The Dates That Can Change Your Career


There are more of them than you think every year

I was recently working with a couple of business developers who are trying to enhance their team’s profile, execution, and results. In other words, enhance their opportunities to be noticed and considered for bigger things.

Like most leaders, they are BUSY. So busy that every day’s agenda and set of “to do’s” can just blend into the next day or the one before. As business leaders, they are almost snow blind to the difference between this day or the next as special days of opportunity. They have almost lost the ability to plan, anticipate, and take advantage of the uniqueness of the subtle opportunity.

And if they have, certainly their supervisors or marketplace commentators may have lost the ability to see their insights, their responsive nature, and their joy in their work as well. And if that is the case how will they ever be noticed?

Jumping off the screen

Have you ever noticed how some teammates just “jump off the screen as the star of the movie” from day to day? It is more than a bubbly persona. It’s a planned one, it’s a tactic of awareness, and it’s their ability to seize a moment for simply being aware that today is a moment of opportunity.

From January 1 through December 31 of next year, every competent business leader (every teammate that strives for that title) in this network should be aware of their moments of opportunity on the calendar ahead. How many have you noted? How many of those moments do you have a matching correlated set of tactics ready for the day? How many subtle strategies do you have to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right attitude, and with the insight that could capture the moment? NOTE: the “right” approach takes thought beyond just your way.

Have you marked the calendar ahead of time? Do you solicit your friends and family to remind you that today is the day? Do you coordinate your team for the day? I would love to see your marked calendars before 2022.

Remember this: every day of your life is an interview for the opportunities ahead. Have you marked the days you will be paying attention? Have you noted the tactics you will display? Have you planned to respond to the interviews that are seldom labeled as such? Yes, COVID can paint a calendar and your mood gray, but without a plan, the rest of your life could be painted the same way.

Quitting your job and overtly looking for these interviews in strange new places with strange new people is a tactic—but maybe a rash one. Search for something better right now. Learn to see the interviews and opportunities in your everyday life and capitalize on them. Prepare to live lucky, because luck is most often a fleeting flyby opportunity.

Don’t listen to the cynic in your heart

I was speaking with a colleague, and he said this about my message: “The cynic in me says such structured and transparent self-promotion is an unfavorable quality. But then I also think business leaders don’t care about the opinions of cynics, but of the efforts made by those willing to try. I definitely think if I ever want to amount to more, I need to continue being bold with my image. I’ve never been one to shy from sharing my thoughts, so I don’t know why I’m shy of sharing my achievements.”

My message to that individual was “you are ahead of your peers in most cases.” Your peers think their cynicism about “it should work for everyone” is a quality to be admired, but that is because they are cynical about individual effort and its rewards. The effort of promotion of anything is a delineating investment (some do, some don’t). And if “self” is truly aligned properly with the community’s values and goals, then the effort is admirable and worthy of a return to both the firm and the individual. The “don’t” are left on the outside looking in.

What you should never be shy of is the effort you put forward for your achievements—even including the effort to connect the dots between achievement and effort as the inspiration for all to reach for more. To show off is an investment in effort on its own; used properly, it’s a good one to inspire others.

Right now we live in a world all too ready to expect achievement without any need or expectation of investing more. The funny thing about more is that for those not ready to examine what the difference is between levels of investment, that many find they have overestimated the cost of more in respect to the rewards for more before time runs out.

Potentially the wisdom to be had is that life (the world) is not holding you back. Your, the individual’s, poor investments towards more effort to differentiate yourself is.


  • Randy Karnes

    From 1994 to 2021, Mr. Karnes was CEO of CU*Answers, a credit union-owned CUSO that provides core processing, consulting, management, and technology services. An active participant in the credit union industry since 1985, Mr. Karnes currently serves on the Boards of Xtend and eDOC Innovations and formerly served on the Board of Callahan and Associates for many years. Mr. Karnes has an infectious vision and drive for bringing credit unions together to explore the power of collaboration in entirely new ways. His enthusiasm for imagining and building new credit union business models has been helping to change the way many credit unions will approach serving members now and in the future.

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