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RECHARGE :: Alan Hargreaves
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Tuesday
Oct042011

Add some risk to your career or business

Why you should dabble

A career and a business have a lot in common. Both are the focus of your working life; both largely determine your financial position; success in either can depend on the skills you bring to the party.

They also have another thing in common. We regularly question whether we can get more out of the cards we have been dealt.

Entrepreneurs with sound businesses look askance at more successful firms in alternative sectors; career individuals often plateau, wondering whether they should have done something else. The trouble is, they don’t know what.

It’s the common story of the school reunion: who would have thought so-and-so would hit a home run 

The reality is that home runs are often so-called Black Swans – the result of completely unpredictable events in which fortune smiled on those in the right place at the right time. Look around your reunion party and you’ll find plenty of examples of the opposite.

Could you, or should you, do anything about it?

Here's two options

Accept your reality, live in the present and just be. For low stress and a fuller life, it’s probably the better option. You may find that instead of trying to drive things forward, changing fortune will arrive of its own accord. You just have to get out of the way and give the universe a chance to deliver. It doesn’t have to be a lazy option; it can be a contented one that’s available for new ideas should they turn up 

The alternative isn’t necessarily less spiritual. You current situation may be one that just doesn’t allow you tomake the contribution you are capable of. You are unfulfilled as a result. How can you examine this?

  • Take a close look at what you’ve got. If you have developed a sales pipeline to deliver your terrific product, look less at your product and more at your pipe. What else can you put in there? Amazon no longer just sells books.
  • If you have developed skills in a certain industry in the course of your career, look beyond that industry to where those same skills could take you. Real skills are often transferable with less fuss than you think.
  • Look for adjacent opportunities. What’s happening nearest to you? If you are a supplier, can you develop your business as a customer? Or vice versa. The same applies to careers. If you have built strong skills on the buy side, where can you contribute on the sell side?
  • Collaborate with people. Can the collective wisdom of your own team generate more and better ideas than the ones you can come up with? If you are an employee, talk to your management about where you can make a stronger contribution. Alternatively, ask colleagues or customers where else you could apply your strengths. 
  • Don’t bet the farm. Fresh ideas can have huge but unpredictable potential. Your existing business can give you a stable platform from which can dabble in more exotic enterprises, but contain your exposure to a manageable level. Ditto for careers. Don’t just quit the day job. Set aside a few hours each week to investigate where your strengths can take you in entirely unrelated fields.

These simple actions expand the realm of opportunities. Take a look at what you’ve got, in the environment you are in, with the people you know. Like a brainstorming session, be open to all suggestions. Don’t disregard the apparently frivolous. If you think a certain idea won’t work, look at why not. When you’ve looked at that, look at what would. Let some improbable events in the door.

There are 52 wayst to reboot your career or your business in Recharge: Lessons to revitalise yourself, your team of your business. You can buy it online here, in hard copy or kindle. 

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