The funny thing about first impressions is sometimes they don’t mean much. And sometimes the realm of opportunities a seemingly unappealing situation can offer you is more than you could ever wish for.
The first time I met my husband, I hardly batted an eye. I was picking up my girlfriend for lunch, who happened to be his neighbor, and she introduced us. He was pleasant enough. Friendly. Polite. And don’t get me wrong, he was totally cute. But I was dating someone else and frankly, was really looking forward to some girl talk and Bloody Mary’s. When my friend invited him to lunch with us, I could have died. He declined, and relieved, I thought, “OK, great, nice to meet you, Buddy. Peace out!”
Three years later I married him.
Looking back, I have no idea what on earth would have encouraged him to pursue me after that first meeting, but he persisted. His second and third impressions left much stronger marks on me. Maybe it was his determination, his ballsyness when he called me up and said, “Hey I know you have a boyfriend but do you want to hang out or what?” This guy even invited me AND MY BOYFRIEND to hang out at his house. Clearly, he had more to offer and he knew it.
Coincidentally, things fizzled with my boyfriend and I decided to give this guy a call and let him know I did, indeed, want to hang out. His response was classic and I still remember the tone in his voice enjoying that moment: “I have plans, sorry,” he told me. Ha! To be fair, I had been blowing him off for weeks and it was like 8pm on a Friday when I finally called, but like WTH? I hung up the phone and told my roommate we could scratch that guy off the list.
As luck would have it, he called me back about five minutes later to let me know his plans with his friend, who I would later learn went by ‘The Nizzle’, had fallen through. Conveniently, he was now available.
Our first date was at an Applebee’s and for some reason, just about everyone we knew at the time joined us, including my friend who introduced us and, naturally, The Nizzle. By far it was the best first date I had ever been on. We’ve been married for 13 years.
About two months ago, I started a new role at Veeam. When the opportunity was first brought to me, I wasn’t 100% sold. It was something I had never done before. It was a detour off the marketing path I had been on. It was on a brand-new team of unfamiliar people. The role had no direct reports and didn’t feel like a step up. I hesitated.
Ultimately, thanks to the encouragement of mentors who are smarter than me, I decided to take a leap of faith. In the very short amount of time in this new role, I have already been handed opportunities like presenting to our CEO, traveling to Switzerland to participate in a team meeting, getting feedback from executives I previously would not have had access to, and learning so much about a side of the business I knew nothing about. This experience is invaluable.
In the ever-changing landscape of IT where companies are bought and sold, merged and downsized regularly, where leadership is continually coming and going, where new departments and roles are created to keep pace with the needs of a company experiencing explosive growth, the opportunities are endless.
Sometimes these opportunities won’t look appealing at first. They might look like a lateral move at best, or they might look frightening. In some cases, they might not be your choice.
But they could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened.
As we ramp up 2018 with sales kick offs, industry meetings, and a fresh start, take the time to revisit a relationship, revaluate an opportunity, renew a stalled connection. Reach out and look deeper, look again. You never know how much clarity and reward a second look can offer.