By Salina Williams, Senior Consultant
The word Tao in Chinese means the Way. Taoists believe that they should live in harmony with the Tao or the Way. Taoism is a philosophy about the proper path in life. According to Taoism, the Tao impersonally guides things on their way. Taoists focus on living a simple and balanced life in harmony with nature. This is one of the most important principles in Taoism.
Today Taoism is practiced by about five million people in China, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam. It is not uncommon for Taoism to be combined with Confucianism and Buddhism.
The Tao was written by Lao Tsu in 6th century BC, so how can this ancient philosophy be applied to your job search in modern day?
- Get in the flow and follow your nature
Taoism teaches a person to flow with life. The path of understanding Taoism is simply accepting oneself. Applying this to your job search means knowing yourself, rediscovering who you are, and being aware of your natural inclinations, interests, motivations, values, and strengths. Let go of judgments that hold you back. Ask yourself what matters to you most about your job search and be true to yourself. Taoists take advantage of who they are and do not try to be someone they are not. The Taoists would say your nature is ever changing and is always the same. Your success will come more naturally if you are true to yourself. Although actions will need to be taken to find your next opportunity, often at the beginning of a career transition, individuals may benefit from quietness. Early on, it’s ok to take time, relax, and just explore and poke around (assuming finances allow). Taoism is based on trusting your instincts and getting back in touch with yourself.
- Stay in excellent physical and mental shape
Taoists practice self-control of mind and body. They believe that good actions will mean a better life. Applying this to your job search suggests that it is more important than ever to keep a regular physical exercise routine and being aware of your words and thoughts. Physical activities could be something you enjoy and could be as simple as a daily 30-minute walk or bicycle ride, Pilates, or a full-on 1-hour gym routine. Taoists seek to refine themselves through self-awareness. In your job search make a point of becoming self-aware of what you say, think and feel as opportunities arise.
- Keep your mind orderly
Taoists see contentment in the everyday practices of living as they follow the Way and find joy in the flow of life. In your job search redirect your thoughts to look towards opportunities that bring you energy. Become aware of the world around you rather than what has been lost. See the glass half full. To keep your mind focused on potential opportunities, read uplifting authors, connect with supportive people, practice five minutes of meditation (simply sit quietly with yourself) every morning to start your day, and observe your mind as it goes to different thoughts. Journal your thoughts for another 10 minutes and write out your main intention for your day. Keep your mind free of the entanglement of negative self-judgment and maintain a willingness to be open to possibilities. Move forward towards new ways or opportunities to express your natural talents and those things that interest you.
- Connect to the world as you would want to be treated.
Taoists believe in good deeds to further guide they way they live. They emphasize being tolerant and helping others. Those who follow the Tao are observant of others. Ming-Dao-Den writes in the everyday Tao, “The Tao is everywhere, it is literally the current of life. It is endless and flows in all directions. If we swim in a river we should make use of its current.” A large part of your job search will be connecting with others, to research the market, have networking meetings and interviews, and ask for references. Taoism would suggest to flow towards those who show interest in your success, be gracious to all people you meet and give more than you receive. In the context of a job search, this can be as simple as putting kindness into all your interactions. When meeting network contacts, ask people how you can support them and come to these meetings willing to share your learnings of the market and personal insights from your job search. Also be willing to share your own network with your contacts.
- Stay in the Present
A Taoist lives in the here and now fully. To follow the Taoist path, focus on your career transition processes with a focus on today: leave yesterday behind and cast aside worries about the future. Practice patience and being content in the present moment. It is your new job looking for a job and learning any new job takes time. Over time your good actions will build. Finding a new job is a process, so recognize it will take time and good daily actions will serve to create momentum and open new doors of opportunity.
In today’s results-driven world, we are accustomed to seeing instant success. If you focus fully on the present, little by little, what you do each day will open the doors to the future you seek.
Let us know if these principles have worked for you!
To read more about the Tao in your work and everyday life click on the following articles:
Salina Williams is a Senior Consultant and Executive Coach with Feldman Daxon Partners.
- On September 9, 2019