Some Thoughts About Opportunities

Opportunity. It's practically one of the founding principles of this country. It's often viewed as a rare magical egg that one must take care of and nurture, and above all: treasure. 

And yet the truth is that opportunity is not nearly so rare as we think. I myself have had countless drool-worthy opportunities present themselves to me since transitioning to coaching full-time. A friend of mine with the gift of opportunity often has three or more perfectly viable routes to take, each with the universe laying out a nice neat path that seems too good to be true. So, opportunity may not be as rare as we think it is. Here are some things I've noticed about opportunity lately:  

First, opportunity exists if you're looking for it. If you're head-down working, not thinking about where you're trying to go and talking to others about where you're trying to go, then you will only continue to see what's in front of your face. This is definitely a two-pronged task: you must be doing internal work to figure out where you want to be going, and you have to be doing external work to communicate it to other people that that's what you're looking for. The external work doesn't necessarily have to be to the right people. You'd be surprised at the new information you can learn from the wrong people. 

Second, opportunity exists if you believe in it. My theory is that my friend's success in finding opportunity is that she believes it exists, no matter how impossible or outlandish it seems, and because of that she's able to find it. So, if you believe your ideal client is a one-eyed photographer who loves playing basketball, then believe it and go hunting for that person. You may not find that exactly, but you might be able to find a support group for one-eyed painters who love playing golf. That's close enough to a jackpot in my book! 

Thirdly, opportunity rarely hits the mark. As my previous paragraph contends, sometimes the opportunity isn't spot on, but it's close enough. Other times it is way off. In my experience, once I had clarity on what I was supposed to be doing, all these opportunities come out of the wood work. On the one hand, no one wants to look a gift horse in the mouth, and on the other hand, none of these opportunities were things that I wanted to be doing! At this point I've probably said no to more opportunities than I've said yes to. I feel good about this because I know what my path is and I know that these opportunities are too far from what I want to be doing. It is ok to say no to the rare magical egg of opportunity. 

And finally: the curse of opportunity: trying to decide. I over simplified in the last paragraph. I can claim that I saw these opportunities, knew them to be false and moved on, but that's not true. Each opportunity came with it's own period of hemming and hawing, and consulting with trusted friends and advisers to identify them as not-the-right-thing. That process is never easy. Even on the more clear cases, doubt rears it's head and I become unsure. Once time passes I realize that I'm doing the work that I love and each and every one of the opportunities would have prevented that. 

So, if I were to turn this into take-aways, here's what they are:

  • keep an eye out for opportunity.
  • figure out what your perfect opportunity is.
  • do not be afraid to turn down not-perfect opportunities. 

All of which is easier said than done, but best of luck to you all!