My friend, Ken Revenaugh, who authors the Fast Track Tools blog, often writes about the importance of storytelling in business. He advocates keeping an eye and ear out for stories everywhere you go to help illustrate a point down the road. During my recent visit to New York City, I kept a list of inspiring blog topics relating to career and job search. My favorite inspiration occurred during a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
While in the impressionist wing, viewing art by French artist Edgar Degas (1834-1917), famous for his paintings and sculptures of ballet dancers, I noticed an explanation accompanying many small sculptures (photo at right). Apparently, there were more than 150 pieces made of clay, wax and plastiline that Degas had been ambivalent about preserving in bronze because he wasn’t sure they were good enough.
I thought it a little ironic — this master painter and sculpture, whose art is now famous around the world and displayed in iconic museums, was worried some of his work wasn’t good enough to save for posterity.
Clearly, he had perfectionist tendencies, as the placard near the famous, “The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer (photo below), indicated he had taken such care to sculpt it, there were an “extraordinary number of surviving sketches in charcoal and pastel, as well as his study of the figure.” You can see some of his paintings of dancers in the background.
Stop and think: what are you doing well that you don’t think is good enough? What are you underestimating about your skills, experiences and accomplishments? Are you convincing yourself something isn’t good enough when, in fact, any more objective onlooker would convince you otherwise? Sometimes, it’s difficult to give ourselves credit for what we know we do well. I remember advising a student when I worked at Emory to highlight her multi-lingual skills (she was in the international health field). She assumed everyone had similar skills, and her accomplishments weren’t unique or special.
Just as Degas didn’t think enough of the many small sculptures to preserve them in bronze, you may be underestimating your abilities and not applying for the right kind of jobs. Maybe you haven’t had success landing interviews, so you think you should look for different (maybe less advanced) work? Have you considered the fact you may simply be underselling yourself in your resume and other marketing materials. (If you even have other job search marketing materials.)
Before you alter your course, make sure you’re giving yourself every chance to succeed in your chosen path. Consider hiring an unbiased career expert to help showcase your best “you” before you metaphorically destroy your clay, wax and plastiline job search.
What career lessons do you glean from this story? Share you ideas in the comments.
Could you use some help highlighting your “best you?” Contact me for a quote for a transformed resume and/or coaching to get your job hunt moving in the right direction. Be sure to consider having your own professional website to showcase your professional attributes and to help people find you online.