When certified executive and career coach Marshall Brown works with clients, he may ask them to create a vision board, which is a board that displays words and images of what his clients want to achieve in their life. Other times, he may ask clients to write a story about what their perfect job would look like.
He tells them to be as detailed as possible, really thinking about what they would be doing all day at that perfect job, what kind of colleagues they would be working with, and even what the actual office might look like.
"I find that people should get as specific as they can when doing this. And the great thing is, since this is their story, they can change it," he said. "But it's a matter of putting something out there, and if you test it and it doesn't feel right, you can change it."
But what the heck does any of this have to do with finding a job?
According to Brown, it's all about the law of attraction.
You may remember the 2006 hit movie "The Secret," which outlined three major principles of the law of attraction -- ask, believe and receive -- and how they can help you change different areas of your life and attract the things you want into your life, such as a new job. In his practice, Brown often uses these principles as a starting off point to help clients find a new job and change the course of their careers.
At first blush, you may think that using the law of attraction during a job search may sound absolutely ridiculous. After all, what do the pie-in-the-sky ideas from "The Secret" have to do with the real world?
Everything, says Karen Luniw, former employment counselor and founder of Attract More Now.
"It's just that like energy attracts like energy and everything is made up of energy. So the job that we're looking for has a certain energy and a certain vibe," she said. "How we feel about our job also has an energy to it and we're always in that state of attracting. That's why, oftentimes a job we don't really like all of a sudden disappears, which gives you the opportunity to then attract what it is we do want."
How to apply the law of attraction to your job search
It is widely known that our state of mind can have a tremendous effect on our lives and the decisions we make. In fact, some studies indicate that positive thinking, coupled with proactive care, can go a long way toward improving our health outcomes.
The same holds true for your job search. Though it's not just about having a positive attitude alone, the way you think about your job search will dictate your actions. As a result, using the law of attraction can help improve your state of mind so you can take the action steps necessary to find that great job where you'll be happy and productive. These tips can help you do it.
Get clarity about what you want. "When you ask people what they want to do, nine times out of ten what they'll actually tell you is what they don't want. And then because that's their focus, that's actually what they tend to get over and over again -- the bad employer, the bad hours, the low pay," said Luniw. "If you actually start to focus on all those things you'd really like to have, the way your brain works is that it has no choice but to prove you right."
But what if you don't know what you want? To get ideas, you can create a story or a vision board as Brown asks his clients to do. In addition, he also suggests taking career assessment tests, which will point you in the direction of careers suited for you based on your personality and preferences. It's also helpful to think about all the jobs you've had and write down the qualities you liked about them -- that way, you create a blueprint for what type of job would be a good fit for you.
Take action. When some people watched "The Secret," they got the misconception that all you have to do is ask for something you want, and you'll be able to get it with little or no effort. But Luniw tells her clients that couldn't be farther from the truth, and they should always keep on top of their job search while thinking positively about what they want.
"That's not to say that sometimes magical things don't happen, but the likelihood of somebody showing up at your door offering you a job is small if you haven't done anything," she said. "Action is always a component of attracting something."
Be patient. One mistake that people often make when they start to focus on the kind of job they want is they expect instant results. When they don't get results as fast as they want, they revert back to thinking negatively about their job search. In order to attract the job you want, you have to be patient and remember that it takes time to get there.
Have gratitude. Looking for a job can be frustrating -- especially when you're in a tough spot financially -- but there's always something to be thankful for, and it's important to adopt that attitude of gratitude during the tough times.
"We have to be grateful, which is really hard to do today," Brown said. "We only have so much energy and if you're using your energy negatively, you're going to attract more negative energy because that's what you're putting out there."Kenya McCullum is a freelance writer based in California. She contributes to several print and online publications, including OnlineDegrees.com.