The Flagpole

There’s a brilliant scene in Pirates of the Caribbean (one of the all-time most perfect movies ever made, by the way) where Elizabeth Swan and Jack Sparrow are stranded on an island. With no means of escape, Elizabeth Swan uses the island’s cache of rum to create an enormous bonfire with a pillar of smoke so high that every ship for hundreds of miles – most of which are looking for her – can see it. They are rescued within hours.

In life, we spend a lot of time searching for stuff. A great romantic partner, the perfect job, a problem-solving product or service. Very rarely, however, do we take the time to realize that the humans behind those things are also searching for us. Sometimes a far more effective method than searching is to be searchable.

Elizabeth Swan knew that there were people who wanted to rescue her. So instead of focusing on escape attempts, she focused on being rescueable. It worked.

If you’re looking for a great job, they’re looking for a great employee. If you’re looking for a wonderful romance, so is someone else. If you’re looking to buy a solution to a problem, they’re looking for customers with the problem they can solve. Take some time to think about those people – where might they be looking? How are they identifying their targets? How can you build a bonfire to let them know “I’m right here?”

On a very regular basis during any prolonged search, you should just be running things up the flagpole to see who looks. You should be willing to talk about your search in public, whatever “in public” means to you these days. People want to help you, and will – if they know where you are.

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