How many opportunities have I missed because I just wasn’t paying attention to the world around me?  I can think of a handful right off the bat and there is no telling what opportunities I missed and had no clue!

Scary.

If we are going to grow and succeed in our current roles or if we are looking for a new career, it all boils down to identifying the opportunity. How do we do this?

I recently presented to a group of volunteer student coaches and their student coachee’s on  the importance of being aware of opportunities and how that awareness is connected to success.

The first step is to be able to see the opportunity as it presents itself.

Being aware and having an open mindset is the key.

In order to notice the opportunities as they come into our life ( and exit just as quickly) we must train ourselves to look for the signs. This can be tricky at first and takes patience and practice. At times,they present themselves as questions? The question may be directed to us: “Do you know how to set up a network online?”  They often are the questions we are asked repeatedly by others.  “Can you help me set up that spreadsheet again?”

Many times others see things in ourselves that we don’t see!   Be alert to the question.

Some opportunities present themselves as a question that we continually ask ourselves.  I have been fascinated for years about why people don’t change when faced with the need to change. Take a diet for example. Everyone needs to go on a diet at some point in their life – but why is it so hard when the time presents itself? I followed up on my nagging question about “change” and it led to graduate school. I went back to school and got a Master’s in Organizational Development. My own question ultimately led to a change in my career. That was an opportunity that was presented as a question I couldn’t squash.

Sometimes we need to create an opportunity. Yes, it is okay to create an opportunity. This is a tried and true way to discover what strengths and interests could be hiding just beneath the surface. Take on a new project at work that solves a problem. Volunteer and provide a service that meets a need. Be alert an open your mind to the experience. Is that the next opportunity?

Mind Tools (www.mindtools.com) posted an excellent tool about identifying opportunities (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/career-opportunities.htm). It was spot on. They listed the key points as:

1. Have the right mindset.
2. Seek opportunities.
3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. (my personal favorite)
4. Identify other factors that are important to you.
5. Narrow your choices.
6. Prepare, and take action.

This is an ongoing journey and could change direction as we move up the path to our Peak. Don’t be put off. Keep a journal. Be aware of all that is presented. Do the research and network.

Your success and happiness depends on it!

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