Next we want to discuss the ability to get back to, well what? We call this the close encounter approach and bear with us as we explain how this relates to your job search.


In discussing the three-stage healing process, the point was made that, for people on disability, the second stage, finding something to get excited about, can be difficult. In fact, a lot of people beat themselves up because they aren't able to generate a lot of enthusiasm for some new goal. They shouldn't. If they think about it, they would start to understand that it's unrealistic to expect themselves to get excited about something they've never done before.

And while significant strides are being made in workplace adaptations and assisted devices that help people return to previous occupations, many of those on long term disability need to find something to do that they haven't done before.

For those people, anything they contemplate is bound to be something they've never really gotten close to. Do you know anyone who can get truly excited about something they've never gotten close to? The answer here is to release yourself from the unrealistic expectation that you can get excited about something at a distance.

Instead, we identify things a person thinks they might get excited about if they got close to them. Then we provide them whatever they need to get closer to those goals, to find out for themselves firsthand whether they still want them when they are up close.

We call it Close Encounter With Stated Goals. Very important here is the perspective, which says that if they get close to a goal and find they don't like it, that's real progress!!

Why? Because we've eliminated a "phantom goal," which allows them to focus their energies more clearly on another goal. In the meantime, they are developing a better understanding of what they really want, based on real-life experiences, not just on guesses made at a distance.

Once people understand that it's okay to go after something, find they don't like it, drop it, and pursue something else, they lose a lot of their anxiety and are able to make real progress. It isn't even something they have to think about.

Their feelings tell them soon enough whether a particular option is going to be right for them. The whole process flows more smoothly and naturally. This Close Encounter approach enables people to seek out and discard a number of options, if necessary, without feeling guilty or pressured about it.

And the funny thing is, with all that freedom to pursue endlessly, few people go through more than two or three options without finding the one that they know is right for them. Sometimes it takes a while, and sometimes they complete the process quickly.

You may be concerned that if you try this, you may have endless close encounters. My advice? Press on anyway. If that were to happen, it may mean you have some fears you haven't yet recognized, and at some point you'll need to face them.

Maybe you aren't as motivated as you think, which is helpful to discover. Or maybe you just haven't yet found the option that's right for you. The only way to find the answer is to keep on moving ahead.