21 March 2018

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


      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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            Even Jesus Had an A-Team


            The A-Team aired from 1983 to 1987.

            Our topic at JobSeekers a couple of weeks ago was, “Who’s On Your A-Team?” The “A” stands for “advisory,” as in, “Who’s On Your Advisory Team?” I can’t think of a successful person who doesn’t have an advisory team. Even Jesus had an A-team.

            The president of the U.S. has a cabinet. The president of a company has a board of directors. The manager of a baseball team has a coaching staff. Lance Armstrong had a team of scientists, engineers, designers, mechanics, trainers, sponsors, cycling teammates — and, it turns out, doping specialists.  🙂 When he won the Tour de France for the seventh straight time, we didn’t say, “Lance Armstrong and his team won the race,” we said, “Lance Armstrong won.”

            Job search, and most any endeavor in life, requires the use of an effective team to achieve the best results. The pastor at your church has an A-team.

            Even Jesus had an A-team.

            After Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days in the wilderness, the first thing he did was go to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee and recruit some people to help him accomplish his mission here on earth. Jesus built an advisory team. Jesus’ first four recruits were two pairs of brothers, Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, and James and John. In all, he recruited 12 disciples, who he also called apostles. In the meeting, I usually show a diagram and advise everyone to surround themselves with three particularly close advisors. Jesus did the same thing: Peter, James and John were his three closest advisors.

            The pastor at my church preached a sermon one time entitled, “Even Jesus was a Teammate.” His sermon could have been the lesson at JobSeekers one Friday. Chuck said, “Even the ultimate leader assembled a team because ‘great missions require great teams.'” If you are going to get the best possible result from your job search, surround yourself with savvy, supportive and spiritual people to help you along the way. Chuck pointed out that people who we think of for their great individual achievements had strong teams behind them; people like Daniel Boone, Charles Lindberg and Albert Einstein.

            I don’t think we fully realize what we lose when we leave a traditional job; it’s a lot more than income. Whether you are an entry-level employee, a salesperson in a remote territory, or a CEO, you lose the team that supports you. For instance, there is no one to give you an “orientation session” on your first day of unemployment. There’s no one to train you or to give you work to do; likewise, there’s no one to delegate work to. There’s no one to hold you accountable (BTW, A-Team could also stand for accountability team). There are no metrics. There’s no task force, no white boards, no brainstorming sessions. There is no one, that is, unless you make it happen – unless you build your own advisory team.

            This is one reason why companies retain the services of outplacement consultants. (Forgive me for moment while I put in a shameless plug for what I do for a living.) We add structure, expertise and accountability to an otherwise self-directed project that is of utmost importance. We help people protect their finances, their health, their relationships and their futures. However, I notice that clients who rely only on me tend to take longer to find a new job than clients who also build a team with several advisors.

            Here are three key points to keep in mind as you build and use your advisory team:

            1. Pray for God to place the right people in your life.

            Chances are He already has; if you ask, He will also place more people in your life to fill any gaps. Ask for discernment to choose the right people. In January 2005, for example, God placed Bob King in my life. Because he had been President and CEO of the Georgia Hospitality & Travel Association, and in leadership roles in other nonprofits, he was instrumental in helping JobSeekers achieve our tax-exempt nonprofit status. We couldn’t have done it without him. I met Bob less than 24 hours after JB Kirk (one of my three key advisors) said we needed someone to lead us through the process.

            2. Aim for an honest exchange of information.

            When you build your team, ask them to give you honest (but not brutal) feedback. Likewise, with your three closest advisors, disclose the unvarnished truth of your situation; threats to your finances, your health, your marriage or other relationships; pain from the loss of your job, fears that hold you back, and frustration about how difficult finding a job really is. Not too long ago I gave someone some honest feedback; I told him that he needed to discharge his anger before he moved forward in his job search.

            3. Meet with your A-team as a group.

            Your advisory team is more than just friends who give you a word of encouragement and a pat on the back. Friends may not ask you the penetrating questions or reveal great insights without your help. In order for this to be effective, you have to drive the process. You are responsible for creating the right environment and drawing them out.

            When possible, get three or four advisors together for a brainstorming session, you could accomplish more in one hour with three advisors than you could by meeting with each of them individually for one hour each. I see the power of a small team every time I do a workshop because I usually limit the size of the workshop to only three people. It’s so powerful that I prefer my clients to work in the small group setting in addition to the one-on-one time with me.

            Build your team.

            During the JobSeekers meeting I challenged you to recruit your advisory team, especially your three closest advisors. Build a balanced, multidisciplinary team. Team members may include: a career coach, another job seeker, a spiritual advisor, someone who knows your industry very well, someone who understands your profession, an association leader, someone with a knack for marketing and sales, a recruiter, an HR professional, an attorney, a CPA, and a financial advisor. Who’s on your A-team?

            As I wrap up for today, I leave you with three relevant quotes:

            “I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.” – Woodrow Wilson

            “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12

            “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15.22

            Use all the brains you can borrow. Don’t let yourself be overpowered; weave a strong cord. Seek wise counsel, and you will succeed. My sincere prayer is that will not only hear, but that you will act upon this advice. May God bless you all!

            See you Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we hear and respond to God’s word!

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

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              Belichick Fired!


              Bill Belichick

              With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, I wondered how many of you know that Bill Belichick was fired after five seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Since then, he’s won five Super Bowls. He will undoubtedly be a first-ballot entry into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame.

              Sports reporters and analysts were ready to write Belichick’s obituary after the 1995 season. After five years as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, his record was a paltry 37-45; that’s a 45.1% winning ratio. In 1994, Belichick’s fourth season, the Browns were 11-5 and made the playoffs. When they stumbled to a 5-11 record in the following year, he was fired.

              Belichick didn’t give up; instead he went back to work under his tutor, Bill Parcels, under whom he’d previously coached for eight seasons with the New York Giants. Paul Katzeff wrote in Investor’s Business Daily, “Rather than mope about his lesser position, he worked to improve on past weaknesses. He studied successful coaches to glean their secrets. Then he broke down what he learned into concrete actions: He delegated. He emphasized character. He stretched his creativity.” He got a second chance, and earned a place in football history, after Robert Kraft hired him as head coach of the Patriots in 2000.

              ESPN has a “30 for 30” documentary beginning Thursday 2/1/2018 about these to men called “The Two Bills.” For more info, click here.

              Since becoming head coach of the New England Patriots, Belichick has led the Patriots to 15 AFC East division titles, 12 appearances in the AFC Championship Game, and eight Super Bowl appearances. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007, and 2010 seasons.

              Like him or not, Bill Belichick is now considered one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time.

              Persevere in the face of adversity.

              There’s an obvious connection between what happened to him, and how he resurrected his career, and what has happened to many of you reading who are reading this message. Just because you are let go by one company doesn’t mean you can’t be successful in the same role in another company.

              Friends, being let go by one organization can lead to much greater things – if you do the right things: seek God’s will, trust Him, keep a positive attitude, prepare for success, and work hard on high payoff activities. Like Belichick, no successful person has ever avoided rejection and setbacks; instead, he or she has persevered in the face of adversity. You can too.

              Jesus rejected at Nazareth.

              Jesus faced rejection far worse than Belichick. In fact, he faced rejection and even death from the earliest days of his public ministry. After John baptized him in the Jordan River, he went east into the desert where Satan tempted him for 40 days. According to Luke’s account, from there he headed home to Nazareth. He ticked off some folks at his hometown synagogue when he said he was the Messiah, and that they would reject him. He compared himself to Elijah and Elisha, who, after being rejected by the Israelites, ministered to Gentiles instead.

              Jesus’ friends were so angry about his “blasphemy” they took him to a nearby cliff, intending to throw him off and kill him. Jesus somehow managed to get away. The first attempt on Jesus’ life was made shortly after he started his public ministry. He faced rejection and prevailed. With his help, we can too.

              Here’s the story from Luke 4:14-30:

              Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

              He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

              Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

              All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

              Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'”

              “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed–only Naaman the Syrian.”

              All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They 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. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

               Go prove ’em wrong.

              The rejection we face as job seekers, and Bill Belichick faced as a head coach in the NFL, is minor compared to what Jesus faced. When a company lets you go, when an organization turns you down, when the HR department refuses to call you back – remember that Christ has empathy for you because he was rejected too. My prayer is that you will feel his presence, and be empowered to move forward in your job campaign.

              Be like Bill Belichick; go prove ’em wrong.

              See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where we prevail in the face of adversity, setbacks and rejection!

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

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                Five Principles of Job Search Success

                job search successA few years ago a client said, “I want to find a job so I don’t have to work so hard!” I applauded her for realizing a simple truth. She applied the five principles of job search success and found a new position in the minimum amount of time. As a result of her hard work, she accepted a great position here in Peachtree City three months after she left her last position. She’s done well in her career since then.

                One of my former colleagues liked to say, “Finding a job is a full-time job – with deferred compensation!” The project you are working on right now will have a payday at the end. How well you manage your project will determine your pay. Here’s the point: finding a job is hard work; make sure that the hard work you do is focused on results, not on activity. That means doing lots of networking (results) vs. responding to online ads (activity). Either one can tire you out. Use your energy to your best advantage.

                God expects you to work hard. You will earn your pay. Consider the words of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:10a, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

                With all this in mind, I’ve been thinking of people I’ve spoken to recently who are working hard without success. I offer the following five recommendations to them and to all of you:

                1. Avoid insanity. I think all of us are familiar with Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. My question is: “If job boards aren’t working for you, why do you keep looking at them for hours and hours every day?” The same is true for your résumé, your cover letters, your position objective, your target companies, your interview responses, etc. If any of these aren’t working for you, if you’ve been looking without success, change your approach.
                2. Pray specifically. Try this: instead of praying, “Lord I need a job now. I pray that I’ll have one by the end of next week.” Pray something like this: “Lord put people and resources in my life to show me where I am and where you want me to be; and help me map out a strategy for getting there.” Imagine a farmer who prays on a spring morning, “Lord I need some corn now. I pray that when I go into the fields today the corn will be ripe for picking.” Then when he goes into the fields he exclaims, “Prayer isn’t working! I don’t see any corn!” If he were to pray specifically, what does he need to pray for? Think about this and apply it to your search.
                3. Heed wise counsel. As a career coach and leader of the JobSeekers ministry, nothing makes me crazier than people who hear the truth (what works) and do the opposite. I’ve dealt with extreme cases of people who knew where they were, knew where they wanted to be, knew how to get there (through networking) and yet they did not do what it took to achieve success. Friends, every book and every career coach in the U.S. will tell you that networking is the number one way salaried people find jobs. We can’t all be wrong.
                4. Work wholeheartedly. In Philippians 4:13 Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I use this well-known verse in the meeting several times a year. At the Atlanta Bread Company one time, someone said the key word in that phrase is “do.” In other words, it doesn’t say, “Christ will do all things for me.” Don’t pray to God and wait for the phone to ring. Discipline yourself; keep to a work schedule every day of the week; do the right things; work wholeheartedly.
                5. Trust wholeheartedly. Sometimes it’s a test of faith. Job search is tough on you, your ego, your relationships, your finances, and your health; it can even be tough on your relationship with God. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Remember that you are a child of God; as your loving parent he wants you to have the very best he has to offer. Learn everything you can from this experience and be ready, willing and able to move forward as he guides you. As rough as it is now, job search is a temporary state; there are brighter and better days ahead.

                The bottom line is that to be successful in search you have to work smart and work hard. Trust in the Lord and work wholeheartedly, and you will succeed. Do everything YOU can do to find a job, and leave to God what only HE can do.

                See you this Friday at JobSeekers, where we trust in the Lord – and work wholeheartedly!

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

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                  To Get Better Results, Be Your Authentic Self

                  Celebrate-silhouetteOne of the themes in my teaching and writing in the past few years has been to “be your authentic self.” The more authentic you are, the better results you will get. I have experienced this myself, in both my personal and business life. If you are your authentic self, you will get better results too.

                  Rick Warren writes about authenticity in his inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life: “Of course, being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection and being hurt again. Why would anyone take such a risk? Because it is the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy. The Bible says, ‘Make this your common practice: confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.’ We only grow by taking risks, and the most difficult risk of all is to be honest with ourselves and with others (p. 140, the scripture is James 5:16a from The Message).”

                  Form Small Groups

                  I have a vision of JobSeekers having small group meetings throughout the week; we’ve taken steps forward (and backward) in this direction. After the JobSeekers meeting on Friday mornings, many folks hang out for a while in several informal gatherings. I hear that many of you meet at other times during the week.

                  My vision also includes support groups meeting at some of the local churches as well – not for a official, formal meeting, but instead for the heart-to-heart relationship building that takes place during some of the more difficult days of our lives.

                  Here’s more from Warren’s book: “People wear masks, keep their guard up and act as if everything is rosy in their lives. These attitudes are the death of fellowship (p. 140).”

                  If you want to see a textbook example of this, go to a little league baseball game and listen to the dads and coaches talk to one another. In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge calls these men ‘posers.’ He says, “Most of what you encounter when you meet a man is a façade, an elaborate fig leaf, a brilliant disguise (p. 52).” I’d rather sit by myself than witness their puffed-up pride and listen to their braggadocio.

                  By the way, I am not immune to this; I’m trying to overcome my human condition every single day. I confess that I am guilty of ‘posing’ sometimes too.

                  Be Your Authentic Self

                  Friends, if you are out and about, put your game face on. Be positive and energetic. Smile. “Fake it ’til you make it.” But let me make this strong recommendation: don’t fake it with your close friends, with God, or with yourself. Yes, first be honest with yourself. Then be honest with God and with your closest advisers. We are here to help, or just to listen.

                  One of the many reasons I enjoy what I do is that I get to meet with and help people when they are more in touch with their authentic selves. The loss of a job and the challenges that come with a career transition can remove several layers of pretense!

                  I get frustrated with the few clients who keep secrets from me. How am I supposed to help them when they don’t lay all their cards on the table? They experience negative consequences like longer job searches, lower pay or less-than-satisfying jobs because they withheld information that I need to know in order to help them.

                  Which cards are you holding back? What do you need to disclose to your three closest advisers? What secrets are you keeping from God? (You aren’t doing a very good job on that one, by the way!) Think about it. Pray about it. Then do something about it.

                  See you this week at JobSeekers, the place where we can be our authentic selves!

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

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                    If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going

                    Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survive hell on earth

                    Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery pit — who’s the fourth guy?

                    “If you are going through hell, keep going.”
                    – Sir Winston Churchill

                    When I’ve gone through tough times in my life, I’ve found it helpful to remind myself that the difficulty I’m in is only temporary. I know many of you are going through some unimaginably tough times right now. When we find ourselves in a fiery pit, it may seem that we are bound to stay there for eternity. That’s not the case of course; oftentimes what determines how long we’re in the flames are the things we think, feel and do.

                    Meet Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. 

                    The ultimate example of being in the flames took place during the captivity of the Hebrews in Babylon. The story is told in the first three chapters of the book of Daniel. After Daniel had interpreted a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar’s, the King was so impressed he appointed Daniel governor of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar also gave important posts to Daniel’s three friends: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

                    Later the King gave orders for a statue to be built; it was to be 90 feet high, nine feet wide, and made of solid gold. With great pomp and ceremony he commanded his officers, governors, captains and counselors to come and worship the statue as god. Only Daniel’s three friends refused.

                    When King Nebuchadnezzar learned that his order had been defied, he flew into a rage and demanded that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be brought before him. “If you do not worship as I tell you, I will have you thrown into the furnace and burned to death!”

                    They replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

                    Nebuchadnezzar had the furnace heated to seven times its usual heat (How would they have measured it back then?). Then the men, fully clothed, were thrown into the flames. To his astonishment, Nebuchadnezzar saw not only that the men were unharmed, but also that there was a fourth man in there with them. When the king called them out from the flames, everyone saw that not a hair was singed, not a thread of clothing was burnt. Nebuchadnezzar decreed that he and his people would worship only their God.

                    God delivers us while we are in the flames.

                    Chuck Hodges, senior pastor at Athens First UMC, describes this as more than a divine encounter. He says that sometimes God delivers us from the furnace, but other times he delivers us while we are in the furnace. Our goal is to avoid the flames, but God is right here with us while we are in the flames. Many believe that the fourth person in those flames with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was the preincarnate Christ.

                    Charles Lindsey, a former member of JobSeekers, wrote to me: “God is always able – but sometimes does not remove the circumstances – and that should not alter our commitment to faith in God. The three men had no assurance of a physical rescue, but were solid in their spiritual health. That has always seemed to strike much more of a chord with me than biblical heroes that heard directly from God with a future promise.”

                    Never, never, never give up!

                    I opened this message with Churchill, and I will close with Churchill. On 29 October 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited the Harrow School in Harrow, England to speak to the students. This became one of his most quoted speeches, due to distortions that evolved about what he said.

                    The myth is that Churchill stood before the students and said, “Never, never, never, never give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.” The first time I heard the myth, it was only five words: “Never, never, never give up.” Then he sat down. (That would have been a great speech, by the way.)

                    In reality, he made a complete speech that included words similar to what are often quoted. Here’s the excerpt: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

                    Friends, never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

                    You are in the midst of the flames right now, and Jesus in right by your side – just as he was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. In spite of the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy, they claimed the ultimate power – the power of God almighty. The difference is in what you think, feel and do. Choose God, the ultimate source of encouragement and strength.

                    See this Friday at JobSeekers, where we never give in and never give up!

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

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