... on this occasion [fill in the blanks].
'Unfortunately' is a very powerful yet incredibly disempowering word. It has the ability to chip, chip, chip away years of confidence, knowledge, successes, value and ultimately the self-esteem you have built. For far too many, it appears over the last decade or so, it may be a word that you've become more and more aware of.
And there's no getting away from it; once you've noticed it's frequency. You may come to expect it, to look for it even and kind of prepare yourself for that word arriving over it's more positive opposite 'fortunately'. This subconscious expectation in itself can create a loop of self-fulfilling prophecy, without greater awareness of it.
Here's how the word, whilst polite, cuts to the core of our personal perceptions and eventually risks impacting our expectations and behaviours. Nowadays, the job or contract hunter is lucky if they even get an 'unfortunately' email and can even start to feel grateful for one! They're lucky if they hear anything at all from yet another job application, pitch or proposal.
Imagine living like that with no end in sight ... imagine the 437th 'unfortunately' arriving in your inbox. What do you think that would do to you? How do you think it would affect your behaviours, your self-belief, your job or contract hunting, not to mention your next interview or pitch performance. Let's take delve a little deeper ...
"Right now, imagine you've invested over £250k in developing your knowledge, crafting your skills and sacrificing personal life-time to build a market value and professional offer, gained over a 10 or even 20 year time span, only to feel you've invested badly as a result of the constant stream of 'unfortunately' you heard during your journey"
Seem a little harsh or far fetched? Well 'unfortunately' that's exactly how it looks and feels to the long-term job or contract hunter and over time, it becomes very personal! All personal power is relinquished, all sense of self and self-control diminishes when all the doors remain unfortunately closed; how else can you view this hard-working and committed journey of yours?
If no one wants it, then no one wants you - so, what is your real ROI? Your return on investment? Worthless - in monetary terms!
If you knew then what you know now, would you have still invested all that time, effort and sacrifice? Would you have taken that life and career path? That's the harsh reality out there for so many. And it's having a wide range of impacts, not just professionally but personally too.
"You cannot get away from yourself and that inner mind questioning your worth"
If someone keeps getting rejected and consistently hears 'no' however politely it's delivered, it is bound to have an effect. It's like a football striker on a goal drought; if they can't get the ball in the back of the net, guess what? It's 'unfortunately' time to change. How frustrating!
Eventually, the unfortunate thing is the impact it has on the deep rooted belief system, the things we don't always realise or become consciously aware of. In the absence of hitting any goals or winning any fortunate responses, we change our beliefs in our abilities, our worth or even our lucky - we start expecting the worse, which can drive it's own problems.
For those of you who have never struggled to win work or a job, please know this can effect everything from character, personality, mood, interaction, engagement, values and more. This is our mental health. This is the everyday reality of it - rejection kills. At it's worst, it really can make you feel desperate, pointless not to mention worthless. At it's best it can help you develop your resilience, determination and flexibility. Generally, in my practice I find that whilst we may say or display the latter; the former is lurking and continues to chip away.
"You cannot be down and up at the same time; it's impossible".
On paper, the issue looks like a lack of income from a job or contract, in reality the issue is very much an internal struggle in the mind of identity, value and purpose.
It's in our head, it never leaves and can feed what Dr Steve Peter's would call your 'Chimp' brain (The Chimp Paradox). It's an internal struggle that you're at risk of taking to interviews, writing up in your job applications and presenting in your pitches. It stays with you at social events, attends family gatherings with you and can display itself in social media.
Circumstantial internal suffering, or mental health issues such as this are very real. They are very present and support to break the (mental) state is seriously required.
Whilst there is so much support out there (accessible or not) for those suffering such circumstances, there little is out there for you; the loved one, the friend, the ex-colleague - the supporter!
So - instead of avoiding that person you know who is struggling to find their market place, just reach out. Ask how they are. Show some compassion and understanding - it really could be a life-saving question. Help them see new possibilities, but do avoid the traditional 'PMA' positive mental attitude (we already tried that!)
To learn more about how to support someone internally suffering through circumstantial change or issues just ask us or book yourself on to our training in Mental Health SOS (Supporters of Sufferers) Code(TM)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.