(Minus the stuff I’m not allowed to say because of the five year Non-Disclosure Agreement I signed) ;)
1. Learn to recognize the difference between “anxiety” and “fear.”
They might seem like the same thing, but they’re actually NOT. Put simply, anxiety is a “what-if” response towards something that might not even happen. Fear, on the other hand, is a response to current situation in which one’s own life is in immediate danger. So it was natural to be just a little bit anxious when Google first said they’d like to interview – but then, I realized, it wasn’t likely I was going to die from or as a result of this interview. That’d just be bad publicity on all counts, right? Learn to think in terms of what you’d do “if such-and-such” occurred, but don’t let it paralyze you from acting at all.
2. To Fight Anxiety, Arm Yourself with KNOWLEDGE.
The next step, after I recognized my anxiousness, was to understand WHY I was anxious – it was because there were a lot of unknowns. So what did I do? I armed myself with knowledge – and through it, moved many of my unknowns into the “knowns” category. My anxiousness slowly started turning into confidence. For me, this entailed doing some background research on the position and its responsibilities at Google. For you, it might be talking to someone about how they handled a similar situation. Which is why, I quickly realized that—
3. EVERYONE has a story to tell – and it’s OKAY to ask about it.
My second interviewer said that he’d be willing to take “…an hour or twenty minutes or however long [I wanted] to answer ANY and ALL questions I had.” I now wish I had taken him up on this offer more seriously. I realized that sometimes when I’m in “interview mode” I’m too focused about selling myself as a good fit to focus in on others. I bet he would have had some cool stories to tell me – next time, I’m totally going to ask. It’s really important to ask others to tell you their stories, too. I just wish I had realized sooner much I could learn from the successes (and even failings) of others.
4. If you’re willing accept a little bit of hurt, you’ll end up a better you.
My interviewer said after I asked for feedback at the end of interview that I say, “You know…” A LOT. After he said it, I started noticing he was right. So instead of getting offended, I’m trying to change that. And you know, I’m feeling a lot better about myself now. ;) Really and truly. Chances are, others have a better perspective on the areas of yourself you should be working on. It might seem weird to ask, but let them know you really want to know. We all want to be a better us, do we not?
5. Failure is a Chance for you to REDEFINE SUCCESS and what it means to YOU.
I applied for Google seven times before they even offered me an interview. And even after they decided I wasn’t the right fit for this particular role after our interview, I said to myself, “Hey, most people don’t even get the chance to interview WITH Google.” Failure is a chance to redefine success. I’ve actually framed the rejection letter, because it speaks to what I’m redefining as success these days. To me, success is “becoming better at improving what came before.” Your personal definition of success will dictate what you view as important and how you act accordingly. Never, ever, forget that.