It’s not always what you know, it’s not always who you know……..It’s always who you are.

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A few weeks ago I went to a networking event specifically created to support people currently out of work. Some three to four hundred men and women gathered over drinks and appetizers at a local restaurant; included in the mix were employers and recruiters.

The loud hum in the room was punctuated by bursts of laughter, sounds of camaraderie and the conversation that accompanies the exchange of business cards and slaps of support. That part was terrific!

But what caught my attention—not so much!

There was something in that room that pulled at my sleeve, urging me to look closer, to change the lens with which I was viewing it. And then I saw it! While I knew that the people in the room were (temporarily)  unemployed what I witnessed was that…

  • They looked ‘unemployed. Most of the men and women were dressed for casual Friday…. very, very, casual Friday.
  • Their energy, their ‘vibe’ said ‘unemployed’ (read: failure).
  • They spoke the language of the ‘unemployed.’ Their body language was gray in color and dismal in outcome. I’m a consummate eavesdropper and what I heard was:   “Everyone is out of work. There are no jobs. He’s been looking for six month. No one’s hiring.”

People perceive us exactly and precisely as we perceive ourselves. No better. No worse. The implication? If you feel like a failure, that is the message that people receive. If you look like a failure, that is the message that people perceive…… if you think and speak like… get the idea, don’t you? Which makes your chances of a prospective employer engaging you about…. zero.

These people were probably very nice… moms, dads, friends, colleagues, lovers. I’m positive that every one of them had something important they came into this life to accomplish. I have no doubt that, given the right opportunity and a positive mindset, they could accomplish whatever they set their mind to…. But this is not what they communicated!!!

Who you are impacts everything you do! End of story.

What you know and who you know is minutiae compared to who you are (the person you show up as) in every circumstance. Apologies, in advance, for the platitude, but ask any prospective employer, date, friend, colleague and they will tell you that your attitude, not your aptitude determines your altitude.

Here’s the tremendous opportunity: You cannot always control whether or not you are part of a layoff. You cannot always be in charge of whether or not your manager likes you, respects you, or cares about your career. What you are always in command of, what you never fail to determine is who you are in every given situation.

Yes, the person in charge of who you are is reading these words right now. You, alone, determine, whether you will choose to be depressed about your situation, or you will view it as an opportunity to pursue your destiny. You, alone, dwell on whether or not you’re a failure. You, alone, define your success.

Which means:

  • Be aware of what you think because it determines how you act.
  • You are not the problem you have.
    • You were laid off. That can be really tough. It does not imply that you are flawed as a human being. That was your conclusion (or not).
  • When you go out of the house, dress as though you’re going on a job interview. Because you are. You never know whom you will meet or where you will meet them. It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are, what skill set you have, if the person sizing you up can’t get past the ketchup stain on your pants.
  • See the end from the beginning which is a fancy way of saying, “act as though.” Here’s the deal: You will work again. Guaranteed. You’ve had jobs before and this won’t be the last one. ‘Hold’ yourself in your life as though this has already been accomplished and, before you know it, it will be.

Lastly, thoughts are things. Think positively powerful ones.

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2 thoughts on “It’s not always what you know, it’s not always who you know……..It’s always who you are.

  1. Always,always look your best. Don’t go out without your makeup. Please leave tee-shirts and snickers at home. Have the element of success about you, which says “you want to hire me, I will represent your company well.”

  2. Beautiful Nancy. I have always thought that you must always be ready for your next thing. Whatever it is. You simply never know. I notice it most on an airplane (could I be flying to much?). You never know who will be seated next to you and likely could be your next client, next employer or perhaps a new best friend. But if you are there with your hair uncombed and sweats with a hole, rest assured that first impression is the last one you will get. Not to mention that if the aircraft has a problem, are you properly dressed to survive the elements and appropriately get yourself off the wing (think Sully and the Hudson). Not saying you cannot wear sweats ever, but at least make sure they are clean and appropriate for the event. Be your very best self – always. Thanks Nancy for a great post that I will be sharing with my employees. You ROCK.

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