonal job for the holiday season approaching. Unless of course you’re the new Mall Santa; your job has a definite end date just before Christmas day!

Here then are some things to do to maintain that new job. Again, congratulations!

  1. Show up when you’re scheduled. It sounds completely obvious I know, but I’m continually surprised by the number of people who upon taking a job, think it is well within their rights to show up late or not at all. When your name is on the schedule, you’re being counted on to be at work. You might have good reasons to be absent or running late, but just the same, your new employer has a business to run and needs employees there to do the work.
  2. Get your childcare in place now. This isn’t exclusive to single parents. Get childcare arranged now – before you start a job – and work on getting a back up on call if your primary source of childcare isn’t available. In other words, a private sitter won’t watch your child if they are ill, or on vacation, have an accident; maybe even if they have medical appointments of their own one day – and they will. Don’t plan on figuring this out after you accept a job; you’ll be too busy.
  3. Dress the part. You want to last don’t you? Okay then, fit in. Now I know that individualism counts, that it’s your right to express yourself as you see fit, and yes, if people don’t accept you for who you are then that’s their problem. Sure, this all sounds noble and under many circumstances I’d agree entirely. It’s also just a tad self-serving too. If the job calls for safety equipment to be worn, wear it as it’s designed, not how you think looks most fashionable. If you interact with the public, keep in mind it’s not just your right to express yourself that’s on display, so is the reputation of the employer who hired you. Keeping up that desired image is expected of you.
  4. Be positive. Be friendly and accentuate the positive. People generally like being around people who are optimistic, personable and yes the odd smile goes a long way. Try a little experiment today – smile and see how many people smile automatically back at you. It’s a reflex motion!
  5. Stay until your shift is over. Cutting out early gets noticed. If you expect to get paid right up until your shift ends, you are expected to work until your shift ends. When you’re off at 5 p.m., that doesn’t mean you start putting on your coat and heading out the door 10 minutes early so you get to your car at 5 p.m.
  6. Pitch In. When appropriate, lend a hand to others. By appropriate, I mean make sure your own job gets completed and helping others doesn’t distract you from doing what’s expected of you. Where possible, a simple, “Hey can I help?” might win you some goodwill, get you noticed and signal to others that you’re a team player.
  7. Be careful who you listen to. At the start of your job, you haven’t any idea who the gossips are, the idle workers, the ones Management has targeted as in line to be let go. Be wary of comments, advice or conversations that just feel wrong, paint the employer in a bad light, or taint anyone badly.
  8. Focus on the work. Make sure the job you were hired to do is actually your focus. While you want to get along, you’re under the microscope more than the other long-standing employees. You’re being evaluated and if you can’t hit targets, seem to be standing around more than working etc., they’ll cut you loose and hire someone else.
  9. Ask for feedback. If you’ve got a 3 month probation period, ask how you’re doing long before you get surprised with being released. It’s too late to say, “What? Why?” You should have been told any concerns so you could improve in any areas they identified as needing attention, but it’s still your responsibility to find out how you’re performing. Ask your Supervisor this one, not a co-worker.
  10. Show some enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is my mantra; it’s the number one quality employer’s want in their employees. It’s no longer enough just to, ‘do the job for a pay cheque’. Employers look for workers with some passion, some investment in what they are doing; people who understand WHY they do what they do and HOW what they do contributes to the overall success of the organization.

I’m happy for you! Yeah! Follow the above and I you’ll hopefully keep your job long past your probationary period. Getting hired and staying employed are two different skills; don’t start coasting now.

Has Your ‘Get Up And Go’, ‘Got Up And Gone’?


Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? You know, floating along day after day, not really mentally invested in things the way you used to be? Things you once found stimulating and couldn’t wait to get at no longer give you pleasure and they haven’t been replaced with other things to do?

I suppose it depends on how long you’ve been in this state, but if this lack of interest in things has been something you’ve noticed is becoming your new normal, you want to pay attention. Oh and by the way, I don’t mean pay attention to what I’m writing here, I mean pay attention to your inner voice that might be telling you something is up.

It’s that inner voice that tells you something is amiss that you can’t get around isn’t it? I mean, to friends and co-workers, you can generally fool most of them, smile robotically instead of genuinely being happy, be present in body even if you’ve left the scene in your mind. Yes, you can fool a lot people and seem to be your old self, but on the inside, where you know yourself more intimately than anyone else ever could or will, you know something peculiar is going on; something isn’t right.

Now you can do what a lot of people do, which is figure you’re just going through a phase, put it down to a change in the seasons, some mid-life crisis that’s normal etc. In short, you can do nothing and assume things will work themselves out. Maybe in the short-term, this might even be the case.

However, when you notice that your lack of interest and motivation to take part in activities is happening more often and you just don’t find pleasure in many of the things you once did, there could be a greater cause for concern. I mean, how long should you wait before getting some professional opinion on your mental health?

Not being a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist, nor a Mental Health Counsellor, I’m certainly not qualified to give you the expertise those practitioners do. At the same time, I’ve interacted with them on a professional level enough that they’ve passed on things to look for; warning signs if you will.

Now it’s normal to have your interests change over time. So yes, you might have once found bowling was an activity you really enjoyed once a week, but your interest faded and you started spending more time working on needlepoint or you turned to rock wall climbing. The activities themselves aren’t anything to get hung up on, it’s that you moved from one thing to another. What I’m referring to here is to be conscious of when you lose interest in something and it’s not replaced with an interest in anything new. Were it one thing, that wouldn’t sound any alarm, but when that pattern is repeated again and again, such as at work, around the house, the family, friends, etc., well, now you’ve got to pay attention.

Reclaiming the motivation and interests you once had can be quite the process. You might choose to start with a medical check up. Please go and do this for those around you but more importantly do it for yourself. You owe yourself this one. Don’t wait until you have some full-blown major issue and the Doctor says, “Had we caught this earlier we could have done such-and-such but that’s no longer an option.” Yikes! Then you’ll be saying, “I thought I could handle it on my own” or, “I thought this was normal.”

You might have Depression, but I’m not diagnosing anyone – I’m not qualified. Sure things might pass, but not always or likely, not without an intervention and possible treatment. Maybe the Doctor recommends a Mental Health Counsellor, medication or some other options, or maybe they do in fact tell you not to worry. No matter what they might tell you, it is better that you check in and lay things out so they can make a proper assessment.

You are the expert of you. You know when things aren’t normal. In our hustle and bustle society, pressure comes at us more often and from more sources than ever before. Yet, we have more options to take part in things from which we should derive pleasure too. If enjoyment and happiness are becoming harder to find in more parts of your life, heed the signs.

Take work as an example. You may have found that the job you’ve got has become truly a labour. It’s taking an exhaustive amount of energy to drag yourself out of bed, go through the routine of getting ready and you’ve come to just hate going in. You’ve called in sick when you’re not more and more, you’re taking a low profile and only doing what is necessary to keep your job, and you get out as fast as you can at the end of the day – maybe even skipping out early. But when you’re there, you’ve never really mentally checked in at all.

Looking for another job is something you pay lip service to, trolling websites but really there’s no concerted effort to update your résumé or keep any social media profile up.

If you see yourself being described here, reach out to a Doctor or Mental Health Counsellor and sooner rather than later. You’re worth it.

Making Bad Choices, Then Feeling Bad


Out of control; moving from one chaotic event to the next, over thinking things and then having everything you do questioned, analyzed, evaluated, summarized and judged; these the things you do to yourself.

Sometimes the one who judges us the hardest isn’t a stranger, family or friend, but rather the one who greets us each morning when we look in the mirror; ourselves. After all, we know ourselves more intimately than anyone else. Only we know each thought we have, why we do the things we do. Check that last one… there are times we haven’t got any explanation for the things we’ve done. Could be we often ask ourselves, “Why on earth did I do that? What was I thinking?”

Living daily in chaos and under constant pressure and strain stretches our resources to the point where our thinking becomes skewed so the decisions we make are flawed. We end up making bad choices we then regret; lowering our opinion of ourselves and feeling worse than before. Rather than learning from our mistakes, they get repeated, and later repeated yet again, and how we perceive ourselves sinks each time. The pattern of feeling bad about ourselves a lot of the time can lead us to make even poorer choices.

The funny thing is (only it’s not funny at all), when we make all these bad decisions, they seem so right at the time. That’s the hardest part for us to understand later. Trying to explain this or justify this to someone else who questions us is just impossible. We can’t help feeling so small; like a child being scolded by an adult who catches us doing something dumb. But as a child, at least we could be forgiven for not knowing better. By now, we should have grown up, matured, learned to make better decisions and have our stuff together. Instead, we can’t even make simple decisions without a struggle; like what to pack the kids for lunch.

You’d think that asking for help would be easy; a logical step to make sense of all the chaos, but think about that – if it was easy, you’d think you’d do that – so is not asking for help just another thing you’re doing wrong? Figures!

If everything above sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. If you struggle to do things that others find simple, like find something on the internet, open a bank account, file your taxes or get your child tax credit, don’t feel you’re the only one so there has to be something wrong with you.

The thing about making decisions is that when you make a good one you feel better. Make a second and a third good decision and you develop a pattern. Repeat the pattern and you start to gain confidence and view yourself as having good decision-making skills. The same however is true when the decisions you make don’t turn out the way you’d hoped. One bad decision on its own is exactly that; just one bad decision. A second followed by a third etc. establishes a pattern and you can easily feel that based on results, you make poor choices.

Decisions we make are always based on the information we have at the time. So when trying to figure out what to pack the kids for a school lunch, we look in the fridge or the cupboards and what we pack is based on what’s available. We can’t send what we don’t have. While it’s clear to someone else we sent something inappropriate, it was at the time the best choice we had, avoiding sending something worse or nothing at all. Unfortunately, other people only see what we sent and judge our decision-making solely based on what they see, not what possible items we rejected. In other words, you may have actually made the best choice anyone could have made based on what you found as options.

The same is true for the big decisions that go wrong in the end. You might choose a job that doesn’t work out and then another; then start to question why you make such bad choices. It could be that you just lack the right information in the first place about how to go about finding a good fit. The thing is, at the time, the choices you made – and continue to make – seem right. You’re not dumb or stupid; you lack the knowledge to make a better informed choice. Without that necessary information, its like a game of hit and miss; with a lot more misses.

Getting help with making decisions from people you trust is not a sign of weakness, but rather wisdom. But I get it; people you’ve trusted in the past, abused your trust and things didn’t go well. That’s led you to only trust yourself, and as things aren’t working out any better, this has you feeling worse, with no one to turn to.

Decide for yourself of course … but you may want to find one person you can share small stuff with and see if they can help you. If they do help you make good decisions, they might help you with the bigger things later.

Good decisions are hard to make in times of chaos – for anybody. Learning how to make better decisions, like any other skill, can be learned and could be exactly what you need.