Have you noticed that your mood all day is influenced by the first hour? If you stub your toe, get toothpaste on your tie, or burn your forehead with the curling iron, you are likely to feel the day is going downhill with no way to stop it.

The reality is, we all stumble, stub our toes, miss a button, and drop the coffee filter on the floor. It’s how you react to minor mishaps that matters. Being kind to yourself can make the difference between confident professional and bumbling loser.

We often compare ourselves to the elegant, smooth, capable people we meet and say, “I am such a loser.” What we don’t see are the bathroom counter that person left behind, and the back seat of their car.

Give yourself permission to reach out and make a few mistakes. Fear of goofing up holds you back, and a job search is no time to hold back. You want to break free, test your wings and feel your own power. Will everything work out well? Of course not. But the things that do go well will move you forward.

Here are 5 ways you can gather your courage and step out in your job search:

  1. Attend a Professional Association event related to your job search. Introduce yourself to at least 3 people. Follow up with LinkedIn connections and coffee.
  2. Hand-deliver your resume to the HR Manager or Hiring Manager. Say, “I was just in the neighborhood, and hoped I would get a chance to meet you.”
  3. Pick up the phone and call to follow up on an application. Email is great, but phoning makes it more personal–and memorable.
  4. Apply for a job three ways–by job board, at the company website and through an employee. See if you can get extra consideration by being extra eager.
  5. Use the connections you have to find out about job leads before they are advertised. Keep tabs on your friends with jobs in great companies. People are happy to help. And, these days, there might even be a bonus in it for a friend who refers you into a job.

Be brave. And remember, even your future boss turns an ankle now and then.

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