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The Right Fit.

Defining the phrase, “The Right Fit”

What does this even mean? Is there such a thing? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the adjective “fit” describes something that is, proper or acceptable: morally or socially correct and suitable for a specified purpose.

We first go through a cycle of discovery about ourselves in four main stages when we try to find our “X”, “X’ being the right fit:

  • Projecting a vision (What do we want?)

  • Taking Action (Trial and error)

  • Experiencing results (Positively and negatively)

  • Reflection on lessons learned (How can we use what we’ve experienced to benefit us in the future?)

What measures do WE take to define what the right fit means to us? Maybe we are judgmental and aren’t aware of it. Maybe we have specific ways in which we can read people and feel that spark immediately. The first step is to help define the blurred line of that definition.

We are determined to do our homework to ultimately figure out what “X” is. Am I the best fit for the job? Will the person I’m dating mesh well with my life? What research do I need to do to find the equation that will lead me to solving for “X”?

The best answer, for anyone looking for the right fit, is allowing our minds to be in a position to succeed. We face finding the right fit in nearly everything we do. I’m talking about the right fit both personally and professionally. Why endure a mismatch when you could be thriving elsewhere?

How do we find the right fit?

Finding the right fit is difficult these days. It’s often a large question that requires an answer that isn’t easily determined. Sometimes, like in LeBron James’ case, it took years to come to the realization that the right fit for him was playing in front of his home crowd in Cleveland, Ohio. There is no magic formula, but there are steps to take to solve for your “X”. The investigation is imperative.

We often doom ourselves with the negative mindset of, “that will never work because of reason blah blah,” or, “I couldn’t move there because it’s too cold in the winter.”

I look at those excuses the same way I see couples on HGTV’s “House Hunters.” They complain about a house, mentioning the ONLY thing really wrong with the house, such as the wallpaper or paint, which can easily be fixed. All I hear is the teacher from Peanuts going on and on about nothing.

However, should an overly optimistic mindset be a part of the equation? The idea of “perfection” doesn’t exist but with a strong work ethic, you can get pretty close to that Utopian state. What happens when you strive to achieve, and then ultimately get everything you want? Perfection, right? Or is it? That perfection could lead to boredom and simplicity, leaving you wanting more and seeking a new goal to accomplish. But let’s look at both sides of this equation.

How do we know if it is a wrong fit?

Often we do not realize our mistakes until we are well into making them. Sometimes, that damage does nothing but show us what is the wrong fit.

If you know anything about me (and if you don’t keep reading my posts to know more), you know that I am a social and outgoing person. I enjoy interacting and communicating with others regularly and thus want that to reflect in my personal and professional relationships. Being stuck at a desk in a basement for 10 hours a day talking to no one probably isn’t the best professional fit for my personality. That is why it is crucial to finding a job that meshes well with YOU. Company culture is a big part of accepting or rejecting a job offer when it happens and eventually determining if it is the right fit.

Job interviews are glorified business meetings where your talents are evaluated beyond what is shown on paper. The interview goes beyond the superficial. It is a direct opportunity for us, the prospective employee, to evaluate how the company’s culture complements our values. Be sure to make the observations and ask the necessary questions to make a good assessment of whether the culture is the right fit for you.

These questions are always on my list to ask as an interviewee:

  • How has this position evolved since it was created?

  • What have you enjoyed most about working here?

  • What is the number one challenge you are currently facing in your position?

As an interviewer, I always the following three questions:

  • What have you been doing since you first applied to this position?

  • What frustrates you?

  • What is the toughest negotiation you have ever been in?

Similar rules apply for dating. Part of the process involves asking questions, seeing how their environment matches up with yours and figuring out if you add up. There is plenty of cross over between finding a mate and interviewing for a job.

You will likely not check off ALL of the boxes on your expectations checklist. However, the trick is to be happy and content with achieving (checking off) as many as may be possible.

The wrong fit is usually due to the relationship being one-sided. One party feels strongly one way, whereas the other party is on the other end of the spectrum. Sometimes (and I mean more often than not), we settle because we’re either

a) desperate b) naive c) blinded/masked by greatness or what we want to hear d) in it for the short term fit, and not for the long term

We often see this in the sports industry. I guarantee that 99.9% of student athletes have heard “You’re the right fit” at least once when they get recruited to sign a National Letter of Intent to a university.

The same goes for a coaching search, whether in high school, college or on a professional level. In a professional relationship sense, hiring someone who fits the job mold and will stay in that position or company for the long term is key to finding the “right fit.”

The right fit is determined by the value a candidate will add to a company/organization based on his/her prior experience and if he/she will be able to build on the foundation previously created. Our resumes and recommendations from colleagues and managers support that foundation.

How do we accept the right fit?

From a hiring managers perspective, what makes one candidate better than another? You have two qualified candidates, both excellent on paper, but if your expectations are already set too high, how do you know you’re making the right choice? Those “perfect” candidates we have in our minds, may disappoint because expectations of perfection are simply set too high.

For example, do you think a hiring manager is more likely to hire a candidate who followed up with a handwritten note reiterating his/her interest in the job or a candidate that didn’t bother to follow up? Passion and proven effort get you in the door, and that needs to be the driving factor in everything that we do.

This is why writing thank you letters and following up with people might make the difference. It is crucial to follow up and reiterate your interest in the position. It could be the deal breaker. What could it hurt?

Everyone is programmed differently with various strengths, personalities, talent, etc. that would be right (and wrong) for different relationships.

So, how can we accept that?

Without forcing it, acceptance and understanding is key. Timing is a large part of accepting the situation in front of you. Sometimes, the right fit finds you. It’s important that while we want to make every opportunity happen, it can happen at the most random times. To succeed, we have to go through a cycle of discovery and doing a SWOT analysis of ourselves, so that we can be as prepared when the right fit does come along.

Remember the old board game “Perfection?” The pieces of life are going to get

jumbled unexpectedly. You have to be able to adjust accordingly.

Accepting the right fit can also imply starting before you’re ready. Taking risks helps us understand this concept so that it frees us from being fixated on perfection that might not exist. There will always be something to improve upon.

It’s personal, too.

This same type of situation applies to personal relationships. We all want to find someone we can connect with on various levels. The core values should be the same.

If both parties are unwilling to make the same effort and be on the same page with the other, it can and will negatively affect a relationship. The short-term mindset of Mr. or Mrs. “Right Now” isn’t the same as Mr. or Mrs. “Right.” The minimum satisfaction needed to feel good “right now” isn’t always effective or edifying for us personally. When those feelings change, there might be too much invested to think there is an easy way out. This is how we get hurt, lost and/or disappointed.

So, now what?

The French have a saying – Je ne sais quoi – which literally translates to “I don’t know what,” but figuratively refers to something pleasant that may not be definable. It is sometimes this elusive, pleasing quality which some refer to as “chemistry.”

Life is about creating opportunities. It won’t happen if you’re sitting and waiting around. It requires a lot of work. The payoff from investment may not be immediate, but will eventually be worth it later. Along with those opportunities comes your support group. Surrounding yourself with others that believe in you will build your confidence and allow you to seek advice about whether these relationships are indeed the right fit. The work force is changing. The dating scene is changing. Instant communication and social media has changed the entire landscape and it is up to us to adapt accordingly.

Employers (and significant others) want someone who has an overall positive attitude and who has a drive to be successful. This is why people date before they get married and why you interview before you accept a job. That interview is not just for the employer, its for you to see if the position and office environment fits YOU. These relationships work when both parties share a similar mindset and work together for common goals.

We have all learned defeat, rejection and negative results, no matter how hard we try. BUT the thing to remember is that you CAN and WILL move forward and find a “better fit” on the way to finding the “perfect fit.” Remember, never settle, but seek for the best.

If plan “A” doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Keep trying.

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