A career coach shares how his adaptation of Mother Teresa’s “Anyway” poem can lead to your future job
GUEST COLUMN: JEFF ROBINSON — In 1968, a poem entitled “The Paradoxical Commandments” was penned by a 19-year-old Harvard University student named Kent M. Keith.
The poem was adapted and re-titled “Anyway” by Mother Teresa and found on the walls in her children’s home in Calcutta at the time of her death. It is often attributed to her.
It is in this form that the poem found its way into my life.
A few years ago, a dear friend of mine gave me a framed copy of the Anyway prayer as a gift to commemorate the day we were both initiated onto the spiritual path of Kriya Yoga.
It held profound meaning for me, as it brought added depth to a simple piece of instruction my father drilled into me as a youngster.
His words went something like, “Do something for someone because you want to, not because you expect something in return.”
My father’s simple admonition had guided my life for years and brought me comfort many times when I felt perhaps I wasn’t as appreciated as I might have liked.
What the Anyway prayer did for me
When my friend gave me the Anyway prayer, it took my father’s words to a whole new level. Not only does the prayer offer me divine guidance, it provides me with a level of comfort that is beyond anything I had known previously.
The prayer has removed the burden from me of worrying about what everyone else thinks of me, and simplified my life with one concern: what does God think of me?
I now only have one “person” that I need to please, and pleasing that person comes before even pleasing myself. Ironically, learning to focus on figuring out what will please God instead of what will please me has not felt restrictive or limiting, but has in fact been freeing and liberating!
What does this have to do with your job search?
For years, the central message of my career coaching practice has been that your job search is not about you, it’s about the organizations and hiring managers you are trying to help. People don’t hire you because you need a job; they hire you because of what you can do for them.
Of course, as divinity would have it, there is yet another paradox at work here: The more you focus on how can help others, the less self-conscious you will be about marketing yourself, and the more attractive and successful a candidate you will become.
That’s what my Paradoxical Commandments of Job Search are all about; they are my attempt to remind you to stop worrying about how potential employers and people you network with are treating you. Return your focus to what you can bring to them and the opportunity you have to be the one that brightens their day. But don’t take my word for it; try them on for yourself and see if your job search doesn’t become more enjoyable AND more successful. Let me know how it turns out!
Mother Teresa’s Anyway
People are often unreasonable and self-centered
FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY
BE KIND ANYWAY
If you are honest, people may cheat you
BE HONEST ANYWAY
If you find happiness, people may be jealous
BE HAPPY ANYWAY
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow
DO GOOD ANYWAY
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough
GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God
IT WAS NEVER BETWEEN YOU AND THEM ANYWAY
The Paradoxical Commandments of Job Search (by Jeff Robinson)
Potential employers are often unreasonable and self-centered
HELP THEM ANYWAY
If you ask for help in your job search, people may accuse you of ulterior motives
If you provide solutions in an interview, someone else may get the job
PROVIDE SOLUTIONS ANYWAY
If you share your accomplishments, interviewers may find you boastful
SHARE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS ANYWAY
The phone call you make today may be forgotten tomorrow
MAKE THE CALL ANYWAY
Give employers the best you have, and it may never be enough
GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY
For you see in the end, it is about using your gifts for the benefit of others
IT WAS NEVER JUST ABOUT YOU ANYWAY
Jeff Robinson is the founder of Serve 1st and creator of the Serve 1st method of job seeking. For more information, visit Serve 1st.
Read Jeff’s previous article for Soul’s Code: Six ways to combine a job search with your spiritual path.
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