Have you ever had something on your mind and heard random snippets of conversation related to your thoughts everywhere? It's not a coincidence.
Or maybe you've been soliciting feedback about your work or on a personal matter and keep hearing the same thing, no matter who you ask.
That's also not a coincidence.
That's the world trying to get your attention. Are you listening?
The World Sounds Like a Flock of Seagulls
I'm not talking about the kleptoparasitic bastards that steal your food and ruin your beach picnic, nor am I talking about the 80s synthpop band.
I'm talking about the random pieces of information that float into your consciousness and get your attention.
Author Ramit Sethi calles these seagulls, subtle clues that can help you adjust course and narrow in on your unique talents and gifts. On I Will Teach You to Be Rich, he writes
[When] someone says something once, you might not notice it. When you hear it again, that’s interesting. When you hear it three times, you lean in and start paying attention. From "The Seagull Theory"
When heeded, seagulls key you in to where you should be focusing your efforts.
Why Seagulls Help You Figure Out What to Do
Taking note of the bits and pieces of information that people offer gives you a "secret microscope" into what they think about you. Talents or skills that may have escaped your notice—usually because they come so naturally to you—are suddenly highlighted.
Recognizing seagulls can also give you valuable insight into what people want or need in their lives. One person saying, "I'd love to read a book about how to get published" is one thing; twenty people saying so is a clear sign of a hole in the market that you may be able to fill.
The fact that you observe a seagull in the first place also gives you crucial information: it alerts you to what you're already considering. If you didn't have a specific thought in your mind—either consciously or subconsciously—then you wouldn't notice any information related to it; your mind would filter out any unnecessary input.
The Seagull Theory in Action
The Seagull Theory is directly responsible for the Reach Out Initiative, our free, five-day challenge to help you build better relationships and grow your network.
Think back to Sethi's quote—the seagull squawks about three times before you start paying attention.
Squawk #1: One of my hula sisters off-handedly said, "You know someone for everything." (I didn't notice—at first.)
Squawk #2: I read an article in Forbes Magazine about the value and impact of reaching out daily. (Oh, that's interesting.)
Squawk #3: Over a casual conversation about our unique superpowers (referenced in The Big Leapby Gay Hendricks), my husband said, "You have a unique ability to connect people to resources, systems, or other people to help them achieve what they want to achieve." (I leaned in and paid attention.)
Boom. The Reach Out Initiative was born.
A Little More About the Reach Out Initiative
As previously mentioned, the Reach Out Initiative is a free, five-day challenge to help you build better relationships and grow your network.
Beginning April 25, 2016, the ROI encourages participants to make one new, authentic connection each day via a Reach Out, or a quick contact with a specific compliment, connection, or request.
Each of the five days day has a theme, like Coffee with a Colleague or Ballers and Big-Shots, and comes complete with suggestions for a Reach Out, scripts, and method.
For those who love structure, there are bonus trackers and worksheets to assess your progress.
The ROI has its own Facebook group to make new connections and get support.
Visit the ROI Portal to learn more, or enter your name and email address to get started with your first infosheet, "Nine DOs and DON'Ts for Reaching Out."