Be Prepared

Opportunity could be right in front of you.  How do you make sure you get it?  Let’s dig into how creating a mindset to be prepared will keep you ready to capitalize on opportunities that seem to come out of nowhere! ??

In my last blog, Ask for Opportunity, we discussed how you should ask for opportunity to get opportunity. But I keep thinking about the opportunities I have gotten that I didn’t even know were available.  You can’t ask for what you don’t know is an option, right?  So how do you get opportunities you don’t even know about?  You’ve got to show up and be prepared 24/7.

Graduate, Get Married, Get a Job

I graduated college, started a new job, and married Joe — all in one month when I was 20 years old.  During that crazy season of life, opportunity came out of nowhere for me. 

Joe and I had been married for about ten months when early one morning I burst open the bedroom door, jumped on the bed, and woke up my sleeping husband to the words, “I’m pregnant.”   

When our little girl ?finally came, we decided it was time to make the big purchase.  We started the house hunt and found our perfect home — fast!

At that time, Joe was a manager working third shift at a local manufacturer.  He had very little free time so I took on the responsibility of communicating with the bank throughout the home-buying process. I didn’t know a lot about the process so I spent some time researching types of loans, interest rates, banks, etc.  I wanted to make sure I did everything right…this was a lot of money for us!


Show Up & Be Prepared

Once I had all the information I thought I would need for this process, I picked a bank.  I walked in to speak to someone about applying for the home loan.

This was a small bank and they had just lost their mortgage lender.  The ONLY PERSON available to take my information and answer any questions I might have was the bank president. The. Bank. President.  I was a twenty-one, fresh out of college, and honestly, I was pretty introverted when it came to professional situations at that time.  Seriously, at 21 — how would you handle being thrust in front of a Yale-grad bank president and CEO?   

Alright, even though I was nervous, I had to get over that, step up and own this!  I knew what I wanted and I had done all the research — I was prepared.  We sat down and started talking business.

As most of you know, after the market crash around 2008, the home-buying process became brutal.  So I didn’t talk to the CEO just that one day, we had multiple conversations aver the course of about a month.  I didn’t know it at the time, but through this entire interaction with the CEO, I was setting the stage to get an incredible opportunity.


Unseen Opportunity

When it came time to discuss the closing costs, it was time for me to use my negotiation skills to get the best deal possible.

Because I was prepared — I had done my homework — I went into the conversation knowing what my options were and I knew what the bank’s options were.  There is an art to negotiation and preparedness is a key element.

CEO on one side of the desk.  Twenty-one year old me on the other side. One hard swallow, and the negotiation was on.  

A few days later I got a call from the President. I assumed he was calling to tell me he was lowering our closing costs.  I was totally caught off guard when he asked me to come in for a 30 minute meeting. I starting thinking, “Why would he ask me to do that?”,  “Is something going wrong?”,  “Are we not going to get our home?” ?

When I walked into his office, I  would have never guessed what he would say next.  He began that meeting by saying how rare it was that someone at such a young age was able to:

  • Talk with upper level management professionally.
  • Research a topic in depth and be able to discuss it thoroughly with no experience in the industry.
  • Ask and negotiate terms.

Here’s the opportunity I never saw coming — the CEO offered me a management position within the bank.  WHAT?! ?

Better hours, better pay, closer to home, more in line with what I wanted to be doing… #winning.  Of course I took his offer, but I want to point out that I didn’t even know they had that position open.  Secondly, I never would have gotten the job had I not showed up to each and every meeting with him — PREPARED!


Where Could You Be

If you were more prepared, where could you be?  You may not see opportunity coming, but if you seek knowledge, seek opportunity, and always be prepared …you’ll be ready when it does!

#opportunity #professionalism #leadership  #professionaldevelopment #stayfocused #digdeep #standout #riseup #keynotespeaker

Alyson Van Hooser
Author: Alyson Van Hooser
Alyson Van Hooser, Leadership Keynote Speaker, Trainer on Millennials, Gen Z & Women in Business With the grit that only comes from tough experiences, Alyson has learned a thing or two about personal and professional success. From her management experience with Walmart, as an elected city council member, bank manager — all before the age of 30 — Alyson has wisdom well beyond her years! Her podcast, Stake: The Leadership Podcast, offers a fresh perspective on leadership and helps multiple generations successfully work together! Connect with Alyson on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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