Finding career inspiration with David Sedaris

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imageContributing blogger John Long is a professional career coach and consultant in Atlanta who founded Two Roads Resources. He blogs at Atlanta Career Coach.

Q: I’ve been involved in a job search for a while and I’m starting to feel that I’ve hit a rut. What can I do to combat this feeling and get back on track?

A: It’s natural to experience highs and lows in a job search. When you hit a slump, try not to berate yourself or get caught up in “what ifs” and “could haves.” What’s is critical is the ability to generate creative energy to motivate and inspire yourself out of any lows.

Take a short break from your search. Find simple ways to change your weekly routine. Get out of the house, engage with people in your network and discover fresh surroundings, people and activities. You never know where inspiration might strike.

If you need help jump starting your creativity, a simple but often powerful question that I ask clients: “When you walk into a bookstore, what sections most often pique your interest?”

Now take this exercise a few steps further. Adjust the speed of life a bit. Slow things down if you’re feeling stressed or step up the pace to get your heart beating a little faster. Consider spending a few hours at the library, a museum, an historical site, the theater or countless other environments to stimulate your brain.

Maybe you need the jolt of endorphins that comes from a bike ride, a jog, an extra workout at the gym or a simple walk in park with your pooch on a sunny day. Go to a coffee shop and write in your journal, take a co-worker to lunch or invite a friend to join you for dinner as you prepare a new recipe.

imageOver the past several weeks I’ve laughed my way through a performance of “Spamalot” and thoroughly enjoyed an evening of satire with David Sedaris (photo). After both events I found myself humming, smiling and feeling energized.

The upbeat messages embedded in “Spamalot” tunes – “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” “Find Your Grail” and I’m All Alone” (rich with irony) — have resonated with me for weeks. The day after the show I found myself flipping through the program reading cast bios and Googling names to learn more about each actor’s journey.

And my mind wanders down many paths as I attempt to figure out just what color glasses Sedaris peers through as he crafts his stories. This tiny man with a mousey voice and a big gay attitude stood in front of a packed venue and read a few essays while the audience hung on every word. I imagine the obstacles and rejection that Sedaris has shaken his pen at over the years, have served to fuel his craft.

Internet job boards and company career sites will wait, if you decide to step away from the computer for a few more hours each week. Step outside your routine and you may find that a fresh perspective or dose of objectivity can inspire bouts of creative brainstorming.

Creativity tools from MindTools:
“Note to Self” by Samantha O’Shea

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