How To Become An Opportunity Digger

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how to be an opportunity digger

How To Become An Opportunity Digger

Does it seem like opportunities fall into some people’s laps and not others?  Have you ever wondered why?  The truth is, in today’s working world, to get an opportunity to advance your career, you need to become an opportunity digger.  This means being the one looking and creating opportunities for yourself.

skillsOur CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn where she interviewed VP of Marketing and Best-Selling Author, Maya Grossman.

They shared tips and personal stories about the importance of learning how to become an opportunity digger.  This Soulcast Media | LIVE event is brought to you by our amazing sponsors at Sabobatage.

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Opportunity Digger

Many people were taught that if you want to move up the ladder, if you want to progress, you need to do your job and wait your turn. Or, you need to convince your manager to give you an opportunity.  Unfortunately, this gives all of the power to someone else.  This means someone else is responsible for your success and not you.  Instead, you need to change your mindset and create your own opportunities. Being an opportunity digger is one of the ways Maya says you can become invaluable at work. 

Below are three strategies to help you become an opportunity digger.


1. Know What You Are Looking For

To become an opportunity digger, you need to understand what you are looking for. You can’t just say, “I want opportunities!” You need to dig deeper. What kind of opportunity do you want?  Do you want leadership experience, do you want to learn a new profession? You need to be specific about what you are looking for.  This is important because it will help you focus on a specific goal.

You can do a few things to help you figure out your next step. 

  • Make Time – Set up 30 minutes on your calendar to ask yourself, what is the next opportunity I need to create? Be really conscious about it. Two things happen when you are very conscious.  One, what you think about is what your brain focuses on. For example, if you continually tell yourself, I want to be a leader.  You will start to see opportunities to become a leader. This is not because those opportunities weren’t there before, it’s because your brain knows what it needs to look for and will start showing you those opportunities. And two, the more you think about it, the more you tell other people.  And when you begin to tell other people, they help you create those opportunities. 
  • Make A Plan – Once you’ve decided on the next opportunity you’d like to find, you’ll need to make a plan.  A plan will help you take actionable steps to achieve your goal.  For example, if the next opportunity you want to find is showcasing your leadership capabilities, you’ll need to write a plan to find those opportunities.  For example, you could make a list of leadership opportunities your company currently offers.  Is there a mentorship program you could take part in?  Mentoring someone could show leadership.  Or maybe your superior has asked for someone to take the lead on an upcoming project.  You can offer to take the lead.  Whatever your next step is – make a plan and a list of ways to achieve it.
  • Communicate – To make your opportunity a reality, you will need to clearly and effectively communicate your ideas to others.  This means, telling your colleagues what you want.  This also can mean telling your superiors what you want.  When you tell others, you are expanding your opportunity net.  For example, if your colleague knows you want to get into a leadership position and hear about a role in another department, they can recommend you. Clear communication will help you as you go after your next opportunity.

How To Become An Opportunity DiggerWhen you know exactly where you want to go and focus on those opportunities, you will be much more likely to see them when they arise.


2. Create Your Opportunity

Sometimes your next opportunity isn’t readily available.  If this is the case, you will need to create your own opportunity.  This means considering your next move, and figuring out how you can make it happen within or outside of your current role or company. During the Souclast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared a story about how she knew she wanted to focus more on business and interviewing people from other companies.  She pitched this idea to her boss at the time, and although they didn’t have the resources to give her, she was willing to take it on during her own time.  This eventually led to her having her own business show, but she did have to create the opportunity for herself. 

If you want to create your own opportunities, you will need to consider the following:

  • Expect To Give Extra – The truth is, creating your own opportunities is going to take some extra time or effort.  For example, if you’ve decided your next opportunity is getting a job that requires a master’s degree, you will have to go back to school.  And that’s okay!  Every bit of effort and time you give towards getting your master’s puts you one step closer to your new job goal.
  • Initiate A Project – One way to create your own opportunities is to initiate a project.  This is especially true if you don’t see the opportunity you want already available. For example, let’s say your next opportunity is acquiring leadership roles.  You can initiate a project in which you are taking the lead. You may not directly manage people, but if you have to bring people together and do it well, that shows leadership.  Thinking outside of your current role, or even your company will help you create opportunities for yourself.  You will have to speak up at work to initiate a new project.  how to become an opportunity digger
  • Volunteer – If you can’t get the experience you want from your current job, you can look for another job.  Or you can go out and volunteer. There are so many opportunities to do things for free, but still gain the skills you need. For example, if you need to hone your coding skills, consider volunteering at a startup company.  Most startups are more than happy to take on volunteers.  Not only will you gain the skills you are hoping to learn, but you will also make great contacts that could help you as you create your next opportunity.

Creating your own opportunities gives you control of your career. 


3. Extreme Accountability

To become an opportunity digger, you will want to make sure you are practicing extreme accountability. This means taking accountability to the next level and saying to yourself, “Anything and everything that happens is my responsibility.”  For example, let’s say you failed an exam.  You can either believe you had the worst professor who couldn’t teach you and believe this isn’t your fault.  Or you can believe you should have worked harder.  Extreme accountability is critical to career success because it puts all of the ownership on you.  And when you are in control of your career, anything you put your mind to can happen.

To make extreme accountability a habit, consider the following:

  • How You React – The truth is, some things are out of your control.  For example, if your company downsizes, you don’t have control over whether or not you get to keep your job.  However, you do control how you react to being let go.  For example, you can take the untimely downsizing as an opportunity to get a better job.  Or, you can use the opportunity to go back to school and acquire a higher skill set.  Being upset about the downsizing is a common reaction, and it’s okay.  But if you stay upset and don’t do anything to improve your situation, your career will stall. The way you react impacts your career trajectory.  
  • Admit Your Mistakes – Everyone makes mistakes.  As you grow in your career, it is even more important for you to admit when you’ve made a mistake.  During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared when you lead a team, if the team makes a mistake, it ultimately is your mistake.  Because as the leader, it falls to you.  When you admit your mistakes, as hard as they can be, you are taking control of your career.  If you blame your mistakes on someone else, it gives the other person control of your success. 
  • Take Responsibility – Taking responsibility means believing the outcomes of your actions are the results of your abilities. This means you have the power to change your situation.  For example, this happened, so what can I do to change the situation. How can I do better next time? The more you practice it, the more it will become second nature. And it’s not hard to take on that responsibility. But it is also challenging.  

When you practice extreme accountability, you control your career, which is an empowering position to be in. 

Finding and creating opportunities for yourself is critical to career success.  Knowing how to dig for opportunities will help you advance your career.

If you would like to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Maya’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.


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