Unhappy With Your Career? Try ‘Asset-Based Thinking’

January 6 2014 by Borja Saldana

This mindset can help you focus on what’s right in your career

We’ve all been told that we should practice “positive thinking.” I don’t know about you, but I have found it difficult to practice such thinking when things are not going well. So have many of the hundreds of job seekers I have coached – especially those who were unemployed or unhappy in their current jobs.

I’m not suggesting here that you give up on the idea of developing a better attitude and better mindset. But, I am suggesting that you and I can both benefit from the practical dynamics of asset-based thinking. As authors Dr. Kathy Cramer and Hank Wasiak note in their bestselling book titled Change the Way You See Everything: When you decrease your focus on what is wrong (deficit-based thinking) and increase your focus on what is right (asset-based thinking), you build enthusiasm and energy, strengthen relationships, and move people and productivity to the next level.

In the first chapter of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!) I encourage you to work to increase your positive thinking and your attitude. We all can use an upgraded attitude! And one path toward this goal is asset-based thinking. It doesn’t demand that you sing in the rain and skip down the street with a smile on your face. It doesn’t force you to pretend that you don’t have problems and that everything is fine. Rather, this new thinking strategy simply directs you toward identifying the positive assets you have at your disposal and focusing your thinking in their direction. If you are a job seeker, it directs you to network by focusing on your wealth of relationships, to sell your value by focusing on past accomplishments that demonstrate your potential value, etc.

One of my favorite quotes by Winston Churchill ties in well with this subject: A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

If you are unemployed or unhappy in your current job, the strategy of asset-based thinking is a practical alternative most can employ. It is a simple strategy with obvious benefits:

  • You will be perceived as a more positive person, which naturally attracts others to your cause
  • You will increase your positive emotions associated with focusing on what you DO have
  • You will reduce your negative emotions associated with focusing on what you DON’T have
  • You will open yourself up to more possibilities which can be examined and, if desired, leveraged
  • You will leverage a means to develop a more positive attitude for the long term
  • It seems to me that most people underestimate the resources they have available and, most certainly, we all fail to tap into all of them. Asset-based thinking helps us reduce the odds of doing this – especially in those times when we need more help than normal.