“What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.”
Benjamin Franklin Fairless
I came across the above quote while researching information on the topic of opportunity and it struck a chord with me as it perfectly aligns with what I believe. I am convinced that many of the opportunities for success that come our way are totally down to us. We attract or repel opportunity like a magnet depending on the way we see and respond to events.
If you carefully study the four essential ingredients for successful achievement listed above you will notice that each requires the kind of mind that looks for and creates opportunity. Choosing a career, giving it your best and becoming a member of the team are all dependent on having a positive mindset toward opportunity.
Let’s look at each one.
Choose a career you love
Why would anyone not want to get paid doing the type of work they love? Yet not everyone who wants to, does. Pursuing a career you love takes time and effort, especially if it’s in a competitive field. An opportunistic mindset can help, for example, if you’re just starting out in your career and lack the experience you need to get the job you want. How about taking a job where you can build transferable skills? Or seeking out work experience, voluntary work or even freelance work? Find ways to be ready at the door when the job opportunity eventually knocks.
Give it your best
If you want to get ahead you need to be the type of person that sees even setbacks, delays and failures as an opportunity to give your best. Where those around you see problems you must look for possibilities and then be prepared to put in the hard work to get the result you want. Don’t do just enough to get by as this may shut the door to career progression. Always focus on what you CAN do and have to offer. Then give things your best, even if the situation looks dire.
A neglected opportunity is lost forever, and past omissions can never be supplied by future diligence. Therefore, work while it is called day.
Use your time wisely and don’t despise the day of small things. Many people overlook the chance to take ordinary events and turn them into something great. For example, you may be surprised at what can happen if you choose to go the extra mile for a customer, surprise a colleague with information they needed, or share ideas at a meeting that you’d usually had kept to yourself. You may become just the person to take on new tasks and responsibilities.
Be a member of the team
Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’
Team-players make projects happen and therefore this is an essential skill for anyone who aspires to be successful. Colleagues, clients, service users, customers, managers and suppliers will all draw on your team-play skills. Team-playing skills will also help you to fit into a workplace culture even if you are largely working alone. Whichever way you look at it, becoming a good team-player requires a mindset that looks for and responds to opportunities to work well with others so you can achieve that shared goal.
To become a team-player you must be the sort of person who seeks the opportunity to help others. If you do that you will inadvertently be creating opportunities for others to do the same for you.
So, what type of person gets ahead? The type of person who seeks and creates opportunity rather than expect others to create it for them. These are the type of employees employers look for. You might describe them as entrepreneurial, risk-takers, team-players, resilient folk. By seeking out opportunity they minimise the chances of career failure.