Episode #147 – The Importance of Understanding the Nature of Professional Opportunity

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #147 - The Importance of Understanding the Nature of Professional Opportunity
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” podcast brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive recruiter and veterinary recruiter, Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary Employers hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals land career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast episode, we’ll be talking about the importance of understanding the nature of opportunity. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. It is great to be back.  As always, I’m glad to be here with you and I’ve been looking forward to our podcast topic of conversation for today. I’ve been traveling since I was here with you last week. I was in Phoenix, Arizona speaking in front of a veterinary practice manager’s association about the difficulty of recruiting and hiring talent in this job market and  strategies for success with hiring in this challenging job market.

Julea: Stacy, I know the association was glad to learn from you and hear your advice to help them be more successful.

Stacy, moving along to our topic of conversation today,  I know that you’re a big proponent of taking advantage of opportunity. In fact, you write and talk about opportunity quite a bit. I know this is a topic that you’re passionate about, isn’t it, Stacy.

Stacy: I would say that opportunity is definitely a topic that I’m passionate about. I have  tried to take advantage of opportunities in my own life, both personally and professionally, and my job as an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter has allowed me to see other people do so, as well. In fact there are a few times in my life when I have not taken advantage of opportunities that have been presented and have regretted it so I try not to let good opportunities pass me by. I try to keep an open mind.

Julea:  Not everyone takes advantage of opportunity when it comes along, do they Stacy?

Stacy: No, they do not unfortunately and sometimes they miss out on good opportunities. When I see that happen, it does make me a little sad. That’s because I know that some people who pass up opportunity may regret it at a later date. I know this because there have been numerous times when I have approached someone about an opportunity and they declined to move forward in the interview process or turned down an offer. Then later they called me to see if the opportunity was still available and usually it wasn’t. I’ve had people call me and tell me they have regretted turning down an opportunity. 

Julea,  there’s nothing worse than having regrets about your life or your career.   I recall one time I called someone about an opportunity and they said “no” before they knew what they were saying “no” too. Then I offered the opportunity to someone else who accepted it.  The first person called back to tell me they were disappointed they turned it down and someone else got it because they didn’t realize how good the opportunity was until someone they knew took advantage of it. The person who turned it down was upset because they said they didn’t know how good the opportunity was until the person who got it told them how great it was. They asked me why I did not tell them how great of an opportunity it was. I told this person I tried to tell them but they would not listen. They said no before they knew what they were saying no to.

That’s why I wanted to talk about the topic again on this podcast. I believe it’s that important of a reminder to our listeners. I firmly believe that more people need to recognize opportunity for what it is and more people need to be open and take advantage of the opportunities that they see before them. Keep an open mind and keep the door open. The more open minded you are the more opportunities you will have available typically.

Julea: Stacy, you have plenty of stories and case studies about people who took advantage of opportunities, don’t you?

Stacy: I do, many of them, actually. However, I’m not going to talk about any of those specifically today. Instead, I want to discuss the nature of opportunity. I believe that one of the reasons people don’t take advantage of opportunity is that they don’t understand the nature of it. Of course, there are other reasons why people do not take advantage of opportunity. One of those reasons is fear. Another reason is allegiance to the status quo and wanting to be comfortable. Or I should say, the illusion of being comfortable, since comfort and security and largely illusions. I have such a distinct advantage point into seeing that because I have had thousands of conversations with professionals about their career during the past almost 23 years. I have spoken with thousands of professionals in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary profession and have unique insight that most people do not have about this topic of people who have taken advantage of opportunities and those who have not taken advantage of them.

But not understanding the nature of opportunity is definitely another reason we need to discuss, and while I’ve addressed fear and the status quo on previous occasions, I want to address this reason today.

Julea: Sounds good. Where would you like to start with this Stacy?

Stacy: I’d like to start with a post on social media that I saw recently. The post said, “Opportunities never come in a right time. That’s why we call them opportunities.” That, in a nutshell, describes the nature of opportunities.

Julea: Can you elaborate on that?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely. The problem that plagues many people is they seem to think that they have to be 100% ready for an opportunity for them to be able to take advantage of it. When they’re presented with an opportunity or they come across one, they’ll say something along the lines of “It’s not the right time” or “Maybe someday in the future.” Because they don’t feel 100% ready, they don’t want to explore the opportunity or take advantage of it.

What they don’t seem to understand is that is not how opportunity works. It doesn’t just show up when the person is ready for it. In fact, it almost never shows up when the person is 100% ready for it. Although it would be nice if that happened, because then everyone would take advantage of every opportunity and what a wonderful world it would be if that was the case. And I’d like to use an example from my personal life to illustrate this.

Julea: And what example is that?

Stacy: Having children. If I waited for the “right time” to have a baby, I would have never had one, let alone five. I have seen working women who wanted to have children miss out on the opportunity because they were working so hard. They never stopped to have a baby. Then they are past child bearing age and it is too late. I’ve seen women regret that.

Julea: So in your situation, you never waited for the right time. You focused instead on the fact that you wanted to have children?

Stacy: That’s right. I took my focus off my external circumstances. Too many times, people put an undue amount of weight on circumstances. They focus more on the circumstances than they do on the opportunity. That’s a great way to miss out on the opportunity altogether, which is what happens to some people. As an Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter, I’ve seen it happen in the employment marketplace, as well with regards to people’s careers.

Julea: Right. I imagine that after more than 20 years as a recruiter, you’ve pretty much seen it all.

Stacy: Well, I don’t know if I’ve seen it all, but I’ve certainly seen a lot. Just like I have a lot of stories and case studies about people who have taken advantage of opportunity, I also have a lot of stories about people who have not. These are stories of people who focused on circumstances and not on the opportunity. Another way to put it is that they looked for reasons why something could not be one, as opposed to looking for reasons why it could be done.

Julea: It sounds like fear does play a role in all of this. If a person was afraid of exploring an opportunity or making a move for any reason, that would make them want to see the reasons why they can’t explore the opportunity. Or the reasons why they shouldn’t. Is that the case?

Stacy: That is absolutely the case. Fear is all wrapped up in this discussion. Fear will make a person focus on the circumstances and not the opportunity. Fear will make a person focus on the reasons why something can not be done, as opposed to the reasons why it can be done. Fear is a powerful force and a powerful motivator. People can use fear to talk themselves out of doing things that could be good for them. Fear of failure for example could cause someone to not grow. Fear of not being able to handle the responsibilities of a greater position can cause someone to sell themselves short and not to grow. I hate to say this but I see women do this more often than I see men do this. Men will often raise their hand and say, “pick me, pick me” for a role they may not be qualified for when women sometimes will say they are not qualified when they actually are and they will talk themselves out of moving forward because they don’ think they are ready for a bigger role. For the women listening today, women, have to stop doing this.

Julea: Stacy, what steps can a person take? What can they do if they want to better take advantage of opportunity in their life and their career?

Stacy: Well, there are a number of steps that a person can take, based upon what we’ve talked about today. These steps may seem like they’re simple, but they’re really not. They’re difficult to accomplish, which is why so many people seem to struggle with this issue.

The first step is to focus more on the opportunity than on the circumstances that surround the opportunity. And when I say focus on the opportunity, I mean make a list of all the positive attributes associated with the opportunity. You can also make a list, if you’d like, of the pros and cons of the opportunity. But you have to be as objective as you can.

Now, keep in mind that I’m not saying to not consider the circumstances of the situation at all. However, don’t put an undue amount of weight on the circumstances. Don’t allow the circumstances alone to make the decision for you. They’re part of the equation, sure, but they’re just one part of the equation.

If you make your list of pros and cons and you decide there are many more pros, then you should focus on the ways that you can explore the opportunity. And once again, focus on why it can be done instead of why it can NOT be done. Just because pursuing the opportunity might seem difficult doesn’t mean that you should not pursue it. Great opportunities are rarely convenient. In fact, they’re often inconvenient, but they’re well worth the inconvenience once you pursue them and take advantage of them.

Julea: Stacy, this is good information and we’re almost out of time for today. Is there anything else that you’d like to add for today’s episode?

Stacy: Yes, I’d like to reiterate what I said earlier about regret. When people get to the end of their life or the end of their career, what they’re most likely to regret are the opportunities they did not take, not the opportunities that they did take. It’s not very often that you hear people say that they regret taking a leap of faith for this or that. In fact, it’s usually the opposite. You usually hear people say that taking a chance on something and seizing an opportunity was the best thing they ever did and they would do it again, if given the chance. I know that has been the case for me. There are many times when I took a risk like for example starting my own business. Yes, there was fear involved and yes there were external circumstances involved or maybe I thought it may not be the right time but I took a leap of faith and did it anyway. Same with having children. Yes, there was fear, yes there were concerns about the finances involved or how I would raise children and have a career and all of these other doubts that crept in my mind but I’m so glad I didn’t listen to those thoughts and have my five children. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

We also talked a bit about fear earlier in today’s episode. If you want to be afraid of something as an Animal Health or Veterinary professional, be afraid of regret. Don’t be afraid of opportunity. Don’t be afraid of taking a chance or taking a leap of faith. More than likely, you’ll be glad you took the opportunity and took the chance, and when you look back on your life, the results will validate your decision.

Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. And for those people who are open to opportunities, there are plenty of employment opportunities on The VET Recruiter website, aren’t there Stacy?

Stacy: Yes, there are Julea. For those listeners who are open to opportunity or want to change their current situation and are interested in exploring Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, I invite them to visit our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com. We have employment opportunities available on our site, and new ones are posted on a regular basis. We also have numerous career tips in the form of articles, blogs, videos, more podcasts, etc. so check back often for more job opportunities and more career resources for your Animal Health Career or Veterinary Career.

Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: It’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health Employment Insider!