Time and again we are face-to-face with that which is intimidating on the employment journey—how true! From initially choosing a career and preparing for it, to walking into nerve-wracking interviews, beginning a new job, assuming additional responsibilities, recovering from mistakes or “failures”, learning up-to-date technology, and taking calculated risks to advance in the career, there are occasions aplenty about which to feel unnerved or overwhelmed. As a person with a visual impairment, there is also deciding when and how to disclose your vision and accommodation needs to employers and colleagues.
But. Just because something is uncomfortable doesn’t mean you’re incapable of it—again, how true! Yes, professional, there is discomfort. It’s time to recognize it and move forward regardless.
This week I heard the quote, “I see you. I hear you. But I’m doing it anyway.” That’s what we ought to say to our loud, worried thoughts and unsettled feelings.
Perhaps fear, anxiety, or simple discomfort is holding you back from
- finding a job or new job
- disclosing and embracing your diversity
- asking for a pay raise
- recovering and learning from a mistake/ failure on the job
- saying “No” at work
- advancing in your career
- disclosing accommodation needs
- improving job performance
- learning assistive technology, or
- learning braille
Yes, these scenarios can be a stretch. Hey, discomfort—I see you. I hear you. But I’m doing it anyway.
The Path Forward
Instead of focusing on the thoughts and feelings which threaten to hold us back, let’s focus on the route forward.
Throw on a power outfit. For real. Whether at home or at work, wear an ensemble that leaves you feeling prepared for what lies ahead. To learn more, read Your Power Outfit—Why It’s Important and How to Assemble It As Someone with Vision Loss.
Strike a power pose. Did you know if you hold your head upright and stand with proper posture, taking up space instead of shrinking back, you feel (and look) more competent? To learn more, read Power Pose: Nonverbal Communication That Increases Your Confidence As a Person Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired.
Set goals. Establish a plan to develop the soft skills, leadership skills, and job-specific skills you need to succeed. Steve Cardenas taught us about qualities (soft skills) that seem to be drivers of success in Three Traits That Make Blind and Visually Impaired Job Seekers Stand Out; president of Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh, Erika Arbogast’s principles of leadership are presented in Let’s Focus on Your Career Advancement; and Indeed.com shares about developing job-specific (hard) skills in the blog post, How to Develop Your Skill Set.
Take a step forward. You’ve done what you can to feel confident, and you’ve devised goals; it’s time to take a stride, however small, in the right direction. Succeeding in even the smallest action will help you realize you’re capable.
Because, the truth is, confidence isn’t likely to occur until you’ve had repeated success over time. So yes, moving forward comes before comfort.
I invite you to wave hello to the discomfort and intimidation and pass it right along. See it. Hear it. Do it anyway.