How to leverage your power as an international professional

Stop Focussing on the Negative

Does this sound familiar? “I feel like my background and work experience are too general. The department won’t want to hire me.” Or maybe: “I can feel the company doesn’t want to hire me. They’re looking for someone with a different skill set.” I hear these kinds of statements from clients all the time. And many of them may have the same question you do: how to leverage your power as an international professional?

How about: “I think I shouldn’t comment in the meeting unless I’m 100% sure of my data. I don’t want to look foolish.”

These are common feelings that international professionals have (even as VP’s and high level managers). There’s often a tendency to expect the worst outcome and undermine their own value. But what if you knew how to leverage your power as an international professional? How would your life be different?

Without meaning to, many international professionals reject themselves first. Or cut themselves down. They take themselves out of the game because they expect to get rejected. Of course native speakers do this as well. But on the other hand, native speakers in the US often have too much confidence and even bravado.

In psychology, a self-fulfilling prophecy is a term that describes how when we take actions based on a negative expectation, we can make the negative outcome a reality.

We don’t realize how our mindset is influencing our future, but in fact it’s very powerful. And it can keep you from achieving the goals in life you’ve set for yourself.

(For tips on how to get around that idea that your concept has to be 100% perfect before you speak up in a meeting, check out my blog here !)

Strengths and Success inventory

One way to get out of this habit and you leverage your power as an international professional is to do a strengths and success inventory.

Here’s how it works:

Draw a line on a piece of paper. At the left side of the line, write a starting date (graduation from high school or earlier if appropriate). Starting from the left side and working toward the right, write a short statement of every success you have had since then and when it happened.

Next, write down what strengths you used to achieve this success. These could be communication, adaptability, leadership, problem-solving, analysis, etc. Try to come up with at least 10 strengths you’ve utilized throughout your career.

Now think about how you can leverage these strengths in your current challenge, dilemma, or problem.

The negative mindset that tells us we can’t do something can be countered with these reality-based reminders of what we have already accomplished.

Try it out and send me a note to let me know how it worked! Don’t always buy into your own negative expectations.


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