Opportunities are not always lying around waiting to be grabbed, but sometimes they are. However, they are fleeting and they don’t care if you are ready or not. They require you to take initiative, step out of your comfort zone and apply yourself.
Only meaningful actions will translate into possibilities for you. Consider the soil; it doesn’t care about your need for food. It cares about your initiative to plant the seed. The key to creating and attracting more opportunities is definitive action.
How do you position yourself for the right opportunities though? Nigerians call it ‘packaging’. You’ve got to work on yourself and your environment to attract the right opportunities.
Here are some things you can do.
- Look Inwards, know yourself.
This a foundational step that you must take. To know yourself means knowing what you desire, what your personality traits are, where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and how to use these to your advantage. Take time to scrutinize yourself and understand the things that make you tick. Self-awareness will open your mind to your most intimate motivations and that of others towards you. It will also help you to decide what opportunities you desire. Only by knowing what you seek, can you go after it. Visualize and write down where you want to be and the opportunities you need to get there.Then set SMART goals that can help you get there. Goals help you stay on course and on schedule. Goals also help you filter out distractions along the way, so you can stay alert and focused on the important things. Without clarity of where you are going, you may end up somewhere you’d rather not be.
- Explore, Learn and Network
The world is filled with opportunities but you’ll never learn of them or grab them if you don’t leave your comfort zone. Attend free events, conferences or seminars in the industry you’re looking for opportunities in. Network, introduce yourself, tell people what you can offer – some of the best opportunities fall on your laps when you least expect it. If you’re trying to meet someone who you don’t have direct access to, find a mutual friend who does, and request an introduction. Sometimes, you may even have to be introduced to the person who will introduce you to them. Don’t falter, determination produces results.
- Surround yourself with inspiring people
The attitudes of the people around you play a big role in shaping your attitude as well as the quality of opportunities that you find. Your circle can either push you towards your dream or keep you stagnant. Their lifestyles can either motivate you or discourage you. To get ahead in life and attract the best opportunities, choose wisely whom you spend most of your time with. Surround yourself with positive, inspiring people. A continued association with positive, supportive and inspiring people will influence your future because you subconsciously start to model these behaviours. Likewise, negative people significantly impact their surroundings, often lacking ambition and spreading pessimistic thoughts. So, make sure to start and nurture relationships with people whose lifestyles and choices inspire you to do better.
- Let your work do the work
Are you an amazing writer? Then create a blog and start publishing articles or submit to other magazines or journals. Do you have an eye for fashion and style? Start sharing blogs or vlogs sharing your fashion tips and tutorials. Are you amazing at graphic design? Are you a badass digital marketer? Share some of your coolest tips and tricks online. The more information you put out there, the more people will recognize your name and think of you as an expert. You must position yourself as an expert in your field, to be recognized as such. By showing that you are great at what you do, your chances for getting opportunities and offers will increase exponentially. Make sure to keep track of all your work, content, accomplishments in a portfolio, blog or an online resume.
- Remain Open to alternate Opportunities
You might set out with a goal in mind of exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it, but rarely will life work out exactly how you think it will. Open yourself up to alternate opportunities that may have not been on your radar.
For instance, a writer can go on to take a corporate communications or brand management job where they will still be telling stories with their skills. A graphic designer may find themselves accepting an opportunity to do UI/UX design. It might even be a complete pivot from what you wanted when you set out, but the best opportunities aren’t always what you envisioned. Sometimes opportunities that use your skills are different than what you expect.
Phidelia is a writer and communications manager based in Lagos. She loves chopping life, and spends her free time thinking of new ways to enjoy life. Tweet at her @the_phidelia if you enjoyed reading this.