One of the biggest things that causes us stress is when we find ourselves doing something that just doesn’t feel right for us, doesn’t feel aligned with what is important to us. And that can be for a moment (when we pretend not to hear when someone is being racist on the bus), or it can be for a long time (working in the ‘wrong’ job or being in the ‘wrong’ relationship).

When I am supporting people as they prepare for a job interview we often uncover the idea that it is not just about us being right for the job, but the job being right for us. The interview panel want the person who best fits the role, and sometimes the temptation can be to shape ourselves in to being that person so that they choose us. Sometimes, in our eagerness to succeed, get the promotion, the money, the job title, the kudos, we bend ourselves to fit the job brief.

There’s nothing wrong with that, except that, if we are good at it, we get the job and then we have to bend ourselves to fit it for all the years that we do it! And this ends up looking like a life where who we are and what we believe and value is out of alignment with what we are asking ourselves to do. It looks like the line on the right hand side of the triangle (the original was created by Robert Dilts) below:


We’ve explored this idea before, that we are at our best when we are aligned at a belief and identity level with what we are doing (the line on the left). With this in mind then, a job interview becomes an opportunity to make sure that the job fits us, that we can do what it requires of us whilst being true to ourselves.

We do have a choice of course. If we want the job that badly then we can shape ourselves to fit it, manage the stress that creates and deal with the lack of alignment ‘glitch’. There’s nothing wrong with that. Or we can wait for the ‘right’ job, one that fits us well, where we can be true to ourselves and so be our best without having to deal with a glitch. (There’s even a third option, which is to take the job that doesn’t quite fit us with the hope of shaping it once we have our feet under the table!)

As is always true with this concept of choice, there is no right answer, but whichever choice we make there will be consequences. Last week we saw a truly awful consequence when Jo Cox MP (photo from, who by every account from all who knew her lived her life according to her beliefs, was murdered. She shaped the role of MP so that she could do it being true to herself and ‘glitch’ free. That someone has chosen to kill her as a result is shocking and hard to understand:

It is such a sad and extreme example, and we see others like it all over the world where people are persecuted for their beliefs. But even in a day to day sense, being true to ourselves and staying aligned with what is important to us is not always easy for any of us, whether that’s on the bus or in the job interview. Choosing to be true to ourselves requires us to be brave.

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