Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.’ ~ John Greenleaf Whittier
Whittier was right. Of all the sad words uttered, the saddest are those that lament a missed opportunity. Opportunity is literally everywhere around you and today is the day to evaluate your options, seize the one that could fit you like a glove, and pursue it with passion. Today I challenge you to begin to manage your focus in a way that invites you to recognize possibility. When you do, you will find many options to consider and embrace.
On rare occasion, opportunity knocks with a loud, thunderous roar. More often, however, it’s a soft tap on the edges of your consciousness. Being attune to that more subtle presence requires your active participation in the process. Explore. Ask questions. Build a network of peers – both professional and personal. Read. Listen. Learn.
Write it down
Keeping a journal and reviewing it from time to time can help you identify sparks of an idea. Write about your challenges. Write about your dreams. Don’t self-edit. Even the most fanciful dream can contain a nugget of real opportunity. As you re-read your notes, highlight the things that represent opportunities. Take notes about potential solutions for the challenges you listed. Draft a bullet-pointed plan on what it could take to bring your ideas to life.
Don’t be Goldilocks
We all know the story of the girl who invaded the home of three bears. Goldilocks made her way from food, to chair, to bed looking for the perfect fit. She discarded that which was too hot, too big, too soft, too firm, and settled only for what was “just right.” The thing about opportunity, however, is that it may require you to stretch and grow. Be open to the imperfect. Be prepared to take on a challenge that will require you to develop new skill sets or improve on skills you consider yourself more novice at.
Try, fall, and try again
The pathway to success can take many detours. To succeed, you may need to fail
. Be willing to step up to the plate and strike out. Dust yourself off, evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Then move on. You may decide to tackle the opportunity from a new vantage point or you may collect your lessons learned and move on to the next thing. Whether something is a success or failure is just a matter of perspective. Even if this venture doesn’t progress forward, you did garner new skills and experience that will better equip you for your next attempt.
Nix the self-doubt
Do you keep yourself from starting new projects because you know you’ll fail? Consider replacing your limiting beliefs with more positive alternatives.
You can start by noticing what you say to yourself and making changes to negative statements. For example, if you begin to tell yourself you’re not good at something, stop, and rephrase that statement. Instead tell yourself that no one is good at anything the first time they try it and decide you are going to try something new. Once you’ve been presented with opportunity, take advantage of it.