As my Summer comes to a close I’ve reflected upon my last few summer’s and realized I’ve had some amazing opportunities. Seriously one opportunity after another. I’ve been fortunate enough to Intern at Differential, experience a Civil Air Patrol encampment as a cadet and then another as a Squadron Executive officer, and so much more. It’s awesome and has completely altered the way I go about life and I’m thankful for every one of them. Have I been lucky with this? Yes. But I also think the way I approach things has helped with this.
This is my approach to finding and making every opportunity count, hope it helps you out!
Identifying an opportunity is quite possibly the most critical step you can take, if you can’t identify the opportunities how are you to capitalize on them? To find opportunities I’ve started valuing every conversation, every walk, every drive, every moment of everyday because you never know when a brief conversation or an introduction can lead you down a road you may have never followed otherwise. Be mindful and constantly pay attention to the details. There are opportunities everywhere.
If something you hear in passing, see on a billboard, or read in skywriting, sounds even remotely interesting or you don’t know what it is just check it out. We live in an age of information, you’re never more than a few clicks away from a world of knowledge. Take out your smartphone and Google whatever it is that sparked your interest. Don’t wait until later (unless you’re driving because using your phone while driving is NOT cool) because if you’re anything like me you’ll forget. You can learn all sorts of amazing things. Even if you’re not interested after you look it up the worst that could happen is you’ve got an extra nugget of knowledge in your noggin.
People aren’t mind readers, I’ve figured that one out. If something seems interesting or you would like to be involved in some way don’t wait for someone else to reach out to you. Send them an email, a message on Facebook, tweet them, whatever it may be just express your interest. If they don’t directly have an opportunity for you maybe they know somebody that does and can connect you with them.
I’m not necessarily talking about feeding the poor here, although that is a great thing to do, but this is more of a self serving volunteerism. It’s meant to mainly benefit you, here’s how.
Get your name and ability out there, become recognizable.
- If you’re actively involved in the community and an opportunity arises that you’re interested in who do you think has a better chance, the person already involved as a volunteer or someone that’s only known by their resume?
Show that you care and are passionate.
- If you’re willing to do things without pay it generally looks pretty good in your favor, simple as that.
Learn and have fun.
- You haven’t made a big commitment, you’re only exploring and learning at this point. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing it’s much easier to move on to something new if you don’t have a monetary stake in something. And if you've chosen to go the College route it's a great way to ensure you've made the right choice with your major/career path.
This is especially helpful for younger people. Volunteering has opened up numerous doors for me that otherwise wouldn’t have opened for a few more years. Unfortunately we’re all too often written off because of our age. Volunteering shows that you care and you’re different. Get your foot in the door.
Where's your Opportunity?
Find your next opportunity and act on it. They surround you and are waiting for you.
I also wanted so say a quick thank you to everyone that has trusted me and given me all of these amazing opportunities. I greatly appreciate each and every one of them.