Knock, Knock! It’s Me, Opportunity
Opportunities come and opportunities go. Sometimes they're obvious and sometimes we have to go searching for them. But if you've identified who you are and what you want, you'll be in a position to take advantage of opportunity when it knocks.
Whenever you see an opportunity, you have to do 3 things.
Not every opportunity is the one for you. Once upon a time I had two colleagues that both applied for the same position. After the interview, the hiring manager told me that one candidate seemed to be running away from their current position while the other seemed eager to pursue something new. One job, two candidates, two very different approaches.
If you're running away from a situation, instead of charging toward a goal, you behave differently. Take a second, third or even fourth look at the opportunity and make sure it's the right fit for you.
Some questions you should ask yourself:
- Will taking this opportunity get me closer to where I want to be in 10 years?
- Will this opportunity give me a new life experience?
- Is this opportunity too good to be true?
- Is this opportunity really something that I want to do?
- Is this opportunity something that is right for me and my family?
- What are the risks involved in accepting this opportunity?
- What is the potential upsides versus the potential downsides?
If you run through these questions and still feel like you should move forward with the opportunity, then it's time to…
If you don't act, someone else will. Opportunities don't wait for us and usually, if you see the door opening, others see it too. Unless, by asking yourself the above questions you've decided the opportunity isn't right for you, don't be timid, you need to jump in with both feet. You need to go all-in.
Think about this scenario; you're looking to bring a new person onto your team:
- Candidate 1 is well-qualified, able to do the job, and says to you, “I can do this, the job isn't perfect for me, but I can do it.”
- Candidate 2 is equally qualified and able to meet your expectations, but this person says, “I'd love to do this! I'm so excited and eager to join your team and I think I'd be a great fit!”
Which of these two candidates would you want joining your team? Candidate 1 has dipped a toe into the water; he's opened the door but will have to be pulled through it. Candidate 2 has jumped in with both feet; she's opened the door and stepped inside on her own, ready to tackle the opportunity.
If you're not chomping at the bit and ready to burst through the open door with a positive attitude, why are you wasting your time? Why are you wasting the time of the people around you? No one seized anything with apathy; life is too short for you to be half-hearted. Act with passion and purpose.
Once you've made your decision and taken action on the opportunity you have to pursue it and follow-up. If you were selling a product, a solution or a service, would you make your pitch once and then sit back to wait for the buyer to call you back? If you would, you're probably not going to be very successful.
We want people to be interested in us. We want people to make us feel wanted, needed and important. By pursuing the opportunity, you're saying, “I want this, I need this and I think it is important.”
Follow up with your connection to the opportunity. Whether it's a financial investment or a job opening, keep in touch with the person making the offer or opening the door.
Ask these questions to show interest and pursue the opportunity:
- When will you make a decision?
- Who all will be involved in the decision-making process?
- What are you looking for in an ideal partnership?
- What does success look like to you?
- When do we get started?
And if the opportunity doesn't work out, don't get too discouraged. Sometimes a missed opportunity can actually be a good thing. Maybe we weren't as ready as we thought or maybe we need to spend a little more time on our personal development; either way, “no” could really just be “not right now.”
As Inara says in Firefly, one of my favorite sci-fi shows, “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” Leaders look at every challenge with an eye for opportunity. Just because you may not see it at first doesn't mean it isn't there. Whenever opportunity knocks, be prepared to open the door.