• Courtney Kirschaum

The dangers of doing this alone

Key West in September is usually sunny, humid as all get out, and if you’re lucky, breezy. In September of 2013, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida – Key West to be precise - without a shark cage.  On that day, the news was full of pictures of Nyad standing in the water just off Smathers Beach in her blue suit and blue swim cap looking impossibly exhausted. At 64, this was not Nyad’s first rodeo.  

She’d tried and failed to complete this swim four times, but had to stop each time due to complications en route – sharks, jellyfish, weather.

On one attempt, she even had an activity-induced asthma attack - something that had never happened to her before.  When asked why she kept pursuing the goal, she said,

"Because I'd like to prove to the other 60 year-olds that it is never too late to start your dreams."

A phantom menace most people encounter at some point or another is the idea that, “My best days are behind me.” Working with job seekers and people at a professional crossroads, I don’t hear this as much as see the response to it. Instead of focusing on the next move that will get results and move you ahead, it's alarming how many get sucked into the the eddy of, “it’s just not in the cards.” “Maybe I’m not as good as I thought I was.” “I’ve lost my mojo and I’m too old to get it back.” "I'll take anything, I just want this to be over!" And other BS stories you may give in to telling yourself that erode confidence and drown inspiration. 

Pummeled by that mindset, when the offer comes (and one always does, sooner or later) you don’t want to negotiate because you’ve gotten sucked into the vortex and will accept any offer to get out. 

Accepting a too low-level or too little pay job becomes the port in the storm.  And a lot of energy is invested in justifying this move. Valuable time goes into nursing alleged wounds, railing at the injustice of the "broken hiring process" or writing lengthy diatribes about how cruel and wrong it is for people to “ghost" candidates.   All massive wastes of time and energy.  And it's easily preventable by making one strategic change.

Here’s the tiny (but really not tiny) detail most folks don’t see and don’t think about, yet you won't be shocked or even surprised when I point it out. 

When Nyad swam up to the beach in Key West, she was the sole focus of the effort.  A huge crowd gathered around to cheer her. The news all over the world was focused on her. Making it easy to ignore an important truth and an even more important strategy. Nyad did not swim alone. I mean she did, of course, but she didn't.

In 2011 Nyad said,  "It's a large operation, like an expedition. We've got about 25 people, navigators, managers, boat crew, weather routers, medical people, shark experts, you name it.”

Nyad estimated the cost of her "expedition" at about $500,000. Most folks, maybe even you, job hunt and manage your career completely alone. 

Yet, you probably aren't surprised to learn Nyad had a team of people and a considerable amount invested in her triumph.

  So, on some level, you already know people who score big success don't go it alone, and if they do, they don't go very far.

That’s why I created Job Hunt School Having a team around you makes all the difference in the world.  Courtney

P.S. If you like this, please feel free to share it and leave a comment!


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