There are countless opportunities all around you just begging for you to take advantage of them. But unless you have put yourself in a position to 1) recognize them, and 2) take advantage of them, chances are you will never even know they exist. Many prime opportunities come as referrals from people who trust you and believe you are ready and capable to make the most of them. But if you haven’t established those kinds of trusted relationships, you’ll never be offered the opportunity.
Here are a few things you can do to increase your chances of being tapped for opportunities:
- Let your trusted relationships know that you are open to new opportunities and have the capacity, the willingness, the required skills sets and the work ethic to take them on.
- Network constantly to find the people who are ‘in the know’ about great opportunities. Build relationships with them and earn their trust.
- Show initiative or your entrepreneurial side by developing special projects of your own that will put you in a better position to receive.
- Help others first. Volunteer with a nonprofit. Get involved in your community. People trust others who are are giving back instead of just taking.
- Take a leadership role in an activity. Opportunities that require good leaders go to those who have demonstrated good leadership qualities.
- Go beyond phone calls and group online meetings to build a relationship. If possible, take people out for lunch or coffee. Get to know them personally as well as professionally. People refer their friends before they refer someone they’ve casually met.
- Know your strengths, weaknesses and limits. Be honest about what you can and can’t do. That doesn’t mean you can’t stretch a little. But you never want to get the reputation as someone who over promises or over commits.
- Refer people you trust to opportunities that you have or that come your way. What goes around, comes around.
- Always genuinely offer to help before you ask for anything for yourself. It endears you to others when they know you sincerely care about them.
The bottom line: Your break is waiting for you. It doesn’t have to be a matter of just happening to be in the right place at the right time. It’s a matter of deliberately putting yourself there – smack dab in front of the opportunity and/or the door openers.