Some people seem to have all the luck. It’s as if every time they turn around the right door just opens for them. Opportunity just follows them around like bad luck follows the Cleveland Browns. But is it really chance at play here, or is there some way that we can become more “opportunity prone.”
The good news is that opportunity isn’t just chance. That’s not to deny the existence of dumb luck, or that it does pop up every now and again. But most people get opportunities for one simple reason, they have what I call a “prepare before it’s there” mentality. Simply put, they are ready.
This mentality not only means that one can take advantage of opportunities that they couldn’t have before, it also means that we can create opportunity for ourselves.
The sports world makes for a great example. How many backups talk about practicing like they’re the starter? How many then actually back it up? Some people, when called upon, have prepared so well that they have fundamentally changed the nature of what’s happening. Mediocre preparation means that you have an opportunity to start while the starter is out. Excellent preparation means that you have an opportunity to take the starting gig. You can raise the ceiling and change the nature of the opportunity before it even arrives.
We all want to have as many opportunities in our lives as possible. Here are a few tips to make yourself more opportunity prone.
- Invest in yourself. It could be as simple as reading books or as grand as continuing your formal education. Other options included taking a few specific classes, joining an association affiliated with your interests or field of work, taking a leadership course or a certification program. It’s up to you. By pushing yourself and growing beyond your current role you are priming yourself for opportunity.
- Act a step above your current position. This doesn’t necessarily refer solely to a professional position or job title. It can apply to your personal life too. Think about how someone a little bit “higher” would speak, dress, and respond to the situations that you encounter each day. Then work to model that behavior. How do you carry yourself? When you walk into a room, before you even open your mouth, what are people thinking about you? Be confident and professional and you will stand out.
- Build your network beyond your current role. Don’t just network sideways. Network up, over, and across. This can be intimidating but taking initiative to start a conversation with the boss, the boss’s boss, or a different department, will make you stand out. It puts you on the radar. So many opportunities come simply because somebody involved is aware of you and you have made a positive impression on them.
In truth, opportunity has much less to do with what’s going on outside of you and much more to do with what’s going on inside of you. Your mindset and effort are the difference makers. How will you make yourself more opportunity prone?