Take a look around. Think for a moment — how many times have you said to yourself, “I had that idea years ago!” when you see a commercial for a product you thought of in the past? Or how many times have you thought about a missed opportunity you didn’t take, one that would make your life different, in big or small ways, had you chased it when it was presented?
Those little moments, those nagging thoughts, can help you learn from missed opportunities and take advantage of new ones when they come along.
The same goes for your career: It’s possible to expand your job prospects if you just know where to look and if you take a moment to consider what’s sitting right there.
Here are some ways to find and utilize new opportunities:
1. Learn more.
Read books and blogs, listen to experts, ask questions. People learn concepts, techniques, and get inspired by listening to people talk. That’s how we relate to each other, and it’s how we can have little moments of inspiration. If you get that “lightbulb” feeling when someone tells you a story about a recent success or professional development, make a note of it. Think about the conversation and what struck you about it. How can you create a similar situation in your life? In your career? Build on it.
2. Get out of your own way.
We’ve all seen the quote attributed to Einstein — insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you look for job opportunities in the same places or use the same few keywords when searching online, you’ll keep coming up with the same kinds of jobs. Odds are, you might not want that kind of work anymore and are looking for new ways to use your skills. Try something new and push yourself to do something different and you might end up pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Don’t limit yourself to what’s worked before.
3. Don’t wait for something to fall into your lap.
You won’t find a great new job by hoping for it. It’s incumbent on you to do things to make something happen. If you have an idea of the kind of work you’d like to do, actively seek out people with those positions. Talk to them. Ask lots of questions. See how their experience differs from yours, then go about adding to your skillset. Being passive never helped anyone.
4. Picture where you want to be, then go backwards.
Everyone has an idea of their dream job. It might be feasible; it might not. But think about the title of the person in that job, what their qualifications might be, the steps they might have taken to get there. Would they need special training? Would they have to have certain kinds of experiences? Are those kinds of training and experience you’d be willing to get? If so, go for it! Find ways to make it happen and start working in that direction.
Good things come to those who wait; better things happen for those who put in the work and don’t allow opportunities to pass them by. Don’t let previous practices and attitudes hold you back from finding new ways to work, new paths to explore, and new chances to change your life.