leadership incorporated blog

February 22, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: Creating Opportunity — What NOT To Do

Everyone I talk to is looking for opportunities.

My clients in transition are looking for job opportunities.

My clients who are in leadership roles in organizations are looking for business opportunities.

What I usually hear at the beginning of my client relationships is that there are so few opportunities right now.

I want to propose to you that this is not true.

Consider the possibility that there is, in fact, more opportunity than ever before. Because there is more need than ever before. And where there is need, there is opportunity.

The challenge in tapping into the potential in today’s environment is that people and businesses don’t necessarily see the opportunity in their situation. They don’t always know what their need is or that there is a way to get it met. Sometimes they don’t even recognize that they have a need.

To tap into the abundance of opportunities that surround us, we need to make a fundamental shift in perspective. To be successful, we need to STOP looking for fully formed jobs, clients looking for our services and other opportunities to apply for and win – and start taking responsibility for co-creating opportunities from scratch.

Following are 5 huge mistakes I hear smart  and savvy people making every day that PREVENT them from creating incredible opportunities.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, if you want to create opportunity, DO NOT:

  1. Start by compromising on your vision, your title, your salary, or what’s possible.
  2. Be willing to do absolutely anything to get work/business
  3. Continue to do what isn’t working
  4. Blame yourself
  5. Repeat over and over out loud and silently the stories of how bad things are out there

For 5 things you should do, tune in next week.


  1. Thank you, this was actually a very interesting idea and one we should all think about. Too many times in the job search, we are constant told what we are doing wrong: not enough networking, not trying hard enough, etc. We are told we should do ANYTHING to get work, any work, rather than be unemployed.

    Thanks for the different perspective.

    Comment by missdisplaced — February 22, 2010 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

    • Hi Misdisplaced!
      (Great handle, by the way) Thanks so much for your comment. My experience is that A LOT of what we are constantly told not only doesn’t support us, but actually sends us in the opposite direction of what would be most effective!

      Case in point, being willing to do anything simply doesn’t work and here’s why: I regularly have people in my network reach out to me and say “Keep your eyes open for opportunities for me. I’ll do anything.” When people in a hiring position send me opportunities, they never say they’re looking for someone who can do anything. So, let’s say I get job specs for a manager level position. They are usually looking for people with specific experience, knowledgebase, etc. I refer the people in my network who I remember are looking for a managerial positions and who have qualifications that largely match the specs. The person who said they would be willing to do anything doesn’t even come to mind. The more specific you can be about what you do and what kind of position you are looking for, the more likely people who know you will be able to refer you.

      From the other side of the equation, people who are hiring are for the most part looking for specialization. Our workforce is getting more and more specialized. They want you to know what you’re doing and be really good at it. Coming from the perspective of being willing to do anything leaves them with the impression that you don’t do any one thing at a deeper level.

      We aren’t talking about being too picky here. We’re talking about being specific and focused.

      Comment by sharon rich — February 22, 2010 @ 5:37 pm | Reply

  2. I liked what you are you saying. I might put it this way .. our opportunity is to find opportunity.

    Comment by Ted Saul — February 22, 2010 @ 10:36 pm | Reply

  3. Well said, Ted!

    Comment by sharon rich — February 22, 2010 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

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