Make your Own Opportunities

“If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.” - Milton Berle

We hear opportunity “knocks but once,” while others say “every day is an opportunity.” Sometimes it “wears overalls and looks like work,” or it favors those who are “prepared” or “bold.”  So how do you pin down or call forth this elusive thing called, “Opportunity?”

Quotes aside, most modern experts agree, it is not found knocking or hiding around corners, but instead cultivated -- created by those curious enough to see potential and clever enough to develop it into a project of personal benefit.

“How?” you ask. Here’s a summarized collection of the top advice:

Have the Right Attitude: Opportunity is about giving as much as it is about personal gain. As Kare Anderson discusses in her TEDX talk, Be an Opportunity Maker building opportunities is never about “you” but about “us.” She stresses that thinking in terms of collaboration and relationships opens yourself up “to serendipity.” And she encourages those seeking opportunity to also seek generosity.  As she deftly puts it, “You can’t come to the potluck with only a fork.”

Awareness: Be open to possibilities. Things are rarely perfect just as they are and someone is going to figure out how to make it better. Why not you? A curious mindset is key to seeing where you can add value.

Understand your Value:  No one is good everything, but everyone is good at something. Know and hone your strengths. Once you are confident about your skills, don’t underestimate yourself when you consider what you can bring to a situation.

Build Connections: Relationships are not about who gets what from whom.  They are about genuine collaboration.  Don’t be afraid of people who are different from you because those with different skills and personalities can often offer the most beneficial/symbiotic  relationships. And, when it comes to business, Inc.com reminds us in their article, 5 Powerful Ways to Make your own Luck Everyday, that this is best done by first building an extensive network of colleagues and connections.

Keep a Running Tab: Once you begin to see things through a lens of opportunity, you’ll see possibilities everywhere. After that happens, you might get overwhelmed with all the potential (no really). Keep a list so you can determine which opportunities make the most sense to pursue based on your skills, desires and values. Once you learn to spot the golden ones . . .

Don’t Hesitate: As this great forbes Article, How to Create Your Own Luck, says, you need to cultivate a mindset of “fearless ambition” while also “striking a balance between opportunism and focus.” No easy task. But know that pondering the ins, outs and minutiae of each potential project is an opportunity killer.  Dive in.  Some even say, “Ready, Fire, Aim,” but the logic behind all of this is not to let fear and possible failure break connections and derail your advantages.

So go forth make an opportunity happen.  Or as Dr. Orison Swett Marden once said, “Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.”




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