21 April 2018

Power, Love and Self-Discipline

Power, Love and Self-Discipline


Be bold like these guys. Stick your neck out.

One verse I associate closely with the process of finding a job is “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).” I quote this verse sometimes when I’m encouraging a client to pick up the phone and call someone, or to memorized and repeat before an interview. And this quote by James Conant reminds us all to stick our necks out sometimes.

Paul was writing to encourage a young preacher named Timothy, a young man whom Paul thought of as a son. On one of his missionary trips, Paul left Timothy behind to be in charge of developing churches in the city of Ephesus and the region of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). We think of Timothy as timid, but what he was doing required boldness of an extraordinary kind. For most of us, job search also requires boldness of an extraordinary kind.

One time four clients and I were talking about the positive and negative aspects of introversion and extroversion in job search. Introversion is beneficial only in the first two or three weeks of your campaign – while you are developing your plan, strategy and marketing collateral. Extroversion, of course, is necessary to make contact with the people who can help or hire you.

Our challenge occurs because we have to be our best extroverted self at a time in our life when our confidence has been shaken by the loss of our job, rejection by potential employers, uncertainty about who we are and what we have been designed to do, and a host of other ego-sapping messages. You may have received a message similar to this: “You’re not worth having around our company anymore; now put a smile on your face and tell the world what a valuable employee you are.” How can we be bold when the world is putting us down?

It’s easy to see why we end up in a state of timidity. It’s in our human and sinful nature. Timidity influences us to sit at the computer all day and search for job leads, a process that gets more depressing with each passing day. Timidity tells us that we are not valuable and not wanted. Timidity causes us to withdraw more and more until we are like a turtle sucked into his shell in the middle of a busy highway.

Satan gives us a spirit of timidity; God gives us a spirit of:

Power

Unlimited strength is at our disposal. The power that brought Christ back to life is available to all of us. “But he said to me [Paul], ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Love

Let love your your family motivate you. Love drives out fear as we see in the passage that says God is love. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:16-18)

Self-discipline

One of the toughest jobs in the world is looking for a job. It is hard to face uncertainty, rejection, financial stress, and much more. This passage teaches that God has given us a spirit of self-control or self-mastery. The people who find jobs the quickest are the ones who take a disciplined approach to their job search every day. The people who find jobs the quickest are the ones who take risks and leave their comfort zone. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:13)

The same power, love and self-discipline that were available to Timothy and Paul are available to all of us. All we have to do is claim it, believe it, and act on it.

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where we are strengthened with power, love and self-discipline!

Copyright © 2004-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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    Don’t Lose Heart, Don’t Lose Hope

    hope“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air… but only for one second without hope.” – Hal Lindsey

    Every now and then I get a hint that the positive energy that is so evident at a JobSeekers meeting is a turn-off to some. Some people have a very difficult time embracing hope when life seems hopeless; seeing the new day dawning when they are in their darkest night; expecting a great outcome when all they can see is a train wreck in their rearview mirror. Hanging out with folks who are at odds with your present view of life can be a real downer!

    Some members of JobSeekers who didn’t lose hope.

    A few years ago we had a member named Paul who gave a very rousing testimony about the ups and downs of his job long search. I admired his transparency because all of us have felt the emotions he’s felt, we just wouldn’t describe them in detail to 30+ people! For instance, he said Friday was the only day of the workweek when he knew he’d have to get out of his pajamas and get dressed for work. Even when he was down Paul came to JobSeekers.

    Paul also told us about a rejection letter he received; it said, “After prayerful consideration, we’ve decided to go in a different direction.” Paul really wanted that job; of course he was disappointed. Five minutes later, the phone rang and an offer from another company came in. He accepted. Paul didn’t lose heart, and he didn’t lose hope. He looked for a job even when he didn’t feel like it.

    Another job seeker sent me an email right after she had accepted a new job. She said she had been working a “dead end” job for three months. She told me how discouraged she had been and wrote: “Don’t back down on your encouragement to others! When I would attend the meetings and hear encouraging words from others who had ‘been there,’ I was like, ‘yeah right, but I need a job!’”

    As I reflected on her message, I thought of this verse from Psalm 34:18: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

    Folks, if you are down and out, come to JobSeekers. If you aren’t in the same place as many of the other folks, that’s okay! We want to meet you – and God wants to meet you – right where you are. If you are in a depressed state right now, remember that it is – or it can be – a temporary state, just as it was for these two people. Get the help you need to pull yourself out of the pit of despair. One good place to start is at JobSeekers of PTC on Friday morning. Don’t lose heart, and don’t lose hope. The LORD is close and he will save you. It starts when you turn to him and ask for help.

    The lady who wrote the email found out that God was working for good all along, even though she couldn’t see or feel it. She finished by saying, “It has taken a lot of prayer and patience and a lot of dead-end interviews, but the miracle is that this firm was not advertising for someone, but somehow they found me! Tell me that wasn’t God’s hand in it!”

    In May 2006 I spoke to fellow named Phil, a client and job seeker who’d been having a tough time – he had come close on several opportunities during his search, but couldn’t seem to get one across the finish line. His latest disappointment was that he’d not heard back from the hiring manager about a job he really wanted. We made plans to have lunch and a strategy session the next day. Monday night at 9:15 the manager called and offered him the job, so we celebrated instead. Since then Phil has changed jobs and careers and he’s never been happier.

    Click here for one more example.

    The Psalmist didn’t loose hope.

    I show Psalm 42 to my clients sometimes. The Psalmist is in agony, lamenting the days of old when things were good: “My tears have been my food day and night.” But here’s what I point out: even though his spirit is crushed, he says he will continue to praise God: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” The Psalmist didn’t loose heart, and he didn’t loose hope.

    With Christ, we always have hope, no matter how poorly things are going at the moment.

    You never know how close you are to landing a job – but you’ve got to keep doing the things that lead to success. Come to JobSeekers this week. Keep the faith. Keep trying. Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. Brighter days are ahead.

    See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where God turns despair into hope!

    Copyright © 2004-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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      When Someone Shatters Your Dreams

      When Someone Shatters Your Dreams


      Joseph’s coat of many colors.

      When someone shatters your dreams, make new ones. Joseph is a case in point. Things were going well for him. The favorite son of Jacob, he had his father’s favor far more than any of his 11 brothers. His dad loved him so much he gave him the well-known “coat of many colors.”

      Things were going well for him until he told his brothers about a couple of dreams he had. In one he dreamt that he and his brothers were sheaves of wheat and all the other sheaves bowed down to him. In the other the sun and moon and 11 stars were all bowing to him. His brothers were so angry that they threw him into a pit and left him to die. Right before they left Joseph, a group of Ishmaelites came by. Seizing the opportunity to make a buck, they sold him for 20 pieces of silver instead.

      Joseph’s brothers shattered his dreams, so he made new ones.

      We’ve all had times in our life when things were going well. Then our dreams were shattered. Maybe it was the loss of a job, a home, a loved one, a marriage, or other intimate relationship. For Joseph, it was the loss of his family, his security and his way of life. So he made new dreams.

      The Ishmaelites sold him into slavery in Egypt to serve one of Pharaoh’s officers, Potiphar, the captain of the guard. Joseph won favor there and received promotions to head of household. Things were going well again; Joseph had a good job and a comfortable life. Then his dreams were shattered again. Potiphar’s wife took a liking to Joseph and tried to seduce him. After many unsuccessful attempts, she framed him for attempted rape. Joseph was thrown in jail.

      Potiphar’s wife shattered Joseph’s dreams, so he made new ones.

      He was in jail at least two years. Instead of whining and complaining, he won the favor of the jailer. During this time two other prisoners, who had also worked in Potiphar’s household, told Joseph about dreams they had. Joseph accurately predicted that within three days, Pharaoh would free one prisoner and hang the other.

      Some time later, Pharaoh had a dream. He called all the wise men and magicians he knew of and no one could interpret the dream. The prisoner who had been released told Pharaoh about Joseph. Joseph was called from jail and interpreted the dream to mean that Egypt would have seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh was so impressed he removed Joseph from jail and promoted him to ruler of all of Egypt, second in power only to himself.

      Joseph had a job again. He’d received what might have been two knockout blows in his life so far, and yet he picked himself up off the canvas and made the best of a bad situation. That’s what God wants us to do too; make the most of our bad situations. I’ve received two big blows in my career – in 1992 and 2000 – and in both cases things have turned out better in the new situation than the old. Things are going well for me again.

      Faith-based, God-inspired resilience is the key.

      I want to challenge all of you to make the most of your situation. Be resilient like Joseph. Faith-based, God-inspired resilience is the key. I want you to be able to look back one day and say you like your new job better than the previous one; or that you like your new life better than the old one.

      The story of Joseph concludes with some sweet revenge and a reunion with his family. The seven-year famine struck Israel too, and 10 of his brothers came to Egypt to buy grain. When they appeared before Joseph, they didn’t recognize him. He spoke through an interpreter to complete his disguise. He put them through all kinds of misery until all 11 brothers threw themselves on the ground before Joseph and begged for mercy. At that point Joseph revealed his true identity and the whole family, about 70 people in all, were reunited in Egypt and spared from the famine.

      That brings me to my last point. Joseph didn’t get even; he got ahead. He could have gotten even with his brothers by throwing them in jail and leaving them there; or he could have sold them into slavery as they had done to him. Instead he chose the high road. He taught them a lesson in humility and then used his power to make things better for everyone.

      So, instead of thinking about getting even with your former employer, and instead of dwelling on whatever bitterness, rage or anger you may have, look for a job or career that is pleasing to God, good for your family, and rewarding for you.

      “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
      – Ephesians 4:31 & 32

      See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we make new dreams!

      Copyright © 2004-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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        The Worst Decision Ever

        worst decision ever


        Make the best decision ever.

        Who made the worst decision ever? There’s a link between this week’s message and the community-wide Good Friday Service, which is held annually here in PTC.

        Seven pastors and priests from our community will preach a 10-12 minute sermon on one of the seven last words (sentences actually) that Christ spoke while he hung on the cross.

        The 37th annual service with be at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Peachtree City at 12 noon.

        Here are the seven last words of Christ:

        1. “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
        2. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
        3. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27)
        4. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
        5. Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)
        6. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
        7. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)

        Friends, I urge you to make time to attend this meaningful service. If you are reading this and are in transition, you won’t even have to take time off work!

        – – – – – – –

        This week’s message about the worst decision ever made has to do with the two criminals who were crucified on either side of Jesus; here’s the story as told in the 23rd chapter of Luke:

        One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

        But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

        Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

        The first criminal made the worst decision ever.

        He had less than six hours to live. He knew it, and there was nothing he could do about it. He was hanging on a cross next to the Lord of all Creation and the Light of the World. Whether he decided yes or no, it was not going to change his circumstance or the length of his life here on earth one iota, but it would determine where he spent eternity. The man was about to die and he rejected Christ!

        Here’s an excerpt from “Cries from the Cross” by Erwin W. Lutzer:

        Both thieves had an equal opportunity. Both heard the words of Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them.’ Both knew that Jesus was ridiculed for claiming that He was King of the Jews. Both heard the witness of Jesus’ enemies, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One’ (Luke 23:35). And yet these thieves will be apart forever, each in his own separate destiny. Even as you read these words, one is in the presence of Jesus, the other in a place of isolation, grief and horror. What separated them was not the degree of their wickedness nor their distance from Christ; they are separated because one called on Christ for help and the other derided him.

        Each of the robbers saw and heard the same things, but they made a different decision. Approximately 1984 years later they are experiencing the consequences of their decision. Ten thousand years from now they will still be experiencing those same consequences.

        What struck me is that here in south metro Atlanta, we all have the same data (The Good News) and yet we have made different decisions about our relationship with Christ. Some have chosen Christ as their Savior and Lord – others have not, even though they attend church regularly. I’ve heard that only 20% of the members in a typical American congregation are truly Christians; that is, they have made Christ their Savior and Lord.

        You can make the best decision ever.

        My concern is that a typical JobSeekers meeting must be the same way. Most or all of us would say we are Christian, yet when judgment day comes, 80% of us may be headed in the wrong direction. Where are you in your relationship with Christ? If you haven’t made the commitment or you aren’t sure, I urge you to commit your heart and your life to Christ. If you are a believer, I urge you to pray that the Good News will convict others during this Holy Week.

        Where you will spend eternity is not the only reason to choose Christ. I’ve found that having Christ’s presence in my life is the key to being joyful, no matter what my circumstance. Jesus said good and bad things happen to everyone: “He [God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45).” We all face difficult times, why not have Christ there to lead you through them?

        I admit that I had to look this up; here’s what you need to do:

        A four-step salvation prayer.

        1. Acknowledge in your heart that Jesus is Lord.
        2. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.
        3. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and was raised three days later.
        4. Repent of your sins and get baptized in the name of Jesus.

        To learn more, click here.

        Friends, one of the times in our lives that we are most receptive to the Good News of Christ is when we are looking for a job and feel we are running out of options. Don’t make Christ your last option; make him your first choice. Lutz cites his mentor Warren Wiersbe as saying that the thief didn’t accept Christ at his last opportunity, but more likely at his first opportunity because he probably had never encountered Jesus before. Whether it’s your first or last encounter – or somewhere in between – today is the day and now is the time to believe in Christ.

        Lutz concludes the chapter with this: “The thief’s forgiveness reminds us that there is more grace in God’s heart than sin in our past. We, like he, can also receive a welcome in the life beyond if we transfer our trust to the One who holds the key to the gates of paradise.”

        See you Friday at JobSeekers – where we rejoice in the Risen Christ.

        Copyright © 2006-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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          How to Ride the Emotional Roller Coaster

          One of my clients recently asked me about the emotional roller coaster of job search. I told him and my other two clients who were in that day that when I got into the career management business 25 years ago, I was taught that job seekers would have good days and bad days. This has not been my experience. What I’ve learned when I’ve been in the midst of the most difficult times in my life is that I have good minutes and bad minutes; joy one moment and despair the next. They concurred.

          When my kids and I rode eight roller coasters at Six Flags during Spring break a few years ago, I saw more clearly than ever why roller coasters are such a great metaphor for the ups and downs of job search (and for life in general). There are a lot of ups and downs, stops and starts, twists and turns, light and dark. Here are the eight roller coasters we rode:

          1. Batman: The Ride – Soar like a bat out of Hades, through, above – and even underneath – Gotham City, suspended from the rails of one of the most innovative coasters of all time.
          2. Superman: Ultimate Flight – Face down your fear – face first – as you fly above Georgia at super speed – just like the man of steel, Superman.
          3. Georgia Cyclone – Fasten your seat belts. You’re in for some heavy turbulence aboard Georgia’s one-and-only Cyclone – a wooden coaster for riders with nerves of steel.
          4. Mind Bender – Go on a thrill bender – let North America’s original three-loop coaster blow your mind.
          5. Ninja – The thrills are awesome, but you won’t see them coming till it’s too late on Ninja –the black belt of all steel coasters.
          6. The Georgia Scorcher – Put your feet to the fire on The Georgia Scorcher – one of the Southeast’s tallest and fastest stand-up roller coasters.
          7. The Great American Scream Machine – There’s nothing like a wooden coaster for bone-jangling jitters and the Scream Machine is a living legend – once the tallest coaster in the world.
          8. Goliath – It’s big, it’s mean, and it wants to take you for a ride. Meet Goliath—the gigantic steel coaster the other rides call “Sir.” Top speed: 70 miles per hour. Elevation: over 20 stories tall. [They didn’t publish the G-forces on this ride, but another (Ninja) hits four G’s, so I assume this one is greater.]

          We went on Goliath first. I remember hitting the bottom of the first curve and realizing that my spine doesn’t enjoy the G-forces quite like it used to. Prior to that, I thought of roller coasters as more of an up-and-down event. Now I think of loop-the-loops, inversions and other disorienting experiences – sort of like job search.

          On Superman, for instance, you are suspended face down looking at the ground to start. Click here to see what I’m talking about. (Warning: don’t get bogged down surfing this site, like I’m prone to do.) When the ride ended they had a mechanical problem, and we spent about 15 minutes staring at a red metal floor. It was uncomfortable and boring – sort of like job search sometimes.

          Many years ago I learned about, and then taught, the grief cycle to my classes. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross found that people go through five stages of grief when they learn of their impending death. Job search and other life changes follow a similar pattern. They are:

          1. Denial. “No, not me! I can’t believe this is happening to me!”
          2. Anger. “Why me? How dare you do this to me!”
          3. Bargaining. “If I do this good deed, maybe I’ll find a job within a week.”
          4. Depression. “It really has happened. I can’t bear going through this.”
          5. Acceptance. “I don’t want to fight this anymore. I’m ready to move on.”

          M. Scott Peck says we go through similar stages every time we’re about to grow in psychological or spiritual maturity. So there’s the good news. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

          With all this in mind, here are some tips for riding the emotional roller coaster:

          1. Train for the event. People with heart problems, bad backs and expectant mothers shouldn’t ride roller coasters. Since job search is more of a mental and emotional battle than a physical one; make sure you do the things that help you perform at your best. Diet, rest and exercise form the three-legged stool of good health and peak performance. I recommend “Body by God” by Dr. Ben Lerner. Lerner offers a comprehensive plan for getting in touch with our bodies in four areas: nutrition, exercise, stress management and time management.
          2. Pull the safety device down. It’s going to be a wild ride; you can count on that. Ephesians 6:10-12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Job search is one of the toughest spiritual battles you will ever face, so put on the full armor of God.
          3. Keep your arms inside. Listen to the advice of experts. We know what works, and we know what can harm you. Don’t panic when several networking efforts appear to produce no fruit. If you don’t heed our advice and you surf the net for the majority of your day instead, you could lose an arm and a leg.
          4. Don’t jump out. The worst thing you could do would be to jump off a speeding roller coaster. Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Giving up will only make the problem worse.
          5. Scream. Scream if you have to. Better yet, write in a journal. It’s a way of communicating with God; it’s great therapy, and it’s free. Find a few people you can confide in. (I’m thankful for my advisors, they hear from me often.) Get professional help if necessary.
          6. Breathe deeply. On my second time on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney MGM Studios, I tried to keep my heart rate as close to normal as possible. I did this by taking deep relaxing breaths throughout. This is what wellness instructors teach and what good athletes do. Find something that relaxes you. This not only smoothes out the bumps, it will improve your performance when it counts.
          7. Enjoy some other attractions. Roller coasters may not by your thing. True, you are probably not on the roller coaster by choice. Find some attractions you do like. Ride them in between. Succeed at something; that way you can claim some victories along the way. For example, “I didn’t have much luck with my search this week, but the Adobe Illustrator class I completed will position me for some opportunities that I am really interested in.”

          Here’s one more similarity between a real roller coaster and the emotional roller coaster of job search: the roller coaster will arrive safely in the end. And so will you, my friend.

          Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s website used to have 12 tips for dealing with grief and bereavement. I couldn’t help but notice that the first tip is to attend support groups in your area.

          Sometimes I speak to someone who is too discouraged to come to JobSeekers on Friday. All of us on the Ship’s Crew have had times in our lives when we were too discouraged to get out of bed, or to go somewhere we didn’t want to go, even though we knew it would do us some good. We can empathize. Get out of bed anyway. Come to JobSeekers anyway. Get that big stone, which is full of inertia, rolling again.

          We look forward to seeing Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we hang on tight during this wild, wild ride!

          Copyright © 2006-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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            How St. Patrick Saved Ireland

            St. Patrick


            St. Patrick

            St. Patrick’s day is a national holiday as far as I’m concerned! Here’s the story of how St. Patrick saved Ireland.

            St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. He was the missionary to Ireland much the same as St. Paul was the missionary to the gentiles in the northern Mediterranean. He was fulfilling God’s mission for his life, just as God wants all of us to do. I noticed that he had a career change much the same we are experiencing. Listen to the Lord’s leading in your life, especially during this time of transition, just as St. Patrick did.

            St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D.

            One key event in his early life in Britain happened at the age of 16. Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. During this time, he worked as a shepherd (like David), outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, and became a devout Christian. It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.

            After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice – which he believed to be God’s – spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo to the Irish coast.

            After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation – an angel in a dream telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission – to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.

            Christianity did not become the national faith of Ireland in Patrick’s lifetime. He ministered there for 30 years. He is credited with founding hundreds of churches and converting thousands of people to our faith. Today 93% of the Republic of Ireland’s population is Catholic.

            # # #

            My dad has this well-known Irish blessing on the back of his business cards:

            Irish Blessing

            May the road rise to meet you.
            May the wind be always at your back.
            May the sun shine warm upon your face,
            May the rain fall softly upon your fields.
            And until we meet again,
            May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

            See you this week at JobSeekers – the place where we receive Irish blessings every week.

            Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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              How to Make Your Own Luck

               

              Want to know how to make your own luck? Yes, St. Patrick’s Day is almost here and I’m thinking about the luck of the Irish. In job search, luck has a lot less to do with happenstance, and a whole lot more to do with the choices you make.

              Chuck Hodges, former baseball player and now pastor of Athens First United Methodist, shared one of his life’s lessons during a sermon a few years ago: “The will to prepare is more important than the will to win; because when the athletes step onto the field, everyone has the will to win.”

              As I write this, in my mind’s eye I see Lynn Swann making that amazing catch in the 1980 Super Bowl, David Justice hitting a solo home run and scoring the game’s only run as the Braves won the 1995 World Series, Michael Jordan winning the 1998 NBA championship with his last shot in the last seconds of the last game of his career (we thought it was his last game; it was his last game as a Chicago Bull), and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Santonio Holmes making an amazing catch in the back corner of the end zone to win the Super Bowl following the 2008 season.

              Every athlete in each of those games had approximately the same desire to win as every other athlete on the field or court. They didn’t make great plays simply because they wanted to make great plays. What set Swann, Justice and Jordan apart was not just their level of performance in the most critical moment of a championship game; what set them apart took place months or even years earlier. The best athletes in the world are the ones who combine their God-given talents with relentless practice and a laser-like focus. For example, Tiger Woods was the best golfer in the world – until he lost his focus and cut back on his practice time.

              Mickey Mantle, by his own admission, was the antithesis of a Lynn Swan or a Tiger Woods. He had great God-given talents but a totally different work ethic. In an interview just before he died, he commented that he had done less with his God-given athletic talents than perhaps any other athlete of note. He said if he had worked and practiced, i.e. “prepared himself,” he might have been the greatest ball player of all time instead of just a really good ball player. He said his lack of preparation was the opposite of Ted Williams’ all consuming preparation. He went on to say he had let himself, his family, his fans and God down by not making better use of his talents. (Thanks to Kevin Cheney for this information.)

              How to Make Your Own Luck

              I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to be prepared before you go into an interview. Five things that come to mind:

              1. Plan what you are going to say in response to five very predictable interview questions.
              2. Practice giving those answers in a clear, concise and powerful way.
              3. Be prepared with several questions that you’ve developed specifically for them.
              4. Know the organization’s business; their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).
              5. Know who’s going to be interviewing you and speak to their needs and concerns.

              I used to have one of my favorite quotes on the back of my business card: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The quote is attributed to the Roman philosopher and historian Seneca, who was a contemporary of the apostle Paul. Maybe they met one another and talked about the great athletes of their day during Paul’s house arrest in Rome around A.D. 60.

              Winning a job is not just a matter of desire; because all the candidates who enter the interview room have roughly the same will to win. The question is: “Are you thoroughly prepared to win the job you want?” Your competition is not using a homemade résumé and off-the-cuff responses; are you?

              One of my clients sent this to me a while back:

              If it seems a bit depressing that the most important thing you can do to improve performance is not fun, take consolation in this fact: It must be so. If the activities that lead to greatness were easy and fun, then everyone would do them and they would not distinguish the best from the rest. The reality that deliberate practice is hard can even be seen as good news. It means that most people won’t do it. So your willingness to do it will distinguish you from the rest.

              Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, p. 72

              It’s not the best-qualified candidates who win the jobs; it’s the ones who are the best prepared. Get prepared. Win the job.

              Some people tell me they don’t believe in luck; well I do. I believe we create our own luck by the choices we make. The best choice you can make in your life is to choose Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The best choice you can make in your job search is to get thoroughly prepared. You have a choice today; you can take your chances, or you can make your own luck. Be proactive. Make your own luck.

              – Dave O’Farrell

              Copyright © 2005-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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                Changing Careers? Even Jesus Changed Careers

                Messy-Spirituality


                May you experience God’s grace in the midst of your brokenness.

                Our topic at JobSeekers recently was “Changing Careers.” Even Jesus changed careers.

                When I teach this topic, I ask members of the audience to raise their hands if they are thinking of making a change in their function or industry (or both) during this transition. One-half to two-thirds of the audience answer in the affirmative.

                Jesus changed from being a carpenter to being a teacher, rabbi, healer, miracle-worker and Savior. After he changed careers he faced many challenges. Almost everywhere he went he was met with a warm reception only to be rejected by the establishment soon thereafter. Sometimes he was almost killed.

                Jesus narrowly escapes death.

                According to Luke 4:14-30, the first attempt on Jesus’ life was made very early in his public ministry. Verse 29 says, “They [the men in his hometown synagogue] got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.” Matthew and Mark also mention that Jesus was rejected in his hometown on another occasion (Matthew 13:53-58 and Mark 6:1-6).

                John says there were three unsuccessful attempts on Jesus’ life. The Gospel of John mentions the first attempt in 5:18, “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” In verse 8:59 John says, “At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.” And in 10:31-33 he says, “Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.'”

                Jesus kept his wits to stay alive and fulfill his mission. Like William Wallace in Braveheart, he had to keep his wits about him just to stay alive. Yes, in the world’s eyes Jesus faced some serious challenges in his career, but he stayed focused on his goal. His mission here on earth was clear: to overthrow the corrupt power structure of the Jews, to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy, and to offer himself as a perfect sacrifice for all mankind so that whoever believes in him will have eternal life.

                Jesus has empathy for us because he faced death and many other rejections throughout his ministry.

                Messy spirituality.

                A while back I heard a devotional that brought this point home. The devotional centered on a story in “Messy Spirituality,” by Michael Yaconelli (p. 36). It’s about a young boy who talked his mom into giving him an advance on his allowance so he could buy a puppy he’d seen at a nearby pet store. Here’s the excerpt:

                The little boy went back to the pet shop to buy his new puppy. After determining that the boy had enough money, the pet shop owner brought him to the front window to choose his puppy. The young boy said, “I’ll take the little one in the corner.”

                “Oh no,” said the pet shop owner, “not that one; he’s crippled. Notice how he just sits there; something is wrong with one of his legs, so he can’t run and play like the rest of the puppies. Choose another one.”

                Without saying a word, the boy reached down and lifted his pant leg to expose a chrome leg brace to the owner. “No,” he said firmly, “I’ll take the puppy in the corner.”

                It’s amazing how few of us believe in the unqualified grace of God. Many of us believe that God loves us long as we’re free of sin and whole. But like the boy and the dog, what most qualifies us to be chosen by Jesus is our crippledness.

                Like the boy and the dog, Christ has empathy for our situation because he has experienced rejection – and much worse. As the boy loved the dog, Jesus loves us because we are broken. God in his grace looks down on us and says, “That’s why you need me; I’ve sent hope and help and healing – and a support network to provide for your needs as you go through this transition in your career.”

                See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we experience God’s grace in the midst of our brokenness!

                Copyright © 2004-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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                  The Only Bible Some People Will Ever Read

                  The only bible some people will ever read


                  Preach the gospel all the time. If necessary, use words.

                  Have you ever thought about the fact that your life is the only bible some people will ever read? Wow. I think my life-as-the-bible is missing a few books, chapters and pages!

                  Sometimes when I say the closing prayer at JobSeekers, I pray that we will be good examples of hope and faith in God. I acknowledge that job search is often harder on our families than it is on us. I ask God to surround our loved ones with His love and protection. I pray that “when they look into our eyes, they will see your face.”

                  What better witness can there be than to hold fast to hope, faith and love when we are going through a difficult time? I see it frequently when clients interact in my office. Last week I read two emails about faith in action. Click here to read another one. I see faith in action each week at JobSeekers and at O’Farrell Career Management.

                  The truth is that we never know when someone is watching us to see if we behave in a Christ-like manner. Here’s a great illustration:

                  Several years ago a preacher moved to a town near Houston. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.

                  As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, “You better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.” Then he thought, “Oh, forget it, it’s only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company already gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from God and keep quiet.”

                  When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, “Here, you gave me too much change.”

                  The driver, with a smile, replied, “Aren’t you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change.”

                  When the preacher stepped off the bus, he grabbed the nearest light pole, and held on, and said, “O God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.”

                  Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read.

                  Steve Dodson, pastor of Peachtree City UMC, uses a well-known quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel all the time, and, if necessary, use words.” It reminds me of the old saying, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear a sermon any day.”

                  We have a choice to make when we are in the midst of a storm. Make the right choice. Be a good sermon – and a powerful witness – today and every day.

                  “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” – James 4:8-10

                  See you this Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we draw near to God and lift one another up!

                  Copyright © 2004-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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                    Love and Respect for Valentine’s Day

                    Love and Respect


                    “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33

                    Job loss affects every marriage. On this Valentine’s Day, I hope and expect you will show some love and respect to your spouse. Sometimes job search is tougher on them than it is on the job seeker.

                    I’ve learned from personal experience, and from working with folks like you, that job search is very tough on marriages and other relationships. Sometimes job search causes problems in a relationship; usually it simply reveals problems that are already there.

                    For Valentine’s Day, I recommend you buy and begin reading Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It’s the best book I’ve ever read on strengthening marriage relationships. Eggerichs says these principles will make a good marriage even better, and that they have brought many other marriages back from the brink of divorce. I wish I’d read it in 1993; the only problem is that it wasn’t published until 2003, the same year my divorce was finalized.

                    Eggerichs was the senior pastor at a church in Lansing, Michigan before devoting himself full-time to building healthy marriages. You may have already guessed that the key verse throughout the book is Ephesians 5:33, which says, “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” To learn more, click here.

                    The subtitle is “The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs.” Part one is about the “Crazy Cycle,” in which says Eggerichs, “Without love, she reacts. Without respect, he reacts.” My perspective is that it is a crazy spiral – and a downward spiral at that. Eggerichs uses testimonials to show that the principles he teaches really work – just like we use testimonials to validate the principles we teach at JobSeekers. The book is full of people writing about their “ah ha” moments where someone was finally able to see why what he or she was doing was tearing the relationship apart seam by seam.

                    Emerson writes, “You may remember how the Beatles sang, ‘All you need is love.’ I absolutely disagree with that conclusion. Five out of 10 marriages today are ending in divorce because love alone is not enough. Yes, love is vital, especially for the wife, but what we have missed is the husband’s need for respect. This love and respect message is about how the wife can fulfill her need to be loved by giving her husband what he needs – respect. And the husband can fulfill his need to be respected by giving his wife what she needs – love. Does this always work? No. But if one is married to a person of good will, I would bet the farm that it would work!” (This is from the website.)

                    If you are reading this message and thinking your spouse needs to read the book first, there is plenty of blame to go around. No, you both need to read the book. Everyone needs to read it. A Christian bookstore chain agrees with me. Love & Respect was selected as the 2007 Book of the Year by Family Christian Stores.

                    I’ve recommended this book to some of you who’ve told me your marriage is struggling. Weeks later I’ve asked if you bought the book. Some of you have not. You don’t have to answer to me, but you do have to answer to your spouse and to a higher authority. What are you going to say to God when he asks you if you did everything you could to save your marriage?

                    And to the spouses of JobSeekers I say: lift up your spouse who is in transition. Praise him or her. Tell him you are proud of him. Tell her you believe in her. Offer to help in whatever way you can. Know your spouse’s position objective (job title and three to five target companies) and network for him or her.

                    Satan loves to attack us on multiple fronts at the same time. He wants to put you on opposite sides of the tennis net – each one trying to defeat the other. Get on the same side of the net. You’re playing doubles against a formidable foe, but you can serve aces with God on your side.

                    My prayer is that this time of transition will not only be a time of personal and spiritual growth, but also a time of healing and growth in your marriage.

                    See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where we heal and grow in the name of the Lord.

                    Copyright © 2007-2018 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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