They say when one door closes, another one opens, and I’m saying that’s quasi-bullshit. The doors don’t open themselves.
What happens when you know what door you want to open but have no idea how to create the dang door or the opportunity even to make someone cough in your general direction?
Sure, you got laid off, and it’s a blessing in disguise, but it’s probably not feeling super “blessing-like” at this exact moment, is it?
I bring this conversation to Unraveled because maybe you haven’t been laid off, maybe you have applied for hundreds of jobs that so many other applicants applied for and you feel like your odds are about as good as winning the Powerball. You might just want to enter a new arena or do something different. Literally anything at all different that could spark some form of aliveness.
I attended a networking event with my husband last week, and I was the fish out of water attendee this go-round. It was a room full of brilliant tech geniuses. Hackers, programmers, engineers, and data scientists. I actually had to ask my hubby when we left, “What the hell even is a computer scientist…aside from fricken’ smart as all get out?”. He laughed and broke it down in real people terminology (thanks, babe).
One glaringly obvious siren alarmed me in talking to the “scientist” (let’s call her Kate), who has so many degrees that I felt like a toddler at KinderCare.
Kate was laid off months ago and had no idea how to express herself or even attempt to get a spotlight on herself (all brilliance aside). And haven’t we all been there? Experience, brilliant ideas, competence, and all credential boxes checked.
Yet…here we sit, waiting for someone else to say, “Oh my God, you are a dream boat. Please come work for me, and I, of course, will pay you six figures because hello you’re INCREDIBLE!”
Record scratch, full stop, back to reality. It won’t happen.
So how can you possibly begin to get yourself out there, in your own way, without feeling like a GD fraud?
Make it known
First and foremost, you have got to make your desires known and have a platform to express them. For some, it’s socials, for the techy mastermind, it might be a Discord group under a screen name, and for others might be an in-office casual expression of interest at the coffee maker.
But whatever platform you use, the first step is saying, “This is what I want. These are my goals. Here is why. And here is how I can bring something awesome to the table!” If you never speak it out loud, no one will even know your desire exists (maybe even you won’t realize it).
Be a bit different & get help
You spoke it into existence. Great work. That’s the first step. Now you must find a way that works for YOU to stand out. This doesn’t have to be loud and flashy and for me and it will look very different than for Kate.
Let’s be real, a group of sales professionals around of table at a networking event looks much different than one laden with brilliant tech nerds. We are in two different metaverses.
That doesn’t matter. We are all humans seeking connection and learning, with a goal of becoming better and advancing in whatever metauniverse we do business in.
You have got to figure out a solid way to differentiate yourself. I recommend grabbing a piece of paper, drawing a line down the middle. On one side write your core competencies, credentials, etc. (the hard skills). On the other your personality traits, things you love, and what makes you tick. Now assess the two and start to evaluate how you can bring them together.
If you are on the job hunt, I highly recommend you find an expert resume writer or mentor that can guide you through what you need to break through the noise. It’s different in every industry. But we all need a little help, and it’s worth spending the money to get expert guidance. This can be the real deal breaker for those on the job hunt.
Shut up and dance
The doors of opportunity are ripe and plentiful. The question is will you do what it takes to start making those doors open? Hire some help, find a mentor, and start putting your bad self out there already! This may sound oversimplified, but we often don’t even take the most basic steps to help ourselves move forward.
You can be a Kate (introvert to the max), a sales professional (outgoing and probably a bit cocky), or a disgruntled coffee machine lurker (angry and complacent) that bitches while drinking the office sludge. Or you can start figuring out how to take strides towards better. It’s up to you. Get the help you need and get out of your own way.
Let’s close with this thought & continue to unravel my friends:
“You have to come to your closed doors before you get to your open doors... What if you knew you had to go through 32 closed doors before you got to your open door? Well, then you'd come to closed door number eight and you'd think, 'Great, I got another one out of the way'... Keep moving forward.”