“Your big opportunity might be right where you are now.”
~American Author Napoleon Hill
Every day opportunity knocks. Do you recognize it, allow it in and leverage the moment? Or, do you let the door close and, later, walk away thinking, “I wish I had said or done something.”
Opportunities rarely appear when we’re looking for them. They’re often camouflaged — hidden in fleeting comments, subtle offers or informal conversation. Or maybe they’re requests that come at a time when you just don’t feel like acting on them. It’s more difficult to find real opportunities advertised in the newspaper or in online job sites. The ones that can develop into something significant often start as hallway conversations, as a compliment or a request for assistance on a project that falls outside of your current responsibilities.
Learn to pick up on and leverage these kinds of cues. Doing so may help you penetrate established networks, including the seemingly impenetrable – “good ole boys network.”
Take advantage of the breaks that come your way. Pry open the doors that are slightly ajar. For example, the next time someone makes a comment about you or your team, gather as much intelligence as you can. Ask the person to tell you more about what she means. If information about organizational changes or new developments in a given functional group are shared listen for specifics. If they drop a hint about perceptions of you, don’t gloss over it, dig for details.
Good questions lead to valuable information. Here are a few stock phrases you can use when opportunity knocks.
- “Please, tell me more.”
- “Say that again. I want to understand.”
- “I’m interested. What particulars can you share?”
Whenever possible, offer yourself up as a touch point for further discussion rather than waiting for another to recognize your interest and/or abilities. It’s little moments like these that can change the trajectory of your career and launch you into a life-altering stage of personal and professional growth.