The problem is that, as human beings, we are not wired to see beyond what’s right in front us. It’s a survival thing. We only started storing shit because we were dying from winter and on the other side of the hemisphere we figured out we that could sleep longer if we stored more and farmed less.
So when that opportunity does come along, we usual say: that guy talked about pollen all night, he was weird. Instead of saying: that guy has an uncommon interest for bees, I wonder how I can work with him.
Did you know there are more than 20,000 species of bees? They’re all my friends.
(Photo by Emma Jane Hogbin via Creative Commons at Flickr)
So like a bee looking for the next flower to pollinate, here are five exercises (to combine with last week’s) to keep you on track when you’re seeking opportunity:
1. Be specific and measurable.
Clarity will be your biggest ally in the journey to awesome opportunities. Be specific about the type of opportunity you need. If you are looking for a co-founder, what are the specific qualifications? If you’re looking for an investor, how much money do you need and why?
Being measurable means, something defining something with a clear beginning and end. If you’re looking for a CFO (finance head), don’t say I’m looking for someone who knows the books (very vague). Instead say: “I need someone with 5 years working experience in finance and a degree in accounting or a similar field”. If it has no measurement for success, there is no way of checking it off your list as accomplished or a failure.
“They say what a man does with power is the measure of a man. I measure a person by how much they can drink.”
(Photo by freebie.photography – Creative Commons)
Identifying the specific needs in measurable terms, will allow you to organise opportunities into what’s seizable and what you keep in the treasure chest of “contact when the time is right”.
Which is connected to…
2) Write things down.
This goes two ways. One, write down the opportunities (in their specific and measurable form).
The second way is just as important. Whenever you meet someone write a note on what they said and how you met them. We are terrible at remembering things. Unless you have an eidetic memory like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, then skip the fucking thought that you are Rain Man.
You may also want to try creating a database with keywords. Technology has already made our lives easier, no need to use a Rolodex.
“Some of you will be too young to understand the importance of this tool.” (Photo from wikipedia)
All of this will help you in backtracking.
3) Create a deadline.
I will go as far as saying, without a deadline the chances of that opportunity showing up are slim. Adding a date and time grounds the opportunity to the other element of reality (time).
“I eat opportunities for breakfast. With a side of Kimchi” (Photo from Wikipedia)
The date also gives you pressure to actively pursue the opportunity rather than waiting for it. (Come back to the blog on January 1 to learn how I get off my ass and do things)
4. Create a gameplan.
This is an often overlooked step. The key is to share the opportunity you seek with as many people as possible and as enthusiastically and inspiring as possible.
This is not “The Secret”. Intention is nothing without action.
I tried to intend Emma Watson into my life. It didn’t happen. It’s probably because I didn’t create a deadline.
(Photo from Wikipedia)
I do this for business and other things in my life.
Case in point, I used the exact same methods to find my girlfriend (in the context of finding a soulmate). I made a specific list. Created a deadline and shared it with as many people as possible. In two weeks time, Ina, showed up in my life. One month later she was my girlfriend.
We are four years strong and has been my partner in life and in business (See: Team of One to find some of the insight Ina has given me in the past)
“I was the creepy bee guy.”
Clarity and decisiveness in the end will dictate how well you seize the opportunities. But now at least you have a way to identify them and access them.
Clear about what you need? Share it in the comments section. Maybe one of my readers or I can help you out with that opportunity. I’ll giveaway a prize to a random commenter who is also subscribed to the newsletter (check out the right sidebar).
BONUS MERITS: In my workshops, we use a SPIN module called the “Farmer’s Framework”. I won’t discuss it in detail but the gist is: look at opportunities, projects and connections as if you were a farmer. Not every crop has the same needs. Some need more nurturing in the beginning. Some have cycles that are 1 month others 3 years. Gauge opportunities, projects and connections with this mindset, categorize what is in incubation, what is in harvest and compare how much attention each crop needs.
Bootcamp is a series of exercises/drills in blog form to help founders, entrepreneurs and changemakers create the impact they want to make out in the world.
Also published on Medium.