How Can I Make Myself Stand Out In A Job Interview?

Conventional wisdom holds that in order to stand out, it is important to highlight your achievements. Findings from a study conducted by researchers at Harvard and Stanford University suggest taking a different strategy. If someone is writing a letter of recommendation on your behalf, request that they underscore your potential. The study found that people are more impressed when they hear about what a candidate is capable of doing in the future rather than dwelling on what they have done in the past. In the study, a painting by an artist who was described as having the potential to win a major art prize was preferred over the work of an artist who had already won a major art prize. A rookie basketball player who demonstrated great potential was preferred over an accomplished more seasoned player who had been in the NBA for five years. Advertisements for a comedian who “could become the next big thing” versus “has become the next big thing” generated far more interest as measured by click rate. Applicants to a Ph.D. program with letters of recommendation emphasizing potential over achievement were considered more appealing. These findings have broad implications for how we market ourselves and, perhaps more importantly, for how we think about ourselves. Do we dwell on the past and on what we have done or do we focus on the future and imagine what is possible?

Does Showing Emotion At Work Undermine My Authority As A Boss?

Showing emotion need not undermine your authority. On the contrary, it can underscore your commitment to your work. It all depends on how you spin it. If you have a meltdown, instead of saying “I was too emotional” to account for your behavior, say, “I was very passionate.” According to a recent study, those who pulled the passion card were perceived to be more competent than the ones who said emotions got in the way. This makes sense, of course, considering how the two words have very different connotations in the professional world. “Being passionate is often stated as an important attribute for employees; passion is associated with determination, motivation and having a high degree of self-control. Being emotional, however, has almost a negative mirror effect and is associated with irrationality, instability, ineptitude and a low degree of self-control,” explained lead researcher Sunita Sah, Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at Cornell University. Showing emotion from time to time makes us human and not a NARP (Not A REAL PERSON), as my stepson calls people are incapable of expressing emotion. When I first became a doctor, I remember bursting into tears the first time I had to tell a family that their loved one had died. I did my best to keep it together but the willpower to look professional was no match for the tears streaming down my face. At the time, I was mortified.  A few weeks later I received a lovely note from the family. They said they were touched by my tears. It showed how much I cared for someone they loved dearly. This post originally appeared in Marie Claire Magazine
Write a letter

Write a Letter: It’s Good for You

It is astonishing how quickly we adapt to the good things in life. A famous example of this is lottery winners. In the short term, their happiness shoots up dramatically but over the long term they are not significantly happier than non-winners. The truth is we get used to nice things. Consider WiFi, air conditioning, cappuccinos, and eating fresh oranges in the middle of winter. Not so long ago they were considered luxuries. Today they are “normal.” One strategy to counteract taking things for granted is to cultivate gratitude. The benefits of gratitude abound. It is associated with stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, greater optimism and happiness and more compassion. Writing someone a letter is one of my favorite ways to cultivate gratitude. I try to write one every week—not just a generic “thank you” note but a personal letter expressing appreciation. Is there a secret recipe for writing a good letter? I don’t think so. There are many creative ways to express gratitude. Here’s my blueprint:

Address and stamp the envelope first

Getting started is often the hardest part. And once I have committed that stamp to the envelope, I’m already halfway there. As soon as I get this step out of the way, I can concentrate on the actual content of the letter and not worry about logistics. It’s liberating.

Personalize it

Include details. I do my best to make it relevant and meaningful for the person I am writing to. It doesn’t need to be long, but it does need to be heartfelt and genuine.

Use a pen

Even if someone’s handwriting is messy, a handwritten note expresses so much more than a typed or emailed one. Putting pen to paper takes a different kind of effort. Its very nature relays to the receiver the time and effort you put into it. It is authentic and “not a cut-and-pasted, global searched-and-replaced bit of faux intimacy” as described by psychologist Chris Peterson.

Stationery is optional

I adore beautiful cards but they are not a requirement. A post card or a blank piece of paper work just as well. It is the thought that counts. When I was an intern, a patient once wrote me a beautiful thank you note on the back of a paper towel. It lived in the pocket of my white coat for months. Just knowing it was there provided me with strength and courage.

Take time

I consider what I want to say beforehand and give myself time to write it. Part of the beauty of writing a letter is that it forces me to slow down.

Give it your full attention

Chris Peterson says it best:
The thing about writing a letter, unlike e-mails or the phone, is that no one can multitask while doing so. A letter represents undivided attention and is precious as a consequence.
Both sending and receiving a handwritten note has a boosting effect. Whenever I receive one, I pin it on what I call my Gratitude Wall. For me, it is a kaleidoscope of goodness and an embodiment of connection and meaning. Knowing someone has taken the time and made the effort to hand write me a note fills me with gratitude and inspires me to do the same. In short, it’s a two-way thrill. Two thousand years ago, Cicero said:
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
Gratitude is something that only finds meaning when it is expressed. Express it whenever you can.

Realistic Resolutions That Will Actually Stick

Full disclosure: New Year's resolutions are the bane of my January-February existence. In theory, they are a wonderfully positive chance to turn over a new leaf — to try to get more sleep, exercise more, spend more time with the family and less time plugged into work. In reality, for many, they are something we do for a few weeks and then can't maintain for various reasons, legitimate or not. Either we set too many goals at once or we set unrealistic goals. But resolutions don't need to be wishful thinking (nor do they need to be relegated to just the January time slot, either). Here are some truly easy ways to make and keep those resolutions:

Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

There's an art to setting goals that will make achieving them much easier. Remember this equation: Specific Measurable Align with values Realistic Time-based. So don't just say you want to lose weight. Rather, you want to get healthier by losing 5 pounds in one month so you check your weight every morning before eating oatmeal for breakfast and walking to work.

Focus, Don't Fix

How many of our resolutions are about changing something we don't like about ourselves? Here's a twist that will help maintain that goal: focus on the positive and choose a resolution around something that you're good at. For instance, if you love art, resolve to go to the museum once a month or paint more. If you love playing tennis, commit to a doubles group.

To Fail is Human (and Good For You)

There's no reason to scrap an entire goal because you missed a few workouts, ate a donut or smoked a cigarette. Put it in perspective — did you ace every test in school? Figure out what you did wrong and "fail better," learn from your mistakes and come up with a new strategy that will serve you all year long. And maybe allow yourself a little leeway so you're less likely to completely give up.

The Little Engine That Could Was Right

Saying "I think I can, I think I can" translates into a deep-seeded belief in one's capabilities and ultimately, one's well-being. It's the self-efficacy theory. Believing you can accomplish what you want is more than just a mindset. It's a path to success.

Time Check

It's time to spend more time doing things that we value doing — it'll be healthy for us. (And no, watching tv, playing video games and working are not on that list. Most people say they feel unsatisfied after doing them.) Time well spent can be anything from spending time outdoors, in charitable activities, socializing with friends and family and yes, relaxing or just daydreaming. Write down the three most important things in your life — and then do them.
seasonal affective disorder

Rethinking The Winter Blues

In medical school I was taught to look out for Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, during the cold dark months. I expected my patients’ depression to worsen and for the winter blues to set in. After all, it made sense—who doesn’t want to hibernate until spring?It turns out that this assumption was far from accurate. New studies suggest that winter doesn’t quite take the emotional toll we once thought it did. In fact, the research suggests people deal with the gray and chilly weather pretty well. As science writer Christian Jarrett points out:

The results provided no evidence whatsoever that people’s depression symptoms tended to be higher in winter — or at any other time of the year. This lack of a seasonal effect was true whether looking at the entire sample or only respondents with depressive symptoms. The respondents’ geographical latitude and sunlight exposure on the day of the survey were also unrelated to depression scores.

Related research challenges the notion that our brains slow down in the winter months. In fact, there is reason to believe that brain function is enhanced during the winter. As we well know, expectations shape reality. All those times I ascribed a patient’s sluggishness or sadness to Seasonal Affective Disorder, what was I missing? What else was going on in their lives that might have been affecting their mood or energy level? It was so easy to chalk it up to SAD, which may just be a “well­-entrenched folk theory.” Looking back, I wonder how many times I prescribed an anti-depressant or increased a patient’s dose in anticipation of the winter blues. As Jarrett concludes, there is a silver lining to the winter:

If anything, the data suggest that our minds are more sprightly at this time of year than in the summer. Now there’s some news to brighten your day — even if it’s an abysmally cold, short one.

FEATURED

SHOP

Privé Revaux Blue Light Blocking Glasses- Manufactured in a limited allotment and entirely from surgical grade, anti blue-blocking lenses, 100% pure polycarbonate sporting clear lenses and three-dot corner trim.
Veronica Beard Dickey Jacket- The perfectly tailored, feminine silhouette is inspired by the traditional blazer. The Classic Jacket features a single button closure and double vent in the back for a flattering fit on all sizes.
Everlane Modern Snap Backpack- A dependable companion for all of your journeys. It features a padded interior laptop compartment and two side slip pockets for easy access to a water bottle or other on-the-go items.


SIGN UP FOR THE WEEKLY DOSE


Danielle Duboise and Whitney Tingle


Danielle Duboise and Whitney Tingle are the co-founders of Sakara Life, a fresh, organic and plant-based nationwide meal delivery service.

LATEST

How Can I Make Myself Stand Out In A Job Interview?

Conventional wisdom holds that in order to stand out, it is important to highlight your achievements. Findings from a study conducted by researchers at...

Does Showing Emotion At Work Undermine My Authority As A Boss?

Showing emotion need not undermine your authority. On the contrary, it can underscore your commitment to your work. It all depends on how you...
Write a letter

Write a Letter: It’s Good for You

It is astonishing how quickly we adapt to the good things in life. A famous example of this is lottery winners. In the short...

Realistic Resolutions That Will Actually Stick

Full disclosure: New Year's resolutions are the bane of my January-February existence. In theory, they are a wonderfully positive chance to turn over a...

Is Home a Feeling or a Place?

It is said that home is a feeling, not a place. But for many of us, the house we grew up in occupies sacred...

TWEETS

Who says people can’t change? This is amazing!! @marjorie https://t.co/BtF2jzIKpc via @TODAYshow

I have written countless mental drafts of responses to emails but never got around to actually sending them. Life got in the way. This article lifted a giant weight off my shoulders. Thank you @KJDellAntonia https://t.co/FdBkHsNR9Q

Send this to a friend