A positive attitude is the single most common thread among all winners. It will enable you to separate yourself from thousands who simply give up or settle for less.

Don't Let Being Unemployed Hold You Back

For the most part, someone who becomes unemployed is viewed as a victim of economics. Nevertheless, if you lose a job, there can be feelings of shock and fear. It can mean the loss of many symbols of security that we take for granted.

When we have a job, we have a place to go, an opportunity to achieve, and friends to work with. Even in those cases where people resign, their initial feelings of self- confidence can quickly give way to concern and doubt if they don't land a new job quickly. Obviously, loss of income can also cause great apprehension.

Being fired, or asked to leave, doesn't mean failure in the eyes of everyone else, even though you may feel depressed. Don't let it give you a complex and, even more important, don't feel sorry for yourself. If you lose a job, there are some steps you should take.

If you have a decent severance, take a short break, perhaps a couple of weeks, but don't do an extended vacation and don't retreat socially. The best psychological boost you can get will come from having a schedule full of activity: breakfast meetings, lunches, interviews, using the Internet, letter writing, calls and follow-ups. The key is to get into action and give your search top priority.

In addition to negotiating your outplacement assistance, you will also need to get agreement on the reason for your separation. If there are negatives, work out an explanation that puts you in the best light. Look for clarification that the termination was due to factors beyond your control, such as a cutback, merger, or reorganization, and never make the mistake of implying threats. If you are in a position to harm your employer, they will know it, and they'll take it into account in dealing with you.

If you are not offered a company sponsored service, then invest some money in speeding your search. Sometimes fear regarding financial matters can create a burden. However, there are compelling reasons for investing in your search.

First of all, any expenses you incur while getting back to earning a living are normally tax deductible. Secondly, chances are as an executive you typically earn ,000, ,000 or ,000 or more each month, and this is exactly what you will lose each month when you find yourself between positions. If you can save just one month, chances are any investment you make in your search will be recovered. For executives earning 0,000 or more the consequences are major.

Now, we've observed that most executives faced with unemployment determine or suspect that their careers may be at a crossroads, and they place a high value on both their satisfaction and the cash flow that comes from having a job where they are paid what they are worth. They also recognize that the potential cost of not maximizing their effort can be very great, and this is a major risk that needs to be minimized.

We have also observed that many unemployed executives are men and women who have invested generously in giving their families a certain lifestyle, and often have put a number of children through college. Their ability to do the same may be in doubt without help. With few exceptions, they should view their career as still appreciating and not allow it to depreciate.

If you are out of work, your first goal should be to invest wisely to decrease your search time and therefore, any financial loss. Getting busy is also good for your mental health. Secondly, you need to strive to optimize the number of positions you can explore.

Your Will to Succeed Can Make the Difference

Now, it won't be news to you that if you truly believe in yourself, you will have the best possible chance of achieving your greatest potential. So, it's a good time to remind yourself of all of the good things you have done.

Where would you get these ideas? Start by looking at your past, with what psychologists have called selective perception: namely, concentrating on the positive things and ignoring the negative. The idea here is to list positive things you can do.

Your second step is to get rid of beliefs that might inhibit your will to succeed. Psychologists tell us that the beliefs we hold have a lot to do with the kind of world we experience.

If, for example, you believe the economy is bad and firms are not hiring, you will go through the news and pay attention to items about layoffs or declines in sales. On the other hand, if you believe that there are many areas of opportunity, then you will seek out new companies, new products, and the like.

Set Your Expectations and Build Your Self Esteem

Our expectations have a lot to do with the way things happen for us. The most dramatic examples are the athletes who, when asked about their success, often reply, "We expected all along we would win."

A look at the lives of leaders in almost any field also reveals a common theme. Whether it's a leading scientist, educator, movie personality, or leader of industry, you'll find all of them had positive expectations. What we used to call daydreaming, experts now call positive imaging.

Picture yourself achieving high goals, hiring others to work for you, bringing in new business and more. Whatever you choose for your positive visualizations, the important thing is to work on them every day. They will give you a new-found power and confidence.

However, you also need to project some of those internal positives to the outside world. Talk to people about your positive expectations. When you do this, it reaffirms your own commitment. Let these ideas flow into your attitude, and help others as much as you can.

This, in turn, helps create the kind of environment where people make positive decisions about hiring. You'll have to work at this, but it's easy and it's fun. Good posture, a spring in your step, a firm handshake, a confident look in your eye, and comments revealing a positive outlook can all help you project your internal positives to the world.

It's important to share with you a few observations about people who succeed beyond expectations. One of them is the ability to recognize and act on opportunities. Another is to overcome setbacks, and to build your self-esteem to levels that propel success.

Some people seem to possess a unique ability to constantly send themselves positive, healthy messages that add meaning to their lives. They build their self-esteem by acknowledging their mistakes and downfalls.

Rather than denying them, they discover positives, reminding themselves of?and taking pride in?their smallest triumphs. It isn't the size of the triumph that counts; they keep small victories and good things about themselves on their minds.

When it comes to job hunting, the people who succeed by building self-esteem also seem to do so by creating some form of self-affirmation, by liking who they are and the stage of life they are in, rather than wanting to be in someone else's shoes.

Time and time again, we have seen people succeed because they simply believed they could, and others fail because they thought they couldn't succeed. Once they've got their focus, certain people also seem to be able to literally "will" their success.

Like competitors in any field, they "psych themselves up" and get energized. This is especially important because when you're coping with unusual stress, the mind can only dwell on one thing at a time, and you need to make it something positive that enables you to be in action.

These people, the ones who achieve both unusual and unexpected success, also constantly motivate and remotivate themselves by setting goals, and by focusing on what they can control. They also turn their long-term job hunting goal into a mini-series of short-term goals so they can succeed along the way.

Another similarity amongst these people is their ability to concentrate. Like top athletes who have a string of good performances, they seem to catch the flow. They clear their minds, ignoring anything that might otherwise distract them from achieving daily goals.

The last point we would like to make relating to these people has to do with feeling good physically. Here as well, certain people simply make themselves feel better. For example, they may have been out of shape, but then vary or add to their routine by starting to run every day, or starting to take vitamins such as C, E, etc.

Now, this is not written from scientific evidence, but whatever they do, within days we've seen people believing they are feeling better?sometimes after months of feeling down. This then translated into other actions, which led to their ultimate success.

Too many people make excuses for not getting into action (e.g., a recession, problems in their industry, skills made obsolete by technology, or too many people going after too few jobs).

If, you look at the lives of achievers in any field, you will see that besides positive expectations, another common thread is that they are very active people. Taking action is, in itself, like taking an energy tonic. When you get into action on anything, you no longer have time to worry about whether you will achieve a goal.

How Some of Our Clients View the Experience of Being Unemployed

"Unlike most executives who get downsized as part of cutbacks, I was in a state of shock when my boss stopped by and said things were not working out. As president of a division, I had exceeded my numbers every year for the past three years. In retrospect, my political instincts were not what they should have been. My advice for your other clients would be that the key to handling this experience is to stay busy, be positive and feel good about yourself. I know it isn't the main purpose, but your service builds everyone's confidence and self esteem. Since your system for marketing people covers all the bases, being busy and having the activity was the key for me."

"I have been unemployed three times in my career. Once I was in the wrong field. Next, I was merged out. Most recently, our firm could not secure its next stage of funding. As a result, I have become somewhat of an expert on this situation. Building an entirely new will to succeed is the truly essential ingredient. It is what every executive must do. If a person can do that, then with all the resources JMAC puts behind them, there is little risk of failure. On the other hand, even with what you do, things won't go well if they dwell on their old situation, or continue to feel angry or hostile about what happened to them. Too many of these people stay in depression too long."