If you get to “Opportunity, Who?” you have lost. When opportunity knocks, it is your duty to yourself and others around you to look into the opportunity more. Doing your due diligence with every opportunity that comes down your path is key to a successful person. Sometimes you must take a leap of faith, but in general every opportunity has its risks and rewards.
This article is to help students, professionals and everyone in between know how to discover opportunities to build their personal brand. Below is a list of five key areas in which opportunity can be made a reality.
- Being open to opportunities (i.e. Being nice): First you must allow yourself the ability to be open to opportunities. This means being nice to those you come in contact with. With each community, no matter if you are in real estate, advertising, construction, politics or public relations, the community is tight-knit. The longer you stay in the industry, the more you realize that everybody knows everybody. Shutting off one person because of an annoying trait or because they are not attractive could be the cause for many lost opportunities. It is interesting to note that many opportunities come at the most unexpected times, such as in bars, at parties or on your way to Italy, for example. Once you meet someone and leave a great first impression with them they will remember it. Not to mention, if you are lucky, they will come to you when they need you.
- Trying the angles. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. A few small opportunities could even work out much better than one large opportunity. Trying the angles really means finding your specific sticking point. What specific impact do you want to make that sets you apart from all the rest? For example, say you want to start your own business. if you were starting a cleaning company, do you just want to clean homes or do you want to clean with all home-made natural products and leave fresh flowers behind? if you were starting a marketing communications firm, do you just want to develop logos and brochures or do you want to connect business with the socially engaged customer through human interactions? You get the idea. There will always be someone better than you in a specific field, but if you help form a new angle in that field, opportunity will always knock.
- Knowing when to turn an opportunity down. This is always a tough one. In the second paragraph I mention the term due diligence. When reviewing an opportunity you need to consider all the factors. Are you excited about the opportunity because it will look good on a resume or are you excited because it is the right thing, right now? For example, I was offered the opportunity to sit on the board of a local professional group. The year prior I had tried and failed to get on the board, so it was very exciting to me to be asked straight away this time. Over that period of time some things had occurred in my family life and I had taken up other endeavors from a philanthropic standpoint. I turned the opportunity down and the decision has suited me well. It has allowed me to more closely look at other opportunities I have had that i may have not had time for otherwise. Also I can spend more time where i find it necessary. Turning an opportunity down is never easy. Be careful to thoughtfully decline without shutting the door completely.
- Making opportunities for others. Zig Ziglar said, “You can get everything in life you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Nothing could be more true than that. When you open an opportunity to someone, or find a way to make them happy, they will never forget it. Similarly, they will also never forget who was behind that happiness. Always think about who you can help, no matter the situation. Of course, you should not expect anything in return, but good favors are usually returned tenfold in other ways.
- Making opportunities for yourself. This is one of the important changes you may have to make to your mindset. Opportunities exist, but there is great competition. So, how do you make opportunities happen for yourself? First, you need to allow yourself to seek out the opportunity. This means not discounting yourself or the idea before you start and remaining confident. Second, you need to self-reflect and understand what it is you truly want to do. Third, you must go out and do it. Networking is a good start. If you get lost in the path to finding your opportunity go right to the source. I wanted to interview a celebrity costumer designer for my blog but I had never performed an interview before. I was confused on what to do and where to go. One night when i got home from work I said to myself, “The time is now.” Twenty minutes later I was talking to her publicist and I interviewed her the next week.
Some opportunities are clear and some are vague. Some opportunities will keep you up at night. Some opportunities will drive you crazy. Some opportunities will make you the happiest person alive. My advice to you? Never stop looking.
What opportunity are you looking for? Maybe I can help.