Written by Shea Ki
I've been putting off writing this blog post.
And doing the laundry. And starting my taxes. And meal planning for the upcoming week. And working out. And the list goes on....
Are you also finding it harder to get started with things during this pandemic time period of our lives?
According to many major news sources, women are being two to four times more negatively impacted by all the lockdowns, layoffs, and loss of loved ones than men. With everything going on and much of it falling on our shoulders, we are often completely drained from taking care of everyone else.
When there is nothing left in our tank, our wellbeing and career momentum start to suffer.
Making sure we are prepared for new opportunities may be something we think we don't have time and energy for right now. But what if doing the inner work and outer practice of interview prep actually boosted our energy instead of draining it further? I'm here to help make that happen for you.
The workforce needs your strengths, talents, and gifts more than ever. But in order for your offerings to be of service doing work you enjoy, you need to be ready to speak about them with ease and genuine confidence.
The road map to more career satisfaction often begins with no longer putting off interview prep, even if you don't have an upcoming interview yet scheduled. Your interview skills are like a muscle and too many of us put off flexing them until the last minute. That decreases the chances of being able to show up our best, authentic self so we can shine in the hot seat and enjoy interview success.
When we use a holistic approach, doing interview prep can rejuvenate us in ways we didn't expect. The trick is to first get started. Taking these three steps will help you kick procrastination to the curb and re-ignite that professional spark in you.
1. Unlock Yourself From The Comfort Zone
Why do we procrastinate if we know interview prep will be good for us?
We can first look to our very clever and extremely protective brains for the answer. Any new experience is often registered as a threat. Even though we don't have predators with huge teeth chasing us down in modern times, our internal, primal systems have yet to fully accept that fact. Sitting in the hot seat being forced to talk about ourselves, especially if we already have anxiety about it, can set off every alarm in our nervous system.
Procrastination is one of many ways our minds try to keep us in our comfort zone and protect us from change. It isn't usually because we are lazy or don't want something more for ourselves that we keep putting off interview prep. Did you know that beating ourselves up about putting off interview prep is common among talented, professional women?
On top of it, procrastination usually shows up with other blockers to keep us from moving towards a different career situation than the one we are in now. You might notice yourself feeling a lack of self-confidence, finding excuses (such as not being good enough or not having enough time), and listening to other people's opinions above your own.
But once we know and EXPECT that procrastination is a common phase that happens to most of us when we are stretching past our comfort zone, the hold that it has us can start to loosen. We can then use gentle self-talk, (that ambitious women often need to practice as we can be our own worst critics), to tell our procrastination to exit the scene, like this:
"I've seen this in myself before. Thanks procrastination for showing up to try and protect me, but your service here is done. I now know you came because I may be experiencing about some fear about change in my career situation. Whether I was fearing failure or success, as both can seem paralyzing and make me put off what is important, I now realize part of the journey is walking through the fear zone to get to the good stuff. You showing up and getting me stuck was part of the process. I am actually closer than I thought to the learning and growth zones where my energy and career inspiration are patiently waiting for me.
Goodbye procrastination. If you visit again, I now know why you show up and we can have this talk again. Watch out though! I am keeping close this graphic that reminds me of the benefits of getting out of my comfort zone---and my coffee and a favorite chocolate nearby, too."
2. Break Down Interview Prep Into Small Steps
Is there a method that makes interview prep easier?
Getting interview ready can feel like an overwhelming chore, especially with all the other stress and continuous strain of our current times.
It can also feel confusing where to start and lonely since we often regard it as a solo task. Then our brains start to remind it us good it feels to stay in the comfort zone instead. And suddenly another week passes, another month, and sometimes another year where we are stuck in the same career situation even though so much more is possible.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
We can decrease our likelihood of procrastinating by breaking down our interview prep into smaller, more enticing steps for ourselves. Doing one step of interview prep at a time and then taking a break makes it more manageable and less energy zapping. It also results in much more information being retained for better interview responses.
In my upcoming online workshop, I'll be sharing about the Upgrade My Interview method, including how to break down interview prep into five steps to get the best results. I've seen this strategy help many women shift out of procrastination towards career momentum. Will I see you there?
Watch this video to find out more about why I am doing this workshop and how it will benefit you:
3. Create A Fun Accountability System For Progress
Who doesn't like a quick win?
Most behavior psychologists would agree that we tend to procrastinate when there doesn't seem to be much of an immediate reward or sense of success in the task we are putting off.
Creating your own system of accountability and rewards can turn interview prep from something you dread to a time on your calendar that you look forward to. I've seen amazing results when my clients discover what works for them to stay engaged in building up their interview muscle. These are some of the systems that seem to hold up best against the force of procrastination:
Gamify (with levels)
Do you remember how chores as a kid suddenly felt so much more interesting when you made them a game? The same mindset shift helps so much with bringing ease and fun into getting ready to shine in the hot seat. When clients chose this option to tackle their interview prep, I work with them to create a system that includes levels and rewards. Each time they level-up, we have a mini-celebration (chair dancing usually ensues to a great song!) and we then get our game faces on for the next level.
Buddy up (with a supportive co-worker or other professional)
Buddying up online with a supportive co-worker or other professional who is working on upgrading their interview skills works wonders. It helps boost the chances of us doing the work because someone else is involved. Plus, it adds in more interaction and stimulation instead of looking at a computer screen doing research or preparing our career stories by ourselves. Here are a few tips I often share with those I interview coach:
Challenge (with a community)
Lately, I've been asking my higher guidance, "What can I do to help others stop putting off interview prep and get more excited about it, especially in these more difficult times?" As always, taking time for this divine connection and inner reflection brought me some amazing ideas that I will continue to share here in upcoming Upgrade My Interview blog posts, videos, and resources.
A top new idea also gave me goosebumps, so I had to start it right away. I've been providing a Interview Prep Challenge on Instagram and LinkedIn. It isn't a formal one where you have to sign up and only you do all the work while the host of the challenge sits back. In this experience, I am also challenging myself to get outside of my comfort zone more often, too.
The first week I dared myself to try a new juice---that I likely couldn't stand, while also daring YOU to do 30 minutes of interview prep. The second week I did the same thing. You'll have to see if I spit anything out yet or not by watching the videos.
Every week I will be challenging myself to do this again IF AND ONLY IF I receive 3 direct messages from other professional women that they completed 30 minutes of interview prep that week.
Week 1: I might throw up in this video....
Week 2: Will I spit the juice out today?
Week 3: My stomach is doing flips!
Week 4: My guest today is my toughest coach!
Week 5: Still kind of icky....but my mindset is helping!
Week 6: The Grand Finale