How Do You Find Opportunity?

Posted on November 19, 2013

How Do You Find Opportunity? - Comm Before The Storm

When I wrote about personal paradigms I explored what causes us to sometimes get preoccupied and blinded by our own perspectives. When I wrote about change, I spoke about how we might manage it, but how do you work to shift your paradigm so that you can manage change? How can we step outside of our perspectives enough to even know that we are being blinded by them?

As noted in my post, The Forever Footprint, I don’t have a natural love of social media.  My transition has been a gradual one. My reluctant engagement started because I could hardly be a communications professional and put my nose up at social media, although you might be surprised to see how many communications people do. I also had a team that was only engaging in social media peripherally. We were crazy busy and social media took a lot of time. It’s deliverables were not always clear and certainly not immediate, so it was easy to ignore. It was also clear that by letting it slide we might be missing opportunities, so we held our annual strategic planning session and determined that we would each tackle a platform. The next six months were interesting to say the least as we each struggled to manage our regular communications duties and embrace this new realm. The articles about social media were interesting, the platforms, well they were another thing all together. They were inconsistent, they were finicky, and they clearly had different strengths, benefits and weaknesses. It was a bit crazy.

Communications has always been a gradually changing sector. Print advertising offered opportunity and hung around for a while before radio ventured out and gave us something new to do.  We had time to grow and adopt to radio before television made its way onto the scene. We had years to figure out television and we played happily between the three mediums for a long time.

Then the explosion occurred.  The platforms started to appear, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, StumbledUpon, YouTube, Reddit, Google+, Triberr, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine  and on and on they go.  It’s little wonder we wanted to back away slowly.  Where to start?  What to do? Every week it seems like there is a new and better way to engage in social media.  I was giving a presentation the other day, Social Media 101, and one of the participants hadn’t heard of LinkedIn. I almost giggled, my relief was so great.  It wasn’t just me, it really was crazy out there.

So how did I get from not wanting to engage to giving advice on social media? Curiosity.  Curiosity will get you past all of your preconceived notions, your impenetrable paradigms and your reluctance to change. Cultivating a curious mind is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. Your curiosity will facilitate professional and personal growth. If you’re in any industry that requires you to engage the public, then feeding your curiosity will provide you with a wealth of opportunity. Even if you like your isolation, unless you are interested in being nothing more than still, curiosity can be satisfied through reading and watching.

Remember, when paradigms in the world around you shift, past success means nothing.  You could be ruling the world as the best advertising rep, but when social media shows up, if you don’t jump on board, your past success will be irrelevant. You’ll be left behind. You could be the best author who ever lived, but if you want new readers, then you have to exist in the new places. You have to open yourself to the possibilities.  When paradigms shift, history doesn’t matter. It didn’t matter that PC dominated the landscape when Apple introduced the iPod.

If you want to know where the new ideas are happening, they are far away from where it’s safe. They are out on the edges where curiosity flourishes and the imagination is in charge.

How do you keep yourself open to opportunity?  Have you ever found yourself fighting against something you later embraced?

 I’m looking for your communications stories. Have you ever had something go horribly wrong or amazingly right because of a little communications?  Please share your story here as a guest blogger.  For more information, please see my post, Everybody Loves A Good Story.