Practicing Patience in Your Job Search: A Yogic Approach

A new year brings feelings of anticipation and rejuvenation to many facets of our daily lives. You may be brimming with energy to “re-invent” yourself, and feeling just a little bit impatient for the good changes to come, especially in your career.

If you’re in the job market, and your approach is of the “bring it on!” variety, that’s admirable, and healthy. But that isn’t necessarily the only way to tackle your career goals. Just as with a daily yoga practice, patience has its rewards, as much off the mat as on.

Practicing patience in your job search can reap big benefits. If one end of the spectrum is to go all out, the other end may be a more Taoist approach -- a “wu wei” mentality based on less action and holding back, at least initially. Paradoxical, to be sure, but waiting a while -- that’s where the “non-action” comes in -- has the advantage of giving you the space to take a deep breath and chart a mindful path forward.

Here are some ideas to incorporate in your patient job search in this new year:

Figure out where you are now.

How did you finish the year that just ended, and what do you see for your career in the year ahead? It’s good to know your position in this moment in order to successfully chart a way forward. One of the most worthwhile things you can do is to take a few moments, visualize your goals, and commit them to paper (or your electronic device!), so that you can consult them throughout the course of the year to assess your progress and figure out your path to career success.

Honor small changes.

As the new year takes off, commit to a calm and centered approach to your job search. Focus your job search drishti, or gaze, on your career goals without wavering, which will help keep you steady, grounded and making progress, even in the face of possible setbacks and rejection. In yoga, we are always moving toward something, and each step gets us closer. Small changes add up. Just remember, there’s no such thing as the perfect pose, or the perfect job.

Map out more than one approach.

There’s obviously more than one way to get where you want to be in your career. In fact, the wealth of possibilities may seem overwhelming at times. Here’s where mindfulness and focus kick in to help you sort out what feels right for you. Make refinements as you progress, eliminating what doesn’t work, and building on what does work.

Learn from “failure.”

If you attempt something new, you may not succeed at first -- as in, say, falling out of a yoga pose you’ve never tried before. Laugh (if you can!), get up, and try again! That’s how the twists and turns of a job search can mirror the experience of time on the yoga mat. The delight comes in that moment when you finally achieve the full expression of a pose -- or nail that sought-after job -- that you’ve been trying for again and again.

Be present--but also poised to move ahead.

Even though you may have a career blueprint in hand (or in mind), it’s important to stay open to what the universe offers you; unexpected opportunities can take you in entirely new directions. Keeping an open mind may lead you down avenues that you’ve never considered.

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