Many people wait for opportunities, such as the right job, or business lead, to come to them, trusting that they will spot it, floating past in the raging torrent of information that rushes past us on a daily basis. The river of opportunities is bursting with rumours, stories, newspaper articles, social media feeds, contacts and plenty of polluting, timewasting junk too! The river banks are crowded, with competitors fighting for survival, to nab the opportunity before someone else. People may pick a particular river or stream, say a networking group or a jobs website, and they go fishing, with the same rod, bait and lures, time after time. They might get lucky, and they might not; depending on whether they’re standing in the right place at the right time. The river is constantly flowing, and it’s easy to miss opportunities – if you try to catch two fish at the same time, you can easily lose both… you might find yourself up to your waist in water, thinking “how long do I need to wait? I’ll just wait a little longer, until the summer, until I have more money….” and then perhaps you never stop waiting… You can waste an awful lot of time, energy and motivation while you’re standing in the river; you justify your position, after all, isn’t everyone doing the same thing?
So could we be more effective at seizing opportunities?
The answer is found upstream – the river of potential opportunities is made up of lots of little tributaries; bubbling springs of activity; business being done day-to-day in companies and organisations all over the world. In spite of what we may be led to believe, organisations are constantly starting, upskilling, upsizing, downsizing, merging – all in a constant stream of changes which demand new people and skills. So the place to go, when you are looking for work or new business, is to the source… what organisations are the “tributaries” that could benefit from your skills or services, and would be a good fit for you? Who are the people you need to talk to, that have problems to be solved, and are looking for those skills? What bait are you going to use – what is the unique quality and skill that you have that will attract them and deliver value to them?
The advantage of going upstream is that you’re identifying those chances as they arise, when you have more ability to influence what happens next, and best of all… you will be one of the relatively few people who are prepared to go upstream and talk to the people who need your skills. When you do, you’ll be ready and waiting to grab the big fish, with both hands!
Blogger’s Note: I have resisted the temptation to include all the possible puns and wordplays in this post – and there were many– but you can feel free to use them in your comments! Over to you!
Liz Barron, Realize Coaching – www.realize.ie