THE WEDDING PLANNER  Seize Opportunities
By Jessica Sitomer

Imagine having a dumpster barreling down a steep hill headed straight for you and you can’t move because your high heel is stuck in a manhole cover. That’s exactly how Mary, played by Jennifer Lopez and Steve, played by Matthew McConaughey met as he heroically pulled her out of harm’s way. Mary’s response? “You saved.. my shoe.”  

You never know when you’re going to meet that certain someone who’s going to change your life. In your case, the person who can change your career. In Hollywood, anytime you meet someone it can potentially lead to work. It’s the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Rule. If the person can’t directly hire you he probably knows someone who can, or knows someone who knows someone who can. And yet, so many people let these magical meetings filled with opportunity slip through their fingertips. Do you? Do you know how to turn a brief encounter with a stranger on line at the check out counter into an opportunity that can lead to work?

Here are some tips that will help:

1.    Change your perspective. Many people I’ve worked with over the years have no problem talking to people who have nothing to do with the industry. The moment they meet someone whom they recognize as someone who can potentially hire or help them, they become “shy” or “don’t know what to say.” Changing your perspective means seeing every person as an equal. Yes, some may have had opportunities that make them a Rockstar in your eyes, but they put their pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else. Until you believe that you are worthy of having conversations with any person you meet, you will continue to miss out on opportunities to welcome these amazing people into your life.

2.    Practice. Another huge obstacle for people I’ve worked with, is that they don’t know what to say. Was “You saved my shoe” the best opening line? It charmed him, that’s for sure. But Mary wasn’t prepared to meet the man of her dreams that day. You can prepare what you will say should you stumble upon an opportunity with someone who would normally leave you tongue tied. The key is you MUST practice if you want to have confidence. In my seminars, I always have the participants practice so they get it in their physiology that they know what to say and feel confident saying it.

3.    Make your own luck. How many times have you heard, “I was in the right place at the right time,” and then think to yourself how lucky that person is? Well, that person wouldn’t have been lucky if she was at home sitting on her couch watching TV. You can make your own luck by going to the “right place” and then it will become the “right time.” Think about places where you can meet people who are in the position to hire or help you and then GO!    

4.    Follow Up.  If you do tips 1-3, and meet extraordinary people, and have a great conversation with them, and then let them walk away without any plan to follow up with them and without their contact information, you’ve just come pretty close to creating a situation you’ll regret for the rest of your career. Do you have moments like that already? You met someone early on in your career and didn’t stay in touch and now they’re huge and you’re kicking yourself for not staying in touch. If you do have those moments, great! Then you know you don’t want to have them again. So be sure when you’re talking to new people you meet, you find an authentic reason to tell them you’ll follow up and ask for their contact information.

The number one reason people are out of work is because they don’t know enough people who can hire them. If you fall into this category you must meet new people. If that makes you feel nervous, you now have new ideas for building up your confidence. Like any skill, it takes practice and giving up is not an option.

And Action!

1.    Find a friend or two and practice what you’d say to someone during a “chance meeting”
2.    Research places that are “the right place” so you can go and make it “the right time”
3.    Grow your contact list by 5 people this month

Mary and Steve’s journey wasn’t smooth sailing, it never is in a romantic comedy. So don’t expect every encounter to be perfect. Learn from each one and eventually you’ll forget you ever had an obstacle with meeting people.