Episode #91 – The Secret Ingredient to Professional and Career Success

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive search consultant and recruiter Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about the secret ingredient to professional and career success. Stacy, thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. I’m glad to be here today!

Samantha: Stacy, people are always looking for an edge or an advantage in their career. And you say you have one today that will make a difference for them?

Stacy: I do, although I’m sure that it won’t be a big revelation for those in our listening audience. However, I can say without a doubt that it can make a huge difference in a person’s career and also in their life.

This is also an area that people consistently overlook, and they overlook it at their own peril. And I won’t keep our audience in suspense any longer, but the area we’ll be discussing today is confidence.

Samantha: You’re right, that’s something everyone is aware of. What made you devote an entire podcast episode to it?

Stacy: Because I believe it’s that important. Confidence is critical for those Animal Health and Veterinary professionals who want to grow their career and maximize their potential.

Samantha: Okay, where do we start?

Stacy: Well, I’d like to make a couple of distinctions. First of all, there is a difference between confidence and arrogance. Confidence, of course, is good, and arrogance is not.

Being and appearing confident can give you a tremendous advantage in your current position, your job search, and your career. Being and appearing arrogant can be at odds with all three of those things.

The second distinction is that confidence is not just about how you view yourself. It’s also about how other people view you.

Samantha: So this is a branding issue, too?

Stacy: It absolutely is. The number-one rule regarding confidence is that people are intrinsically drawn to confident individuals. They gravitate toward these people naturally, sometimes without even realizing what is happening.

You want to be the kind of person that other people gravitate to. And the more confidence you have and exhibit, the more that you will be that kind of person.

So here’s the bottom line: A hiring manager is more likely to hire a confident person than someone who does not appear to be confident. Remember, perception is reality in many cases, not reality. Even if you are confident, if you don’t appear confident, then another person might believe that you are NOT confident.

Let’s say there are two candidates and they’re both competing for the same job. They’re neck-and-neck in terms of skill and experience, but one appears more confident than the other. Guess which one will get the job offer.

Samantha: The one who appears to be more confident?

Stacy: That’s right!

Samantha: So, Stacy, this is a question that are listeners are probably asking: how does a person become more confident?

Stacy: That’s a great question, Samantha, and one that we’ll answer today. Of course, building confidence is not a one-step process. If it was easy to do, then everyone would be doing it. That’s not the case, of course. Not everyone you meet is or appears confident.

In fact, I have five steps that Animal Health and Veterinary professionals can take in their quest to become more confident. None of these steps are easy, but that should not come as any surprise.

Samantha: I believe that. What’s our first step, Stacy?

Stacy: The first step is to face your fears. Fear is usually the top reason why people are not confident in themselves. When you’re fearful, you’re uncertain, and uncertainty leads to a lack of confidence. There is good news, though.

Samantha: What’s that?

Stacy: The emotion of fear is usually worse than whatever it is you’re fearing. The apprehension of something happening is usually worse than the actual event itself.

This is why it’s important to step out of your comfort zone and do the “scary things.” When you do, you’ll realize there wasn’t as much to fear as you thought. And once you realize that, fear will become less of a factor. With less fear comes more confidence.

Samantha: That makes sense! What’s our second step, Stacy?

Stacy: Our second step is to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I know that seems like an odd thing to say, but bear with me for a moment.

There are a lot of sayings that I like, and one of them is “All growth is painful.” And even if growth isn’t painful, per se, it can be uncomfortable, at the very least. That means if you want to grow, then you must endure uncomfortable feelings and situations.

Samantha: Stacy, do you have some examples of situations such as those?

Stacy: I do. They could include the process of learning a new skill; a challenging conversation with a co-worker, friend, or family member; or taking risks with your current job or your career in general. That last one could include exploring new employment opportunities or changing jobs.

The bottom line is that people who are more comfortable being uncomfortable are more confident. So practice being uncomfortable and practice being used to it.

Samantha: What’s next on our list?

Stacy: Our next step actually has two parts: take ownership and be proactive. Let’s look at these two parts individually.

First, taking ownership means to take ownership of your life. Specifically, it means not blaming other people when things go wrong. When you genuinely take ownership, you’re taking responsibility for what happens to you.

Second, be proactive. Confident people take action, especially in the face of challenging circumstances. Think about it for a second. Can you control what happens to you in your life? You might think that you can, but in actuality, you can not. Not 100% of the time, for sure. However, you CAN control how you react to what happens to you.

Samantha: You mean you can control how you react to the circumstances around you?

Stacy: Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. And that brings us to the fourth step, which is to focus on options and not on circumstances. When you allow negative circumstances to dictate how you feel, then you’re not going to feel nor be confident. On the other hand, confident people do not let negative circumstances bring them down. Instead, they focus on the options that the situation presents, and if possible, they uncover the opportunities that lie within those options.

So whenever you’re faced with what you believe are unfavorable circumstances, ask yourself this question: “What are my options?” That’s because people who focus on options and not on negativity are more confident and more successful.

Samantha: What if there are people around you who can’t do that? What if they focus on the circumstances and are negative all the time?

Stacy: It just so happens that is our fifth step, which is to ignore the negativity of others.

There are two things that can kill confidence. One is fear, which we’ve already discussed. The other is negativity, which if you think about it, is often rooted in fear. As everyone well knows, there is no lack of negativity in the world, including in the workplace. However, just like you can’t let negative circumstances affect your outlook, you can’t let negative people affect you.

Samantha: Stacy, is this one of the reasons there is a lack of truly confident professionals in the marketplace?

Stacy: Yes, it is. As a general rule, both in life and in the marketplace, more people are negative than positive. As a result, there are fewer confident people and more people who are not confident. I encourage our listeners to be the exception to these rules. Be more positive and be more confident!

Samantha: How can a recruiter help someone in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession have more confidence?

Stacy: One of the best ways to become more confident is to be prepared, and gathering information and accumulating knowledge is at the heart of preparation.

A recruiter has knowledge of the best jobs, the best organizations, and the best ways to get hired by those organizations. They have extensive knowledge about many areas that a candidate or a job seeker may not, and the more knowledge that a candidate or job seeker has, the more confident they’ll be.

And more confidence is a great way to give yourself an edge over other Animal Health and Veterinary professionals in the marketplace. Remember, if you’re competing with someone for a job and you and this other person have about the same skills and experience, the person who is and appears more confident will have the advantage.

You want to make sure that YOU are that person.

Samantha: Thank you, Stacy! Once again, this was a lot of great information for our listeners. I’m sure they’ll be able to use this to grow their animal health and veterinary careers.

Stacy: Thank you, Samantha. I look forward to our next podcast!