Ambitious. Entrepreneurial. Motivated. Engaged. Networked. These descriptors define today’s success makers, people who don’t wait for opportunity to find their door, but who actively seek and create their own reality.
Opportunity creators possess three basic traits:
1. They say “Yes” more than they say “No.”
2. They don’t let fear become an obstacle.
3. They are willing to take a step down to achieve their goals.
Say “YES!” If you believe that opportunity is everywhere, you will find it. Open you mind, heart, eyes and ears. When an interesting prospect lands on your plate, even one you’re not quite sure about, say, “Yes!” Take that risk. Doing so might give you more of a challenge than you anticipated, but that challenge translates into experience. At the very least, you will expand your network of personal and professional contacts and gain a better understanding of the type of work you enjoy - or don’t enjoy - doing.
Kick fear to the curb. Saying “Yes!” almost always comes with a side of fear. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is hard. It’s scary. There is usually some rejection involved. But it's also pretty exciting. I recently made the decision to expand my freelance services by pitching articles to publications outside of my realm of expertise. I love researching projects, interviewing sources, crafting pitches and writing stories. But hitting the “Send” button and releasing that pitch to unfamiliar editors terrifies me. The fear of rejection can stop me cold. I give myself a pep talk before I send each e-mail, and remind myself that doing something is better than doing nothing. But it’s still heart-stopping frightening.
Take a step back. This one is tough, but if you really want to take create an opportunity, you might have to take a step down. I cut my editing and writing teeth in the print publishing world, and now I’m transitioning into digital media, social media and marketing. When my contract position with a local company ended, I went to my boss and expressed interest in working as a “floater” in the marketing department, where I could learn about web publishing, advertising, video creation and the like. Since my knowledge in these areas was limited, I offered a lower rate than what I would normally charge. I submitted a formal proposal that outlined how my current experience could benefit the company, and we are currently in the process of working out the details. It helped that I began reading recommended digital marketing blogs and books so I could offer practical ideas tailored to meet the company’s specific needs.
What about you? What tips do you have for creating your own opportunities, be they personal or professional?
Wherever you are, whatever you're doing ... Keep It Real.