The Power of A Made-Up Mind

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

In my role as a career coach, I coach many job seekers, and there is one advantage that seems to determine their success more than all others combined: the power of a made-up mind.

Job seekers with a made-up mind are highly successful. Their minds seem to be a force of nature that knows few equals. These individuals can climb mountains, finish marathons, and complete the toughest obstacle courses anyone can imagine.

When Noah made-up his mind to build the ark, he faced many obstacles. For example, all of his friends and associates were laughing at him. He had a tremendous building project in front of him. He had the challenge of finding hundreds of thousands of feet of lumber. And then, of course, the hundreds of animals to greet. In other words, Noah would have never been successful without a made-up mind. For Noah and us, our faith in God helps us build and sustain this.

I was just 17 years old when I learned the power of a made-up mind. I had applied for an electrical apprenticeship program that had over 300 applications for just 20 positions. My interview was in front of a board of apprenticeship directors at a large conference table. Most 17-year olds would allowed the seasoned construction veterans to intimidate them. But I didn’t.

One question was definitive: “Son, what are you going to do if we don’t let you in this program? You know that there are over 300 applications for just a few slots?” I replied in a confident but respectful tone, “Sir, I have made up my mind. I am going to be an electrician whether this board lets me in this program or not.”  When the final decision was made, I was selected in the top 3 of 300 candidates. The power of a made-up mind tipped the scales in my favor.

A large part of what I do as a career coach is helping people determine their path in the face of challenges. For some, their employer laid them off, or they aged out of their industry. For others, they are trying to find their first job after school or after having spent time taking care of loved ones. And I’ve learned over time that finding a true career path is both a head and a heart journey.

Many job seekers are just looking for anything that pays well. While this may be a good short-term strategy, necessary for survival, in terms of long-term, we should align our financial needs with our life’s purpose. According to Ephesians 2:10, we were all created for a special purpose. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

If we can find that purpose, making our job search both a heart and head journey, we can leverage the power of a made-up-mind. It helps, too, to seek the assistance of coaches, mentors, and counselors that can help guide us in the right direction.

Author: Keith Henson

Keith Henson has been married to his wife, Tina, for 30 years. Together, they have two children and three grandchildren. He enjoys teaching at Sunday school, fishing, and reading. He gained valuable coaching education at Rice University and from the Professional Christian Coaching Institute. This education gave him the opportunity to transition his career from project management to a full-time career coaching position with WorkFaith in January 2019.