Graham Lavender, OCULA President, introduces himself.
You’ve just found out you got the interview, and now your brain goes crazy.
- You start stressing about every little detail. And every big detail.
- You hear the judgemental voices in your head get louder and louder. They’re questioning your skill level, your ability to talk to people, your past experience, and what you had for lunch.
- You start comparing yourself to everyone else in the field. And they’re all better than you.
Take a breath with me:
In for 1, 2, 3, 4
Hold for 1, 2, 3, 4
Out for 1, 2, 3, 4
Hold for 1, 2, 3, 4
You’ve just learned the “tactical breathing” technique used in combat by the military to decrease stress and regain focus. It’ll also work in job interviews.
While you’re logistically prepping for your interview, researching the institution, and anticipating the types of questions you’ll be asked, there’s one crucial area that also needs attention, but is often forgotten. Your emotional preparedness. Who you are going to show up as. Who will you be in the interview.
I know, I know, you’re gonna be you. But what version of you? What if you channeled all the best parts of yourself and did the interview as if you were a superhero?
Here’s where people mess up in interviews (and in other high-stakes situations):
- They feel like they’re not worthy of being there, so they get consumed by self-doubt and self-consciousness.
- They’re so worried about messing up that all their mental energy is lost on those fears. And then they mess up, get completely thrown off their game, and can’t recover.
- They feel like they “must be seen as” something other than what they are. This is where they pretend to be an expert in something rather than admitting they don’t know the answer.
- Old stories based on past traumatic experiences start to show up and play like a movie reel in their minds. And then they begin to catastrophize all the possible things that could go wrong in the interview.
These are our Saboteurs, and they’re nasty little critters. We all have them, and they do serve a purpose. Saboteurs come from childhood and are there to keep us safe in the status quo, because anything unknown is filled with the possibility of danger. Our Saboteurs are like the grandparent guardians who want to keep us in bubble wrap. When we have the audacity to change our lives, like taking on a new job, they begin to freak out and try to stop us because they don’t already know the (safe) outcome.
Think about and spend some time with your Saboteurs. In what situations do they squawk the loudest? What are they wanting to keep you safe from? What are they most fearful of? If you don’t know what’s motivating them, you won’t be able to explain why you don’t need them to guard you.
Here’s an example from my life. I have a huge hyper-achiever Saboteur. This means that I like to be the best, I am ambitious and I am always on the look-out for the next opportunity. This never felt like a bad thing until I realized that this desire to achieve was making me afraid to fail. Fear of failure is the motivation behind this Saboteur, and if I made decisions based on that fear, I would only make very conservative choices where the outcome was guaranteed, thereby missing out on other incredible opportunities because of fear of uncertainty. Wonder what your Saboteurs are? This free assessment will show you a few of them.
So how can you quiet the Saboteurs? By tapping into your superpowers.
- What are the characteristics that are uniquely you?
- What are the three words your friends would use to describe you?
- What do people count on you for?
- In what situations do you feel most alive? What are those situations tapping within you?
- What type of energy do you bring into the room when you’re feeling your best?
By knowing who you are when you show up as your most super-powered self, you can access that version of yourself and leave the Saboteur-self behind.
The best way to connect to this super-powered self is to create an avatar for it. To do this, ask yourself these questions:
- Who do I know that has the type of energy that I want to bring into the room with me?
- What person or character shares a lot of the same superpowers as me?
- What would my superhero character look like?
And here’s the fun part: Create it! Draw it out, write about it, paint it, or knit it. Do something to make your superhero-self come to life.
When I need to show up as my superhero-self, like when I’m leading a workshop or coaching, these are the superpowers I channel:
- Oprah: her wisdom, compassion, forthrightness
- Xena: her fierce courage and confidence in her body’s abilities
- A Snuggie: comforting and empathetic
- Universe: feeling like I’m serving the highest good for the sake of a more loving world
So, what superpowers will you bring into the interview room?
Sophia Apostol is a Personal and Professional Development Coach. She can be reached at sophia]at]sophiaapostol.com