Making the Most of an Opportunity


52531571_sOften we are faced with an unexpected opportunity; a chance to meet with someone we admire, to ask the panel a pointed question, to put our name forward for a special project. The question becomes; how do we handle the opportunity?

 In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact. Les Brown

Norma Rist, an award winning entrepreneur and business coach of million dollar business owners, tells the story of an opportunity she once had while working at Pepsico. She was the only female leader in a sea of men and she was scheduled to attend a conference dinner in which hundreds of employees would be in attendance. She knew that the CEO of the company would be in there and that she might have the opportunity to meet him as part of the evening.

She recognized the value of making the most of a chance meeting during a social event and wanted to prepare in case the opportunity arose that she could ask a question and perhaps become memorable to the CEO.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve learned that I have to open myself up to all opportunities. Maybe I’ll get burned and not meet the right people, but I won’t know until I do it. Selena Gomez

I don’t remember exactly what she decided to say to the CEO, but what struck me was the fact that she’d given thought to the fact that an opportunity might exist and she wanted to be prepared. As it turns out, she did meet him, did engage him in conversation. This was over forty years ago and yet to this day, Norma remembers the significance of being prepared and of that opportunity of which she took full advantage.

In the article Pitching WeWork’s CEO Adam Neumann In A Manhattan Stairwell, Autumn Adeigbo, entrepreneur and fashion business owner, saw a similar opportunity and ran with it. Her story is an interesting one and one in which many may relate.

Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them. Ann Landers

Autumn attended a session in which the keynote speaker was someone she admired, had met several years past and she wanted to connect after the speech and pitch him her business. However, he was surrounded by other audience members and she thought her moment was passed. But something made her tap him on the shoulder as he was leaving the ballroom.

As he turned to leave I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “What about me?”. He responded, “You’re walking with me to my car”. I mentally did a fist pump and thought, ‘Yes!’.

She saw an opportunity and she took it.

NATHALIE THOMPSON offers 3 Tips for Making the Most of an Opportunity. 

FEEL THE FEAR, BUT DO IT ANYWAY – Richard Branson has a wonderful quote: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” I love this quote because it’s a reminder not to let fear dictate your path; even if you are unsure about your ability to do something, if a golden opportunity floats your way, grab onto it and don’t let your fear scare you away.

Be prepared. If you are planning on attending a conference, check out the speaker list and see if there is someone you might like to connect with. Send them a LinkedIn invitation before the event and let them know you are looking forward to their speech. Then prepare what you might say if you do have the opportunity to meet. If you could ask them a question – what would it be?

Keep your ears open at work. If you hear of a special project that interests you, find out all you can and see what it would take to participate.

Remember that your elevator speech also works at the water cooler and in the break room. Be on the look out for opportunities to be memorable – in a good way – with those in positions of influence that might help your career advancement.

Don’t wait for opportunity to knock – find a door that interests you and open it yourself!

IMG_5268cJJ DiGeronimo, keynote speaker for women, based in Cleveland, presents keynote addresses on women in leadership, diversity in business and advancement for women.

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JJ DiGeronimo

Speaker, Author & Thought Leader for Women in Tech & Girls in STEM.

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