When is an opportunity NOT an “opportunity”?

When is an opportunity NOT an “opportunity”?

Most of us spread the majority of our days thinking about, searching for and reaching for our next opportunity. I personally did exactly that for many years. There are opportunities everywhere. Some of them are better choices than others. Do you know which of them are right for you and which of them are not? Here is how I began to find answers to that very important question.

During my early years of starting a business, I found myself jumping from one opportunity to the next constantly and depleting my resources over and over again. I kept myself in a near-panic state of mind because I felt that many of these opportunities were great, yet I was not succeeding like I wanted.

searching for the next opportunityHaving abandoned a lucrative engineering career to pursue my dream of starting a business and having the freedom to “sail my own ship”, I suddenly realized that a financial ship wreck was close at hand.

Luckily for me, during this time my family spent a few weeks vacationing. We visited some relatives who lived a much simpler life than we did. They lived on their family farm in a very rural area. They worked extremely hard most every day, yet seemed so much more relaxed than I was. In addition, there was no noise or distractions around them. It was quiet most of the time – incredibly peaceful. I enjoyed it.

My breakthrough came suddenly one afternoon and its source was totally unexpected. It came to me from my uncle, who had the family reputation of being a “slow thinker”. I had spent the better part of an hour moaning to him about my business problems and describing all of the wonderful opportunities I had a chance to own. He listened to everything I was saying, but didn’t react to any of it. I was thinking to myself that he may have been a “thinker”, but he definitely was not much of a talker.

American mixed breed of unknown heritageThen it happened! Their family dog, Roger, an American mixed breed of unknown heritage, came running across the yard at “break neck” speed heading toward the little road that ran past the house.

Roger intercepted a car that suddenly appeared from behind the orchard and as the car rolled past the house, Roger chased along barking and snapping mightily at the tires. Whenever a car came along the road, Roger would burst into action. He did it nearly every time a car passed, until he had exhausted himself. After I witnessed all of that, I had a nice laugh over it. I turned to my uncle and said, “You know, your dog Roger is a nice old dog, but he’s a bit on the crazy side.”

My uncle took offense to my comments!

He turned to me and said, “No, he’s not crazy. He has more sense than you do – with all of your high minded ideas! Think about this, young man. Roger is just getting exercise and he knows that. When there isn’t an occasional car to chase, he will chase a rabbit or a squirrel. He is just getting his daily exercise. Roger has no desire to drive the car. He is chasing it for the exercise. Now, what is your excuse for chasing opportunities like you have been doing?” If you intend to drive them, why haven’t you figured out by now that you are chasing opportunities that you don’t even know how to drive. You are just hoping that you will learn how to drive them at some point down the road. To me, that is what I would call crazy!”

That comment shook me – as it definitely left me unable to respond. The more I tried to respond, I couldn’t, because I had just complained for nearly an hour about that very fact. Every opportunity I had focused upon had clearly taught me that I had not been fully prepared to handle it, so I failed or lost money.

So – lesson learned! An opportunity is only an “opportunity” if you are fully prepared to handle it. So, my approach toward opportunities changed that day. I stopped just looking for “opportunities”, I began learning to evaluate “opportunities” based upon my resources and capabilities. If I was fully prepared to handle an opportunity, then it became a proper “opportunity” to pursue. As a result, I immediately reduced my failures and increased my successes – just by refocusing as my uncle had suggested. It made a tremendous difference in my business career.

dictionary meaning of opportunityI once looked up the word “opportunity” in the dictionary and the definitions provided are very much what I am sure you would expect. But, for some reason, I decided to look up the opposite meaning of opportunity. There were several antonyms, but two of them surprised me and I never forgot them.

The two most striking antonyms for opportunity are truth and reality! If you go after an opportunity that you are not ready for – it is never long before you run into reality and the truth!

 

 

reblogged from The eAlliancemaker 

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Meet Sherman Hunter

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