Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Secret to Spotting Hidden Opportunities

"That is one of the tricks of opportunity. It has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat." Napoleon Hill - Think and Grow Rich

Want to pounce on the next opportunity, but keep missing them until you spot them with 20/20 hindsight? The solution is simple.

Stop looking at life the way you always have done. Change your perspective, change your view of the world and the opportunities will show up.

Take a basic example. You decide to buy a new car. You spend some time considering your options, number of seats, capacity, estate/saloon/mpv/sports model. You even think of a preferred colour. You make your choice, go out and buy it. All of a sudden, you find similar models to yours everywhere, when previously there were none to be seen.

Take another example - moving house. As soon as you privately decide to change where you live, you will be inundated with To Let and For Sale notices, even before you've let an estate agent know your requirements.

Now apply that to your future. Make a decision that you want a better life, and opportunities for advancement will appear. They just may not be in the form you expect them.

I've proven this to myself over the past few months. I applied for two jobs where I work, both promotions. In one case, I made it as far as the first part of the selection process. In the second case, I'm still waiting to be told "Thanks, but no thanks", let alone invited to interview. In both cases, there were two common factors - the internal recruitment process is skewed towards whoever the management see as the "obvious" candidate and the HR administration process is flawed. I'm still waiting for the feedback I requested over 3 months ago for the first interview, for example.

Now, I could bitch and moan about bias, sexism (I was the only female applicant in both cases) and blinkered corporate thinking. That wouldn't get me anywhere.

Instead, I took a good long look at what I wanted out of my life and realised that, if I want to steadily build up my own business until my business income can replace my salary, I'm actually in the best position to do so. If I got promoted, my day job workload would increase and I would be expected to put more hours in. Staying at my current level frees me to do more after work and allows me to organise my day so I can do more in my breaks.

I found my hidden opportunity, right in front of me.

What hidden opportunities are waiting for you?