Everyone hears about that person who is “in the right place at the right time.” Maybe you know someone who seems to be that person all of the time. We have those friends who walk right into the perfect job and achieve the right promotions as if they have a crystal pointing them in the right direction. They get awarded the best projects and their presentations get praise and standing ovations from the special guests who showed up to hear them. How do they do that?
It’s not fate or a great gene pool. It’s not an accident. It’s not even a lucky star. People who enjoy consistent success know what it takes to make great opportunities happen. Change a few habits and people might be wondering how you get so many opportunities, too.
It’s true. You don’t need luck if you can make things happen; you need strategy. Simply stated, strategy is a realistic plan to move forward by taking advantage of the opportunities that suit your unique abilities. It’s a matter of having control. It takes time and some attention, but buying a lottery ticket takes that and money, too.
Want to make good things happen for you? Here are seven habits that make great opportunities happen.
1. Pay attention
Value curiosity and collect information. Make a habit of interacting with your environment. Notice things that happen around you. People who notice things know more than people who don’t.
- Notice the kind of preparation and responses people value.
- Notice how you can make processes and meetings work better.
- Notice what makes people’s lives easier, faster and more meaningful.
- Notice ways that you can add value without taking something away from those around you.
Develop a habit of paying attention. You’ll grow as a person and you’ll become a natural resource to the people who work with you. It will become natural for them to think of you when new opportunities happen.
2. Think of your work as important
No matter how dull, uninteresting, or seemingly useless the project, assume a higher purpose is driving it. Bring your best talents and most dedicated attitude to it. What you think changes how you feel and what you do. People will respond to the importance you place on the work that you’re executing. Develop a habit of honoring your work. People will place more value on the work you do and start to look for opportunities where they might use your higher-level abilities.
3. Be aware of the potential of your impact
The way you look, the smile you give, the way you answer on your cellphone—each causes a response in someone you might never be told. Everything you do has an impact. When you make decisions, think them through to understand how they will affect other people. Develop a habit of considering how your actions affect the people around you. People will see that you make work easier, rather than making more work for them.
4. Imagine opportunities everywhere you look
Lucky people know that opportunity is always present. Look for ideas and trends that match your interests and your skill set. Bend and twist those ideas to make them uniquely yours. Develop a habit of looking at everything to see how you might improve it—how you’ll make it more fun, faster, cooler, friendlier, easier, quieter, more musical, lighter, more romantic, more exciting, more inviting, more anything. Choose the opportunities that benefit other people and they will support your offer to take advantage of an opportunity.
5. Make yourself a magnet for jobs you do well
Be generous offering your help and counsel. When people help you, suggest your best skills as a way you might return the favors. Be on alert for the tiniest ways to match your best work with what the people around you might be doing. Talk about your favorite projects. Develop a habit of letting people know how much you love doing what you do well. People get impressed by folks who love their work and want to help.
6. Count and record the opportunities that suit you
Small ideas and opportunities have a way of getting bigger. Research shows that things we watch and measure get bigger and more plentiful. Develop a habit of attending to what suits you. People will notice that you record ideas and opportunities. They’ll start listening and looking to find more. Soon you’ll have a network of people who are offering you ideas they’ve collected for you.
When an opportunity is set before you, don’t hesitate. Take the opportunity and use it to grow the skills that got you that far. You know which opportunities fit your interests and skills and which don’t. Develop a habit of taking on new opportunities as a way of growing. Be clear that you’ll always be noticing and learning and people will feel secure in offering you opportunities that grow with you.
So if you want to be the lucky someone, you can make great opportunities happen. Develop the seven habits that will get you seeing opportunities and other people seeing you. Once you start, you might be surprised who starts pitching in to help you.