As I mentioned yesterday, I was in Milwaukee last week conducting a couple workshops. My plane didn't leave back to Seattle until mid-afternoon the next day, so I had a few hours to poke around and explore.
The guy at the front desk of the hotel had given me "can't-miss" directions to a great breakfast place about a mile away. Of course, I missed it. After grabbing a sandwich at a deli that was just opening for the day (I was starved), I headed back along the river walk.
Across the river, a sign painted on the wall behind a sporting goods store located alongside the river told me they had kayaks for rent. "Hmmmmm," I thought. "That would be kind of fun."
So I made a spur of the moment decision to explore Milwaukee from the water (the river goes through the middle of downtown). It was a great, unexpected, completely random adventure.
What, you may be wondering, does this have to do with career? What had initially seemed like a waste of time on a wild goose chase (unsuccessfully trying to find the restaurant) had sown the seeds for a fun opportunity. Had I not been trying to find the restaurant, I wouldn't have even headed down that direction. And had I been rigidly attached to my plans for the day, I would never have even considered renting a kayak.
I think it's the same in our lives. Sometimes what seems like a pain in the butt experience opens the door for opportunity. And often the key to capitalizing on that opportunity is first noticing it, and then embracing it.
I'm a firm believer that part of success is recognizing opportunity on the fly. If you're taking action, opportunities will inevitably present themselves that weren't part of your original plan. I would go so far as to say that half (or more!) of the really cool things in your future are things you have no way of planning for from the viewpoint of today.
So feel free to plan your path, but keep scanning the horizon for those on the fly adventures.
Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM