Over the years I've found myself frustrated by how many opportunities others around me were getting.
Friends who were producing their own TV shows, friends who were producing movies, friends who were writing bestselling books, and so forth.
I found every possible way to justify why they were succeeding and not me.
(That's an unhealthy exercise that brings nothing but pain and suffering. I'd recommend you avoid it at all costs...)
It took me about 10 years into my career as a producer for the opportunities to start coming to me, rather than me having to seek them out.
Or so I thought.
I thought that it was a function of time or experience.
In reality, those opportunities came because I created them.
Two quick examples:
In January 2018 I was freshly back in the film industry as a freelance producer.
I was looking for work and had messaged dozens of production companies and friends in the industry to let them know I was available for hire.
Nothing came from that effort, so I helped a friend with a construction project for a few months during the winter of 2017.
Then, an opportunity "showed up" - a friend posted about a producer position on Facebook.
I messaged him and said I was interested, he recommended me to the production company (who I was unfamiliar with), I interviewed and had an offer the next day.
That job was producing Relative Race, and I was a senior producer for four seasons of the show.
Now, that opportunity didn't just "show up". It was created.
- I was doing the work of reaching out and trying to find work
- I messaged a friend who posted about the opportunity
- I delivered in the interview
- I showed up every day and made the show better for four seasons
None of that just "happened". I was an active player in the creation of that opportunity through every stage of the process.
While it may have (i.e. certainly) started with some grace, or luck, or serendipity, the opportunity was created with intention and action.
Second short example - producing a movie!
Earlier this year I was asked, "out of the blue", to help produce a feature film with Amy Redford directing.
Now, to an outsider, it may look like I was just "given" that opportunity.
But the reality is that the opportunity was created.
Years ago I met Amy's business partner at an event. I was there helping a friend who was a musical guest, not as an attendee.
The person who paid me for setting up the sound equipment found later that I was involved with producing a political web show, and she became a supporter of the show.
Then a few months later she asked us about helping produce a documentary (that hasn't happened yet, but isn't the point).
That relationship went on for years in a similar fashion. A little bit here, a little bit there.
They needed a budget, I'd create a budget.
They'd need some editing, I'd do some editing.
It was less of a contractor/client relationship and more of a friend/partner relationship.
They had a vision of making feature films in Utah, and I wanted to be there for it, so I stuck around for a few years and helped with different projects in many various stages.
Over that time I shared my desire to produce and to be involved at that level with movies in Utah.
Then, COVID hit and the project we were working on got sidetracked. The communication slowed and there wasn't much going on.
8 months later, I get the call "out of the blue" to produce a movie.
But it wasn't out of the blue! I got the call because I created that opportunity by showing up and doing the work and being a trusted partner of the business for years.
All that work turned into an incredible opportunity to produce a movie.
Here's the point:
Whatever it is that you want for your business, for your work, for your art, the way to get those big opportunities is to create them.
Get clear about what you want, create a plan, and then take action until that opportunity becomes real.
That process has worked time and time again over my career.
If you will give more than you receive, if you show up as no one else does, if you become someone that people trust and want to work with, the opportunities come, sometimes without you even expecting them.
But even then, it was the work you did - paired with some grace - that created those opportunities.
Don't sit around waiting. Take action, keep going, keep serving, and keep showing up.
Those opportunities will come.