By Marsha Aizumi
The power of affirmations was never more evident to me than this past week, as my youngest son, Stefen, continued to struggle to find a job. He had sent out hundreds of résumés, filled out countless applications and had been on a number of interviews. We practiced interview questions, reached out to people for internships and had reminders all over the house of his dream to first work at a bank and then work at an escrow company.
The only job offer he received just recently came from AFLAC. He thought it was going to be a credit analyst position, but it was a sales job. So, after almost a year of searching, I could feel his confidence beginning to wane. He didn’t want a sales job, but if nobody would hire him, should he accept this offer? I encouraged him to listen to his heart, not settle for something he thought would make him miserable waking up each morning to go to work. He decided not to take the job.
Fortunately, since graduation, he had been working for papa, so at least his résumé did not show him being unemployed for one year. In fact, Aiden and I even encouraged Stefen to become papa’s building manager because he had been working for his dad for a long time. But this wasn’t his dream, either.
I explained to Stefen that I coached other managers and directors as a consultant and asked if he would like me to work with him. A year ago, he would have said, “No.” But at this point, he was willing to try anything.
We began his coaching session by creating an affirmation that he promised to say at least once a day. We first talked about his positive qualities, such as being thoughtful, kind, dependable and punctual. Then, we talked about how he felt in challenging times. Finally, we came up with some words that were the opposite of his feelings when faced with adversity.
In the end, the affirmation he created was … “I am a passionate, confident, expressive leader, waking up each morning and going to a job I love.” He taped this affirmation to the walls of his bedroom. Perhaps I was projecting what I wanted him to feel, but I sensed he was starting to have hope again.
The next day, he ran into an old golf coach, and he shared he was having a hard time finding a job after graduation. This coach said he would make a few calls. Then, he bumped into the mother of an old basketball teammate. She gave him a few names to follow up on. Lastly, a high school friend asked if he was still looking for a job because an escrow company was looking for an escrow assistant.
The following day, a Friday, Stefen had a phone interview, followed three days later with an in-person interview. The day after his interview, he got a job offer, and two days later, he left for his new position as an escrow assistant. In seven days, he had a job that he really wanted.
Now, people can say that this was sheer coincidence that after almost one year, in one week Stefen had a job. I choose to think that when he focused on who he needed to be and worked on being that person, he attracted what he wanted. I also think that when he was losing hope, he knew papa and I would never give up on him. We all need someone who believes in us, even when we stop believing in ourselves.
I once heard a man say, “To think is to create. What are you creating now?” This time with Stefen has been a good reminder for me to continue to think positive thoughts and see myself in a positive way. Although I am retired, I want to wake up each morning and live my life doing things that I love, looking forward to whatever the day will bring
Marsha Aizumi is an advocate in the LGBT community and author of the book “Two Spirits, One Heart: A Mother, Her Transgender Son and Their Journey to Love and Acceptance.”