Over the last several months, I went on five interviews for jobs I had no intention of taking. Nor did I think I had any shot of getting any of them.
I’m a beat the streets web designer who builds websites for local mom-and-pop businesses. Who am I to land one of these swanky-sounding roles?
So, why did I do it then?
Truthfully, I was secretly conducting a little experiment. I wanted to see what would happen if I intentionally did something for the sake of doing it — without any expectations or desiring a particular outcome.
Doing the opposite.
Typically, when an opportunity comes my way that initially seems like it’s not an ideal fit or breaks from my norm, I immediately shoot it down. This experiment was about doing the opposite of this. Interesting things tend to unfold in life by stepping out of your norm and breaking routine behavior.
I was curious to see what might transpire.
Can “not caring” actually lead to good things?
Since I was unattached to the actual result of landing these gigs, I knew there would be zero pressure or anxiety during the interviews. I firmly believe when you release the need for a particular outcome in life, that is precisely when things flow to you.
Most of the time, this happens unintentionally, and you realize after the fact that the moment you detached from what you have been longing for was the moment it started to transpire.
A big part of this experiment was intentionally “not caring” and seeing if I could validate this belief.
Another wrinkle to this experiment: on the morning of each interview and 10-minutes right before it started, I visualized it being a glorious experience in my mind. I mentally rehearsed answering questions with ease, smiling ear to ear, speaking confidently, being upbeat and friendly, etc.
I was offered two out of the five positions. Not bad, right?
But this wasn’t the point. The real victory was the lessons learned.
Here are five observations from my experience.
The word “interview” makes the entire experience feel too formal and stuffy. Sometimes our mind builds up the act of going on a job interview as this monumental undertaking. But we can experience it differently if we see it for what it really is: a simple conversation between human beings.
In my case, I treated each “interview” like a deep exploration in which both parties were learning about one another with the intention to see if there is a mutual benefit in working together.
Don’t get me wrong, I was still grilled to the max with all types of questions and sometimes by several people at once. But when you tell yourself you are “just having a conversation”, it is much easier to answer any question thrown at you. This leads to the next point.
Since there were zero expectations on my part, I was able to stay in the present moment and not allow myself to overthink the situation. I didn’t worry about impressing anyone or let the fear of making a mistake creep into my experience, and it felt liberating.
These are the ideal conditions to be at your best no matter what you are doing, whether performing a piano solo, giving a presentation, going on a first date, or discussing a potential opportunity with a hiring manager.
I was able to show up as myself and speak openly and honestly. Sometimes all you need to do is be yourself, and the rest takes care of itself.
The lack of expectations also allowed me to sincerely and gracefully learn about these opportunities while remaining playful and light. Sometimes when we want something to happen, we become too serious, which diminishes any sense of ease and fun from the situation.
This bullish sense of “wanting” can create tightness, but the best outcomes in life are usually achieved by loosening your grip, laughing, and letting your hair down a little.
The ideal attitude you want to have during job interviews or any business dealings is what I refer to as “playful sincerity.” This is the right balance of exhibiting down-to-earth humanity mixed with a genuine intention and reverence for the opportunity at hand and all it entails.
I can’t quantify this assertion, but I am convinced the visualizations I did beforehand had a big hand in creating my positive experience. I have been using creative visualization for years to prime myself mentally and emotionally before entering into any situation that might cause feelings of anxiety or where I have to “perform” in front of others.
If you are not using creative visualization, I highly recommend it. The simple act of establishing an intention in your mind for how you want to think, feel, and act before any important event can be a game-changer. Your subconscious mind will pick up on these cues on the spot, and you will be surprised how this can influence even the subtlest things during the situation you are prepping for.
Your energy matters especially during job interviews. It’s a mistake to go into it without determining what that looks like in your mind.
You probably heard the advice that going on interviews helps you get better at interviewing. And while that might be true, the real aim should be to become better at interacting and connecting with people.
Because people and the relationships you cultivate with them are what matters most in life and when it comes to career and business, they are your lifeblood.
Going into this experiment, I knew I would meet tons of interesting people and get to learn about the work their companies are doing. That alone is a win — because all opportunities come from people.
I knew there was value just by putting my name and face out there. Because who knows what that can lead to down the line? The simple act of showing up, making yourself known, and putting your best foot forward can open up doors you never knew existed.
When you put out good energy, it tends to make its way back to you eventually.
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