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Fortune favors the prepared mind.
Our success very much depends on whether or not we can seize opportunities in our life. This, of course, won’t happen by itself. You must do your part to make it happen. There are essentially three things you should do:
- Preparing your mind
Following Pasteur’s advice, it is important to first prepare your mind. Preparing your mind means improving your skills and knowledge in your target niche so that you are ready to tap into the opportunities as they come. Without preparing your mind, you may be in the right time and place but you can’t seize the opportunities. They will just pass right in front of you.
- Preparing others’ mind
It’s not enough to just prepare your mind. You should also prepare others’ mind so that they are aware of your skills and knowledge. When they have problems related to your niche, they should remember you, preferably as the first name in their mind. That way, they will become your channels of opportunities. It’s all about building your brand.
- Maximizing your exposure
Besides preparing and branding yourself, you also need to expose yourself to as many potential opportunities as possible. Finding a lot of opportunities requires you to be out there. You need to be active and visible.
By doing these three things, you will increase your chance to seize great opportunities in your life. Now I’d like to share some practical ways to do these three things.
Preparing your mind
- Ask the essential questions to find your life mission and core competences. They will eventually help you figure out the right niche for you.
- Find role models in your niche to inspire you. Once you find your role models, find information about them as much as possible.
- Read relevant books and magazines. Here is a tip on figuring out what book to read next.
- Subscribe to relevant blogs and podcasts. This article contains some tips on finding good blogs and podcasts.
- Practice, practice, practice. Knowledge without application won’t get you anywhere.
- Teach others. Believe it or not, teaching is one of the best ways to internalize what you learn.
- Write. Just like teaching, it greatly helps you internalize what you learn.
Preparing others’ mind
- Find a unique phrase to associate yourself with. That will be your personal branding message.
- Have one and just one branding message. Consistency is important.
- Buy a domain name which is related to your personal branding message.
- Create a blog and write on it regularly.
- Use an email address from your own domain instead of free email address.
- Put your blog address at your email signature.
- Help your friends when they have problems related to your niche. This will stick your name in their mind for that niche.
- Write articles in trade magazines or local newspapers. This will help you build your reputation as an expert.
- Answer questions in Yahoo Answers or Ask MetaFilter. This is another way to build your reputation (Yahoo Answers even has a point system for this).
Maximizing your exposure
- Attend seminars and other events in your niche to meet new people.
- Participate in forums and/or mailing lists.
- Comment on relevant blogs.
- Connect with other bloggers or join a blog network.
- Join professional organizations and be an active member.
- Create a LinkedIn profile and connect with others there. This article has some tips on using LinkedIn effectively.
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