May 11, 2011

5 Tips: Don't Wait for Opportunities. Create Them.

"Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been." – Wayne Gretzky

Nobody great ever achieved success by waiting around and hoping for opportunities to come to them. Sitting around and thinking things are just going to happen is a recipe for mediocrity. Today, more than ever, we have the tools and knowledge available to us to find and make things happen on our own with a little help. I'd like to share a few humble tips on how to create your own opportunities. So "do it yourself".

1) Don't regurgitate. Innovate.

No matter what you do, do it well. Be as original as you can. Good, original work and talent should always attract attention if sold well. Whatever you are doing, there's almost certainly someone else doing it better and faster. Try to set yourself apart by innovating. Keep up to date on trends. Incorporate new ideas, daily topics, and current trends to keep relevant and on top of the changing world.

2) Try new things. Fail and learn.

When you do things for yourself, you have the needed ability to fail. You learn most from your failures. The vast majority of successful people failed early and often and were able to gain perspective and experience from their early missteps. Getting out of your comfort zone is essential in order to maintain a fresh perspective on your work. This is much easier to do when you're not accountable to someone else other than yourself.

3) Meet new people. Collaborate and work with others.

Even Mark Zuckerberg needed help (despite his claims to the contrary). Meeting others in your chosen profession is essential. Those around you at the same career level will be integral to your success. Bonds built together as newcomers are strong and you need peers and equals to bounce ideas off of and learn from in a safe environment. Relationships built on mutual collaboration often bear great fruit.

4) Observe and report. Follow trends.

Watching what other professionals do closely is a great way figure out what you want to should do. Often listening to little everyday conversations that may seem mundane or ordinary are a true window and reflection on different industries and workplaces. Attention to small details is a great way to show your adept perception. Observe and follow trends, but innovate and do new things based on what you see.

5) Do something real or tangible.

Doing many different things and working in new media, it can be difficult to explain succinctly what you do in a short introduction. Make sure you have a real product or portfolio you can show people. Or better yet, have your work online for people to find easily and readily. One thing I hate about the digital age is how everyone can claim they do whatever they feel like it. It doesn't matter what you do or call yourself, make sure you have something real or tangible to show people. Results matter.

When you depend on outside factors and other people for your career or success, you give up control and freedom. Doing things for yourself can definitely lead to new, interesting opportunities. Be open and available. You have no excuses. It's your life.

Source | Cherry Vega / TEDxVancouver 2010

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