A few weekends ago, the local Rec Center offered a three hour course for women teaching the basics of Self Defense. It was taught by Tae Kwon Do Instructors who also teach local martial arts classes several nights a week for all grade levels. I was interested in the class because I travel for work on a semi-regular basis, and most of the trips are solo. The skills that I learned in the class will no doubt prove useful in the event someone tries to harm me, whether I am in town or on the road. But, just like the CPR/AED and First Aid certification I hold, I hope they are also skills that I will never have to use.
During the class, the instructor pointed out that practice is the key to any kind of self defense. Should you be in a situation where you will need to use these skills, adrenaline will be pumping. Your muscles will shake, and you may well find yourself frozen and wondering what you need to do. This is where the practice comes in. You may know in your head that you should block, but if your muscles aren’t used to doing it automatically you either won’t do it or you’ll do it too late. You need the practice to develop the muscle memory which allows you to effectively respond in this crisis situation.
It got me thinking about how many other things you should practice for so that the skills are ready when you need them. For instance, how often do you practice for another high-stress situation involving your career: Job Interviews? For some of us, it may have been years since we interviewed for a job. This is especially true if the job we currently hold is one that makes us happy. But do you remember the interview that got you the job? Chances are it was not an easy process. Trying to effectively communicate your skills and fitness for the position combined with tailoring answers to match the position, employer research and questions the interviewer (or panel) asks can be mentally exhausting.
So how do you keep your Interviewing skills sharp? The most obvious way to to interview for positions. Even if you are happy with your job, you never know when an intriguing new opportunity may come your way. If you see something that looks interesting, throw your hat in the ring and see what happens. If you are contacted by a recruiter (who no doubt saw your resume and professional profile on LinkedIn or various employment sites) and the opportunity sounds interesting, apply for it. That gets your interview practice in a relatively low-stakes situation, because you do not need a job immediately.
Not comfortable with taking actual interviews? Keep yourself in the know for jobs by checking out the job boards and compare your experience and skills with those that are in demand. Simply noting what your strengths are, as well as any weaknesses you may need to address, keeps you miles ahead of much of the competition.
For some great tips on how to handle job interviews on the down low, check out this great Work It Daily Article: How to Deal with Interviews When You’re Employed.