How to create unexpected opportunities

With the Superbowl this weekend and everyone, myself included, speculating about who’s going to win it’s easy to forget to be present and let the excitement unfold. The same goes for job seeking. Even though you definitely need a game plan, if you’re too set on the end goal you may miss unexpected opportunities.

The paradox of creating these opportunities is summed up in what John D. Krumboltz calls “Planned Happenstance.”

As an example of this theory, Krumboltz uses the story of high-powered professional sports agent, Leigh Steinberg. You remember the movie Jerry McGuire? Well it’s based on Leigh’s life and career, most of which he chalked up to “pure, random chance.” But was it really random? Did he in fact manufacture his future career, albeit unknowingly, through a series of circumstances and choices?

In an interview, Leigh recounts how it all started while attending the University of California at Berkeley while studying environmental law in the early 70’s. As luck would have it a freshman football team moved into his dormitory and after befriending several students he ended up eventually representing Steve Bartkowski, at his request, in contract negotiations with the Atlanta Falcons and well the rest as they say is history…. If you look closely at Leigh’s story you’ll realize that what happened wasn’t really “pure, random chance” but a set of circumstances that Leigh choose to act on, setting aside his own fears, he grabbed the opportunity before him.

You’re probably asking yourself how do I create these types of opportunities? Well, first you’ll need to develop 5 important skills:


Explore new learning opportunities. Take a course, try a new idea talk to insiders you would never have talked to before.


Even when things get hard you need to re-exert your efforts and try again.


With emerging technology and changes in the workplace you need to adapt. For example, if a strategy in your job-search isn’t working, change your tactics.


You need to keep positive and believe that you can attain your goals.


Take a page from Leigh and go for something even if it’s risky, sometimes it’s in the process of trying that opportunities happen.


Here’s hoping an unexpected opportunity helps me win my Superbowl bet this weekend!