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Senior Correspondent

Opportunities Don’t Go Away … Other People Take Advantage of Them

Opportunities Don’t Go Away … Other People Take Advantage of Them

Life as it could be for many still remains a dream or a distant goal too frequently replaced by the existence we know, and too often well rationalized. Sound familiar? What we knew almost reflexively poses fewer risks and does not take us out of our comfort zone.

We resurrect the dream at New Years when it makes the list of resolutions along with such staples as losing weight and applying for a fitness club membership. Subliminally, we say, “O.K., that’s done.” Then, it is back to doubling down on that restaurant, landscape, real-estate business (some common examples) that may not have been as profitable as we had hoped, and that still requires 70 – 80 hours of our time weekly.

A friend, or someone else approached you regarding a new opportunity that was timely, low-risk financially, required less time commitment, and you had the option of doing it part time. You said “no” for a raft of reasons (no time was the most frequent response) but the real reason may have been that it took you out of your comfort zone.  It may have required a level of self-assessment your current business does not require. Or, maybe you would have to reset your skills. In a weak economy, periodically resetting your skills is what you need to do to remain flexible and competitive.  At the end of the day, you said no and walked away.

Here is something that happens frequently. See how it sounds to you. Often, we look at opportunities and a comfortable tunnel vision allows us to push back because the opportunity may not have been “packaged” right. The presentation did not fit the “opportunity-I-would-accept” packaging model. This is not unusual, even today. I see it regularly.

I said this before and I do maintain that our thoughts – often preconceived – do shape our circumstances. That opportunity you failed to grasp, to accept, did not go away. Someone else took advantage of it!

Success as we define it and pursue it is still about the choices we make – and do not make.

Ok, back to the narrative. A friend, a relative, a colleague with a broader vision heard the same idea you did and decided it was worth the investment of time, resources, and skills’ enhancement. They had a few things in common with you: they, too, were exhausted after a 70 – 80 hour week; no time for family nor a vacation away from home or their community. I think they are referred to as “staycations.”

The income your friend derived from his/her business did not suffice, so finding a part-time second job became necessary. Let’s allow that he/she was adequately compensated from their business but the daily time commitment was a real killer.

Life as your friend and his/her family lived it was certainly not life as it could be.

Six months to a year later, that friend or colleague is now sharing with you details regarding life-altering changes they’ve experienced. They were excited and, because you were a friend, they wanted to share.

Your interest is piqued so, you ask, “What are your doing?” As details emerge surrounding this new activity, instantly you recalled having had the same opportunity. The only difference was, your colleague said “yes” and you said “no.”

Your friend did not know you had been approached around the time they were so they go on to talk about the time they now spend at family events, the first vacation they could afford in years, the new skills they developed and, most importantly, the impact they are having on the lives of others like themselves. This last point seems to have particular significance for them.

They make the point that their New Year’s resolution list is now real. They whip out the membership card to the fitness club.  In fact, they actually have the time to visit it several times weekly. Moreover, they lost weight, found time to paint the house and college tuition is back in the family budget – along with health insurance. The family budget, you now learn, is no longer limited to just the bills they can pay but, also, includes the projects they could not plan for previously. This is a major change.

After about 15 minutes, your former colleague says, “It’s like I have a second chance at life!” Did you get that? A second chance at life.

We won’t dwell on your probable reactions to this latter point. Instead, let’s reflect on your mindset at the earlier decision – you know, when you said “no!”

Opportunities abound, even today! And this is contrary to what you might be hearing through cable news and other media organs. If you want to tune into the 21st century marketplace of ideas and opportunities, become familiar with social media.

What is of paramount importance is our mindset: open or closed; our willingness to adapt a broader vision; a willingness to lean our career ladder (or opportunity) against a different wall before it is too late.

The comfort zone we each adopt is synonymous with that old suit or dress we like: comfortable, still looks good, and it fits.

Periodically, the closet (our mindset) needs a good cleaning. Look at some of the new packaging (opportunities) out there and make the decision to at least evaluate them. Know what you are saying no to before you actually say no. Here is a website that describes something that worked for me: www.mymangosteen.com/naturesimpact It may not be for you, but, then, it might.

I will conclude on this point. Would you not prefer to give yourself a chance at success than to close the door on it only to realize later it could have been yours? Think about it and ask if your mindset could use a little fresh air.

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