By Mary Ann Faremouth,
It’s been said that pressure and stress can create magnificent things. A diamond has to undergo incredible pressure during its creation. The caterpillar deals with the pressure and stress of being wrapped in a cocoon and having to break free before gaining its freedom in a new form. A clam has to put up with an annoying piece of sand as a beautiful pearl is created. And even flowers can find a way to grow through a crack in the concrete. And then I thought to myself about how, during this time of Covid, incredible pressures and stresses have been put upon us.
But even if we have all found ourselves planted under the metaphorical concrete, how can we look for the crack in the concrete to find our own way out? How can we be like the beautiful flower that raises its struggling head from the concrete to “Bloom Where We Are Planted”?
And with April upon us at the time of this writing, I thought it quite interesting that the etymology of the word “April” comes from the Latin verb “Aperire” which means “to open.” The word refers to the season of trees and flowers when they begin to “open” or bloom.
Just as with the diamond, the caterpillar, the clam, and even the flower, there was a process that resulted in a transformation and creation of something different and tougher as the end result.
As a career consultant tuned in to the pressures and stresses of employers, applicants, and recruiters in the New Work World, I would like to investigate some of the ways we, despite all odds, can choose to bloom with the end result being a transformation better suited to the new world of work.
1. Embrace Change
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus reminded us that the only constant is change. I’m sure he would be amazed if he were able to look around today in the New Work World and take note of the many changes that have resulted with the onset of Covid. Yet we know that as uncomfortable as change is, change forces growth and allows individuals to investigate other dimensions of themselves and their surroundings. I remember being a young gal working for a Big 3 automaker for five (5) years and progressing up the corporate ladder very quickly. Along came the 1980’s and a major decline in the market; the automotive industry faced a temporary challenge that effected other industries as well. The result was a mass exodus from my birthplace of Michigan. The famous saying at that time was: “Would the last person to leave Michigan please turn out the lights?” Had that market decline not happened, I could have never ventured outside of my comfort zone and tried my wings at an entirely different career path that I love! My job was not in big jeopardy at the time, but the potential for advancement was very limited. It was a risk, but a calculated one. I also was in a job that was not in alignment with my passions, desires, and interests. It was well-paying, secure, and rich in benefits, however. I remember my father was not too happy when I made the big move to another state that afforded me different opportunities. But I also remember overhearing him expressing to a relative at Christmas when I went home to visit that next year, that he was proud of my newfound job and achievements and noticed how I had grown personally and professionally from the change I embraced.
2. Have a Determined, Positive Mindset
A Positive Mindset can make all the difference in moving forward during troubled times. Maya Angelou was right when she
said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can
decide not to be reduced by them.” During the last several months of Covid, I have
heard from a number of employers who have interviewed candidates and have observed that those who come in
with a positive attitude and determined mindset are so much more attractive than the ones who
discuss all their challenges, bad times, and hardships during the interview. In fact, the right mindset
during these uncertain times often goes even further than having exact or related background for
a position. Our attitudes are what makes the difference. One client mentioned to me
the other day that a candidate brought up how his getting laid off allowed him to become a
better person and take more online courses that were helpful in expanding his skillset. Focus on the positives instead of the negatives and you will always have an advantage with current employers!
3. Have a “WE” focus as opposed to a “ME” focus
One of my favorite inventors, Henry Ford, said it best: “To do more for the world than the world does for you, that is success.” In times of personal challenge, it’s easy to turn inward. It’s very normal to bury ourselves inside our own shells. However, when we turn outward and instead focus on helping someone else, that selfless act alone will enhance self esteem knowing you did something to benefit someone else. It also takes the focus off fears and apprehensions. I clearly remember an employer telling me how the candidate I sent in for an interview responded when asked the question, “What has been your biggest accomplishment?” The candidate went on to describe his experience in a Big Brother program and seeing the person he mentored receive a scholarship for his hard work and good grades. The young man had many challenges in his life and quite a few obstacles but he persevered. The candidate was happy that he was able to influence this young man to work hard and move on to a better future. My client was so impressed with this candidate’s answer that he cancelled all the other interviews I had set up and moved to make this candidate an offer. He felt that attitude would translate into his also being a great team player and assisting other employees to make a solid contribution to the company.
Make a decision that you will “Bloom Where You are Planted” and show your own brilliance like the diamond, become your own version of the butterfly despite cocooning of the last several months, let the many irritants you have encountered create your own pearly vision of your future. Sometimes life is hard. Things don’t always go according to plan. But we always have the control of how we respond. Blooming where we are planted is to make the choice to respond in a positive manner. By embracing the changes, having a determined mindset, and focusing more on how we can help our fellow man, we experience a blooming of our human existence that allows us to rise up from that concrete that has weighted us down and emerge like that beautiful flower in nature that radiates its beauty to the world!
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.