ABCs of Positivity: O Is for Opportunity
Have you ever noticed that the “lucky” people in your life just seem to keep getting luckier? The luckier they are, the luckier they become. It’s almost as if their luck is self-perpetuating.
Thing is, luck probably has fairly little to do with it. I’m willing to bet that those lucky people have honed their ability to notice – and leverage – opportunity. When there’s a chance, they take it. When fate offers them a gift – whether it’s a chance meeting, an unexpected phone call, an email they wouldn’t normally read, an introduction, noticing an ad online – they accept the gift and make the most of it. They’ve become adept at noticing openings and walking through them.
Reasons to Improve Your Ability to Recognize Opportunities
(1) More chances to enrich your life experiences
(2) May be an opening to discover new talents or develop new skills
(3) Could lead to work you love – or a bigger paycheck
(4) Will give you a sense of accomplishment – especially if you have to reach or grow to pursue the opportunity
(5) The chance to do something bigger – or go further – than you could on your own
(6) Developing the skill of seeing opportunities will make you more aware overall
My friend Connie Kadansky is an international sales trainer who teaches people to get over Sales Call Reluctance™. I haven’t been through one of her trainings in a while, but she used to say something to the effect of, “Opportunities are never lost. If you pass one up, the person next to you will take it.”
It’s not enough to recognize opportunities – you must then act on them! Steps might include:
(1) Practice seeing the opportunities around you. One of my marketing mentors was brilliant at seeing opportunities I just couldn’t see (before I learned how). It was as if he’d hold up a blank sheet of paper and say, “Look at the 37 opportunities here,” and I couldn’t see any of them. Then, I began to practice.
Start with knowing what you want: More love, better relationships, to leave your job to pursue your passion project. Get as clear a picture as possible of what you want. Then figure out what you need to get there. (Reminder – there may be things you don’t know you need, but they – or the opportunities to attract them – will show up as soon as you get moving.)
Remember that the things you need may show up in unexpected ways or unlikely disguises. This is where your developing skill at sniffing out opportunities will come in handy.
(2) Be sure to find the balance between viewing the people you meet as potential helpers (opportunity) and viewing them only as tools you can use to advance your own causes (opportunism).
(3) Decide if and how this person, place, thing, or idea can actually help you achieve your goal – or whether it’s just a beautiful distraction.
(4) If it’s a person, determine how best to approach them. I generally advise my clients not to go in with your hand out – but come at the situation by finding a way the partnership is beneficial to both you and them. Sometimes, however, you just need to ask for a favor. Discern the best way to approach your person and ask, unashamedly. Remember that you’re no worse off to have them say no to you than you were if you didn’t ask at all. And every time you ask is practice for the next time.
(5) Sometimes people are busy – they may say yes and then nothing… Nudge them or gently remind them. You will be the one to determine how far to take this. For some people a second nudge will propel them into action. For others, it may take still another tickle. Still others may have committed to you without thinking and would now like to retract their offer – they’re trying to “ghost” you and would really prefer you quit bothering them. How much do you want what you think this person can bring to the table, and what are you willing to do to get their attention? Of course, there is Napoleon Hill’s story about Edwin C. Barnes and his determination to work with Thomas Edison. Barnes refused to quit pestering until he not only got Edison’s attention, but was able to go into business with him.1
(6) Make a plan and execute it.
(7) Express your gratitude.
As with so many of the words and concepts we are exploring through the ABCs of Positivity, some people are more naturally gifted at recognizing opportunities than others, but it is a skill you can develop. Whatever you do, avoid getting into a space of jealousy or envy when you see others taking advantage of the opportunities before them. Change your perspective to view those people as examples of what is possible. Let them motivate you to begin sensing, seeing, and acting on your own opportunities.
What you think about you bring about (WYTAYBA). Rather than feel bad about someone else’s success, create an afformation2 like this: “Why am I so good at seeing opportunities?” or “Why does opportunity always find me?” Then use it. Repeat it to yourself again and again as a reminder of where you want to focus your attention.
Here’s to keeping your eyes open and making your own luck!
1 From Think and Grow Rich
2 An afformation is similar to an affirmation – but it is formed as a question. When you ask your subconscious mind a question, it immediately goes to work to answer the question.