Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

7 Ways to Open More Doors in Business and in Life

Your level of success depends a lot on the opportunities available to you, as well as what you choose to do with them. But how do you increase the number of open doors in your life? A few things can help.

1. Associate With Winners

Your friends are like elevators—they either bring you up, or bring you down. “Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with. And the collisions and the dreams lead to your changes. And the changes are what you become,” writes author and entrepreneur Seth Godin. “Change the outcome by changing your circle.” Just make sure you authentically have an interest in these people and aren’t just using them to get ahead. People are remarkably good at sniffing out a fake.

2. Think of Yourself as Lucky

Research psychologist and author Keith Sawyer points out that people who describe themselves as lucky tend to notice things more than self-described unlucky people. They also act on unexpected opportunities and network well with others because they’re curious, whereas unlucky people tend to be tense and miss opportunities. This makes sense considering experts have found risk-takers do better in business and life because they don’t shy away from challenges or opportunities that may be frightening.

3. Be Generous

Think of the tightwads you know. Are they your favorite people? Wharton professor and author Adam Grant says people will cheer and root for you when you choose the giver approach. Certainly your chances for success are greater with more people in your corner.

4. Be Curious

How much do you really know about the people you brush up against, whether it’s your co-workers, the coffee shop barista who makes your latte every day, or even people you’ve known forever but may be taking for granted. Get in the habit of asking more questions. You never know what you’ll learn and where your newfound knowledge will lead.

5. Be in the Right Place

Make a point of meeting people who operate in your company’s space or have business acumen you can learn from. This could involve attending industry events, local meetups, or the many conferences Inc. puts on throughout the year, such as the Predictable Success Acceleration Program held in various cities, or the next GROWCO conference to be held in Nashville in April for business leaders aggressively pursuing growth.

6. Post Intelligent Commentary Online

Spend some time at high-traffic websites related to your industry or expertise and contribute thoughtful comments to their forums. This is a good way to establish yourself as an expert as well as an opportunity to leave a link to your website or blog. What could this get you? More followers on social media and connections who may invite you to speak at an event or act as a source for a media interview.

7. Acknowledge the Attractiveness Bias

You can look at this two ways.

First, make an effort to present yourself as clean and well-dressed. You can do better than the current trend of wearing athletic wear such as yoga pants in nearly any setting. And if halitosis or body odor are a problem, try altering your microbiome—the bacteria that live in and on your body. In addition to oral supplements that provide beneficial bacteria that will fight against odor-causing microbes, you’ll get healthy probiotics from fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha, all of which you can find in your local health foods store.

More importantly, though, don’t cut yourself off from people you judge to be less than attractive. Everyone, regardless of their shell, has a story to tell. And it might be one you need to hear. Check out this video in which Dustin Hoffman laments doing this himself.

More From Inc.

Photo of key courtesy of Shutterstock.

A logo with "the muse" in white text.