You are what you think.

I met with a very experienced woman named Jennifer today. She is in a transition. Her background is incredibly rich – she has been in various HR leadership roles over the years and she is extremely sharp minded – a real leader. Jennifer’s work has brought her all over the world. She is 56 years old, yet exudes energy and sharp-witted intelligence. She voluntarily left her last position because she did not want to work 24/7 and live in hotels in other countries 85% of the year…essentially, Jennifer wanted her life back.

The interesting part? Jennifer has lost her confidence. Why? She is concerned that she is “too old” to be perceived as still being able to make a valuable contribution to any organization. We met today because she is has been invited for two interviews this week and she is nervous and wants to be prepared – which is very smart.

Jennifer is most nervous about the details of the questions she will be asked about her background. Yes, that is important to be prepared for, but I believe even MORE important is being prepared emotionally.  My advice to Jennifer was first to step back and look at herself through a different lens.

“Keep in the forefront of your mind that you are an extremely experienced executive and have managed Human Resources throughout countries that most of us have never even heard of.  Your experience alone is a very rich resource of information for you to tap into and is clear evidence of your success”, I suggested.

Often I work with very successful professionals who have so much to be proud of, yet because they feel vulnerable due to various factors (age, a bad experience of being laid off, fear of having viable work in the final years before retirement, etc.), they lose their competitive edge because they have convinced themselves that they are the underdog.

I say, “Take a few deep breaths, remind yourself of all of your accomplishments and wisdom, and go into that interview with the confidence that you deserve. Talk with the interviewer from the standpoint that you are a very talented and experienced person, and you know as much as they do. They are a peer or colleague, not the keyholder to your future! This is an opportunity for you to evaluate whether this position is a potential match for what YOU want as much as it is a chance for them to decide if they want you.” This may help clients get grounded.

Go in with your head held high and from a position of strength – your body language and your intonation will, in many ways, demonstrate your capabilities. When they see how confident you are, they will instinctively know that you can do the job. (you can)

When they make you an offer, then YOU can decide if you want it.