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Creating Opportunity — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 7th, 2014 Comments off

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In this Year of Opportunity, one of your biggest goals should be create opportunity around you. It may sound odd, but yes, you have the ability to create your own opportunities through your own, direct actions. Creating opportunity requires some work your part, but the results should be more than worth it. Take some of that energy you have spent searching for a job and start searching for — and creating — your own opportunities this year.

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 Books by Douglas E. Welch

Know and become known

The most important part of creating opportunity is to know others and to make yourself known to others. Opportunities come from the people you know, both individually and as part of various groups. It only makes sense that the more people you know the more opportunities you will be exposed to. Too many of us cocoon ourselves away from the world, refusing to interact with others because we feel inadequate, unaccomplished or just plain scared. You must break out of this. You are a unique, capable, interesting individual and you deserve to know and interact with others and they you. Insecurity can trap you in a hole of your own making and actively prevent you from climbing out.

This week, I want you to take some direct action to re-connect and know others. Meet with a friend or family member. Find a new interesting meetup in your area, no matter what the topic, Give yourself permission to explore and re-engage with the world. After my own year of transition, I am having to do the same myself. Sometimes I have to nearly force myself out the door, but I always feel better for having made the effort. Even more, I always benefit from the effort in some way. Each new person I meet, each old friend I reconnect with, is another step towards creating new opportunities.

As well as knowing others, you must also seek to be known. You must share your expertise, your thoughts, your ideas, your feelings with those around you. Sharing develops deep connections with others as it often helps to solve a problem they might have. If you want to truly become a friend with someone, solve a problem for them. Nothing creates a deeper bond immediately and over time. Start blogging. Start sharing great tips and links on Facebook or wherever you prefer to spend your social media time. If you are a musician, find a place to play your music in public — for pay or not. If you are an architect, share your dream designs so that others can be inspired. If you are a caregiver, share your experiences so others can benefit and feel that they are not alone in their challenges. We all have something to share that can help those around us, if we only share it. Be known by your good deeds, your great information, your caring and your conversation.

Stop and consider your opportunities

Many times we let opportunities slip through our fingers without ever considering them opportunities at all. In this world of rush, rush, rush, it becomes even more important to stop and consider opportunities when they occur. If you don’t stop, other thoughts, other actions, other concerns will quickly push them aside and you will lose them.

The next time you think, “Hey, that’s a great idea!”, stop and write it down, note it on your smartphone, scribble it on a napkin, write it on your palm. Do whatever it takes to capture that idea for later consideration. Not every idea will turn into an opportunity, but a certain percentage will — a certain percentage that would have been lost had you not stopped to consider and capture it.

When you start doing this — capturing your ideas and thoughts, you will be amazed by two things. One, you will be amazed at how much information (and opportunity) you have been ignoring in your life and two, you will be amazed by how interesting your life can be, if you only take a moment to notice it. When you are struggling with challenges in your life and career, it can feel like nothing is important anymore. Capturing your ideas and thoughts can help to snap you out of the stupor you might find yourself in and get you back on the track to productivity.

It is a New Year and a new year requires new attitudes, new actions, new approaches to building the career you deserve. This is truly a Year of Opportunity (as every year really is) but we need to recognize that fact and put in some effort to make it the best year possible. Don’t let the past stop you from pursuing the future. Now get out there and start creating opportunity for yourself!


Archive: How is your career story changing over time? — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

August 31st, 2013 Comments off

Career Opportuntiies Logo 2012

Would you read a story or novel where, at the end, nothing has changed? Would you feel anything for a character who has learned nothing over the course of the book? Would you read the next book in the series? I think not. That fact is, change is what makes a great story. We want characters who learn new things and change over time. We want to know more about them. We want to understand their decisions based on past behavior. The same goes for your career. If you aren’t changing, both personally and professionally, why should anyone care about your career?


Books by Douglas E. Welch

We have all seen them — people who got their first job right out of high school and never left. They are doing the same work today that they started doing 10, 15, 20 years ago. This isn’t to say that they are bad people or bad workers, only that the failure to change, for whatever reason, can trap us in our lives and our work. If you want to insure a more successful, and varied, career you need to embrace change and communicate that change to those around you.

In the past, I have talked extensively about developing career stories that can be used to explain your work, and your career desires, to those around you. “Change stories” are one particular type of these stories. In my experience, communicating your career change is as important as change itself. Without it, you may have changed dramatically, but unless others know it, it makes no difference.

So, how do you share the changes in your life with those around you? It is often as simple as opening your mouth. Do you discuss the new books you are reading with others? How about new software, computers and gadgets? What magazines or web sites have you discovered recently? Do you let your friends know when you enjoy one of their recommendations? If not, make a point to start sharing your changes today. Recommend that great book on management to someone who might find it useful. Forward a particularly good, and appropriate, web article to your boss or co-workers. Let those around you know how your knowledge and thoughts are changing over time.

I consider change communication to be one of the most important aspects of my writing, both here and in my blogs. I love sharing neat, new information with people, but it also gives me a chance to show how my thoughts and knowledge are changing over time. This is especially true when I have some form of epiphany that changes something fundamental about my work or life. Perhaps I have stopped recommending a particular piece of software or discovered a new type of cuisine. This makes my life more interesting, both to me and, hopefully, to my readers, friends and family. It is an important aspect of giving my life, and my life story, some excitement. Just like a character in a great novel, it makes people want to know more about me.

To bring this back to the work world, what changes are you communicating to your managers and coworkers? Have you been reading management books lately? Which ones? Did you enjoy them? What lessons did you learn? If you aspire to management, the simple act of sharing your thoughts on these books is enough to plant that idea in your managers mind. “Hmm, we need a new manager for this department. You know, I was talking about the latest Tom Peter’s book with Douglas the other day and he really seemed to know his stuff. Maybe we should ask him.” While this is an idealized scenario, you can clearly see how communicating the changes in your life can plant the seed that could grow into something much bigger.

Want to be a programmer? Start talking programming with your co-workers. Want to move into advertising, or graphics, or anything else, start sharing your thoughts, reading and learning with those around you. Tell your story frequently and well to all who will listen. Share the story of your life and career changes. Let others know where you are headed and what you want. If you do, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the new opportunities that come your way, both in your career and in your life.


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