“Opportunity knock at the door only once.”—(Chinese Proverb)
Opportunities usually arrive at our doorsteps unexpectedly sometimes with a bang that scares everything out of us. Accepting opportunities is more about equipping oneself with a sense of openness and readiness to acquire and introduce new learnings into your knowledge bank, and less about the changes associated with same. Many of my colleagues and friends have now regretted not accepting opportunities, some of which would have landed them in international spaces. My mantra has always been one advanced by one of my former CEOs…say yes and figure out everything else after.
Opportunities are missed in many ways such as refusing to answer calls from unknown numbers…this is a common practice which I am yet to understand. Answering an unknown number once landed me a contract with a client in Spain. If your phone rings take the call and if you can't, then ensure that the call is returned. Some situations include avoiding responding to emails as well as properly responding to emails.
Another huge mistake made by many is seeking advice from the wrong people on whether or not they should accept the opportunity; in most instances these people advance all the negatives to show why you should not accept it. Global dynamics have changed and continue to evolve rapidly. The very young generation—under 18—are doing great things particularly in the realm of entrepreneurship, something that was only visible in the adult world about ten years ago. So, if an opportunity is missed today, more than likely that opportunity would be grasped by someone else. Whilst new opportunities would show again, it's best to be at all times prepared for change and renewal, as those are part of one's personal growth and development. Two weeks ago, I wrote about the challenge of internal fears which is another stumbling block that prevents individuals from pursuing their dreams including acceptance of opportunities.
Having an open mind to accept change and opportunities requires some other changes to be made. Start by being proactive as opposed to reactive; a proactive mindset is extremely positive and better prepares you to accept sensibly. Avoid infusing negativity into the process and allow your positive energies to flow into your decision. Create a mind of readiness and alertness that allows you to equip yourself with the skills necessary for achieving your goals which should always be clearly defined; harnessing any new opportunity would require updated skill sets particularly in the area of social media marketing and management. Having a pool of IT skills that are current, positions you to respond to opportunities that are tech-savvy whenever they knock at your door.
Don't limit your eyes, ears, and minds to common spaces such as your current workspace and/or country as opportunities sometimes travel in the air before reaching your door; they may come from an international recruiter who may be engaged in scouting and your profile popped up first in their search. It is also important to have your levels of confidence peaked to capacity as that's the beginning. Though you'd still undergo the interview process, the fact that you were pre-selected suggests that you fit the required job profile; always ensure that both your resume and LinkedIn profile remain current with the inclusion of all your skill sets coupled with work samples.
Many people lament that they're looking for the right opportunity which at times can be viewed as avoidance, but the concept is far from that as it's not about expecting opportunities but rather keeping an open mind and maintaining optimal levels of preparedness. Perfection is rare, so it's foolhardy to expect all opportunities to be perfect. Like everything else, a single opportunity sometimes has the potential to evolve into other magnificent things hence it is important to immediately pull the positives before the negatives from any opportunity that knocks which can blind the larger potential and vision. Keep in mind that the future evolves around resources that are available today particularly with the fusion of new innovations and technologies.
Appreciate and apply the learnings from previous mistakes and failures which can be of extreme value in making new decisions to chart your future development. Timing must also be factored into any decision and is a necessary question that must be advanced when opportunity knocks.
Adriana Sandrine Isaac-Rattan is President of the International Women's Resource Network.