What do you think of when you hear the word “opportunity”?
- Is an opportunity something you earn?
- Does an opportunity create an easy path forward?
- Or do you believe opportunity is a chance and that you must utilize that chance rather than waste it?
- Do you believe that an opportunity affords itself to you so that you can accomplish your goals and make the most of your life?
- Do you believe that most opportunities require hard work, thought, and evaluation?
Dictionary.com gives the word “opportunity” three definitions: 1. an appropriate or favorable time or occasion, 2. a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal, and 3. a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.
How do we find opportunities?
First, searching for an opportunity is as pointless as searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. However, just because you shouldn’t go out and search for opportunities doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep yourself prepared to seize an opportunity should it come your way.
You keep your car in running order, right? You get your oil changed on a regular basis rather than letting it go, you rotate your tires, and you make sure it is in running order so it doesn’t break down and leave you stranded.
You keep your household in order, right? If something breaks, you try to fix it or, if necessary, replace it. You keep surfaces clean so you stay healthy, and you keep things in order so that you can find what you need. Right?
Just like your car and your household, you should keep yourself ready should an opportunity arise: keep your mind active and your behaviors and attitudes positive, keep yourself healthy and active, keep yourself rested and organized.
I believe that opportunities come our way when we are already working hard at what we do, when we are keeping our attitudes positive, and when we are already participating in life. Opportunities also come when they are least expected, but the opportunity might look like hard work, or it might look time consuming.
Take the following two stories:
Katie, who had just been laid off at work, is in a hurry to get her groceries and get home to work on her resume. In the middle of the cereal aisle, a crying pre-schooler is standing by herself. Instead of hurrying by and letting someone else help, she parks her cart close to the shelves of cereal. She calmly talks to the little girl who has no idea where her mom is. Katie walks the little girl to customer service where the clerk gets on the intercom system and asks if “Jane Doe” is still in the store and asks if she would come to customer service.
Mother and daughter are reunited and the mom offers to hire Kate to watch her daughter three days a week. Later, “Jane Doe” arranges an interview with the company she works for and Katie is hired mid-interview.
Katie could have turned down the babysitting job, but then wouldn’t have had the chance to be hired for her dream job.
Mitch had been laid off for weeks and was beginning to come to the end of his savings. As he crosses the parking lot to his second interview of the day, he spies a wallet lying on the ground. He certainly could have used the $500.00 inside to pay his three month electric bill. Instead, he brought the wallet to human relations so that they could contact the employee. During Mitch’s interview, George, the owner of the wallet, enters the interview, introduces himself as the owner of the company, and tells the person conducting the interview to hire Mitch on the spot. Mitch’s honesty rewards him a great job with great benefits.
Too often, we think of opportunity as something handed to us without our input. But, if we are expected to complete an application or submit a resume for the promotion, we declare that it is too much work.
Instead, we need to live a life where we are open and ready for opportunity by doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done.