Team GB seem to have exceeded all expectations at the Olympics. It must be really great for those athletes who achieved what they set out to do, but what about those who have invested extraordinary efforts in preparation over the past four years or so, and simply failed to perform on the day? It must be really hard for these athletes to get motivated for the next big event. I often wonder if it would be an easier pill to swallow if you were knocked out early on rather than make it to the finals and then fail at the very last hurdle. Maybe the closer we get to the ultimate prize, the greater our expectations become: hence the massive increase in disappointment and consequential drop in motivation that might follow.
It’s like that with interviews. I often meet candidates that I coach who claim to have recently underperformed in an interview. Some rationalise their failure by explaining how they didn’t really want the job, or that this was only their first interview and they were underprepared. But what about those candidates who make it to the shortlist or even get to the stage where the job is in the bag but the offer gets pulled at the last minute? This last point seems to happen more and more in these days of hiring freezes, last-minute reorganisations and preferred internal candidates.
How easy do these ‘semi finalists’ and ‘finalists’ find it to motivate themselves to start the whole process again? It must be really difficult. If you find yourself in this situation, then I feel for you. But you have to rapidly bounce back with renewed vigour if you really do want to make your next career move.
Start by understanding why you failed. See if you can plug any immediate gaps in knowledge, expertise or behaviour. Learn by the process of failure and seek feedback from the potential employer. Trust and believe in yourself: if you made the shortlist, then you can’t be all bad and there will be other opportunities for you! Think about what you are truly good at. Go through your CV and review your major achievements.
Then start driving your job search campaign hard: if it worked before then it will work again. Just like a dedicated athlete, train hard, focus on your goals and motivate yourself to win.