We are always learning! I learned an important lesson recently in career management. Here’s my story… Despite growing up with two brothers and raising three boys, I admit I am still not much of a sports fan.  This didn’t stop me from watching the Super Bowl last month, not thinking initially how this football game would have anything to do with career management.

This LA Times article, Take a cue from Tom Brady. Resilience on the job can pay big rewards, demonstrates how we can positively impact our career management when we have the kind of resilience that Tom Brady and his team demonstrated by hanging in with a 25-point deficit, maintaining their cool and making a resounding comeback to win the game in overtime.

The game is a metaphor for our career management plan.  There are times when we are top of the world and then there are other times when the prospects of losing and failing seem inevitable.  To me, this article presents three important mindsets that we must adopt to claim our resilience and make it work for us in our career management plan:

  1. Reframe – when something “bad” happens to us, we tend to focus on the negativity of the situation, crowding out all the other possibilities. Whether it be a particularly challenging work assignment we’ve been given or a long seemingly fruitless career search, we struggle to see or adopt another perspective. This perspective shift is necessary to come out on top.  The Patriots could have viewed their situation as a total loss for that day and become complacent.  After all, they’ve already won the Super Bowl four times! They’ve certainly proven their talent.  But, they had a mission and their mission would not be complete until they gave it their all to the very last second. Rather than looking at running out the clock because of the “hopeless” situation, they reframed the experience to focus on what was still possible in the remaining minutes of that game, shifted their perspective, and gave it their all. It paid off!
  2. Believe – after shifting our perspective, we need to believe in ourselves. This means that we muster all the borrowed confidence (from previous successes) that we can and commit to whatever it takes to get the job done.  This is exactly what the workers in the articles did when they were up against seemingly impossible odds in turning their company situation around.  Their strong belief in possibilities motivated them to put everything they had into their project, and it paid off!  Hang on to this belief in yourself when in challenging situations.  Remember the times you’ve beat impossible odds and use that memory to spur you on to the finish line. Importantly, don’t do it alone.  Tom Brady did not accept all the accolades just for himself but constantly credited team effort for their hard-won victory.  Get a partner in believing if you must, someone you trust who will support you through thick and thin, and provide the nurturing accountability you need to persist.
  3. Act! – neither reframing nor belief on their own will result in success. Once the direction and plan are set, moving the ball towards the goalposts, sometimes just painstaking yard by yard, is imperative to win. For Tom Brady and the author of the article, the challenge was great. Moving beyond the mind shift disciplines, the only thing that guaranteed their success was that they acted. Their actions were big and bold. Our actions do not have to be quite that big or bold.  Whether your challenge is a big “impossible” project at work or a job search process that makes you question your competence and sanity, taking persistent action in the direction of your goal solidifies your prospects of succeeding.

Ask yourself this question, “What’s one thing I can do today with what I have to move me in the direction of my goal (despite my current circumstances)?  Then, do it!  Big or small, you’ve got your eyes on the ball, and you’re fulfilling your mission with the resilience of a champion!

We all face those moments of uncertainty in our careers when we doubt ourselves and our outcomes.  I invite you to grab a free copy of my guide, Create Your Career Vision, from my website. It will enlighten you about the alignment between your current career and your career goals.  It might also inspire you to pursue a different career path!