Lindsey Pollak is an author, an in demand speaker, contributor to a variety of outlets from the Wall Street Journal to CNN, and one of the world’s leading career and workplace experts. Of her four books, two have been on the New York Times bestseller list. Her most recent, Recalculating: Navigating Your Career Through the Changing World of Work is a response to covid and the way it completely changed the way many people get their work done every day.
Like many of the talented people we profile Lindsey has taken a circuitous route to get to where she is at. After graduating from Yale, she went to Australia for a couple years on a Rotary scholarship before going to work for a dot com focused on helping women develop their careers. While she loved the work, the company folded just eighteen months later, a situation that led to Lindsey’s first book, Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World.
If you’ve noticed, there is a pattern emerging. Lindsey finds herself faced with a crisis situation and turns it into an opportunity. In fact, this is a behavior she recognizes, stating that each book she’s authored is a response to some kind of crisis, with each book being the book she wished she had to help get her through it. Recalculating began when she saw her calendar get very empty when covid hit. Instead of a calendar full of paid speaking engagements, she found herself with a lot of free time and the need to…recalculate how to pursue her goals in a drastically altered environment.
It is also the first book she’s written that deals extensively with the importance of mindset. How do you look at the world? How do you view yourself and the contribution you can make? She’s had interviews with women who have been out of the workforce for a while and are convinced that no one would be interested in hiring them and others in the same situation who are full of energy and willing to take on the world. As you can imagine, your mindset can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for good or ill.
One important mindset to cultivate is the willingness to step outside of the norm, to take a risk and think outside the box. Thanks to technology, the opportunities to do this, to act on some wild idea are greater than ever and of course Covid has made it a necessity for many. When your job disappears or your business goes under you can either sulk or get back in the saddle, even if the horse rides are a little different. Many have started with a simple blog or an Etsy shop and many more are capable of it. Just as an example, I used to work with a guy who decided to take a chance and move to Nashville to pursue a career in country music. He left a job that was guaranteed money, and good money, to take the biggest risk of his life. Currently, he’s one of the fastest rising stars in the industry. He thought outside the box and took a chance.
Not that it will always be easy. As Lindsey points out, one thing that people need to get used to is rejection. Whether you are applying for a job or submitting an article, or a fundraising pitch, you need to have thick enough skin to take ‘no’ for an answer. It’s okay, you aren’t the first person to get rejected and you won’t be the last. You might well apply for a hundred jobs and only get an offer for two. Which is fine, because you only need one.
The key is to be just a little hard, to be willing to do hard things, to be willing to go against the stream and do the unexpected, and yes, to be willing to take the lumps that come with rejection and not let it stop you. As Rocky Balboa once said, “It’s not about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
What’s your future worth?