There are going to be a few times in your life when you know you have a chance to accomplish one of your life goals. It is as though the starts have aligned and everything that needed to happen, has happened. When the time comes, are you going to be ready to seize your opportunities and change your life? Just because there will be other opportunities doesn’t mean they will be there next month or even next year. You want to position yourself in a way that allows you to seize your opportunities when they present themselves.
Subscribe To The Change Blindness Podcast
You don’t want to be one of those people who look back in life and say,
- that was the person I should have proposed to
- that was the job I should have applied to
- or that was the investment opportunity I should have capitalized on
I know I have missed a couple opportunities along my path because I did not put in the work ahead of time and I do not want that to happen to you.
You can’t seize the opportunities you can’t see
You need a clear picture of what you are trying to accomplish in your life. That is the only way you are going to recognize the opportunity. Most people have not spent any time preparing mentally for the opportunity, so their mind is not allowing them to see them.
Imagine someone who lost 100 lbs and they still believe they are overweight. All of their friends tell them how amazing they look, but they still see all their imperfection when they look in the mirror. Since they cannot see their progress, they start to take unhealthy approaches to losing weight and develop an eating disorder.
Another example is someone who was released from prison and they are having difficulty adjusting back into society. The data shows many convicts end up reincarnated because they just can’t figure out how they fit into the world anymore. They end up wanting to return to prison because that makes the most sense to them.
Adjusting your mindset and seizing your opportunities is also difficult for many military personnel. They return from a deployment in a war-zone and civilian life is foreign to them. They have difficulty maintaining their marriages and keeping consistent employment. As a result, their comfort is on the battlefield with their brotherhood. The rest of the world doesn’t make as much sense to them.
Paint a clear picture
So when you are attempting to seize your opportunities, you need to be very clear what that life looks like. You need to write down every detail of the goal you are trying to achieve. If it is a job, write down your pay, location, title, vacation days, and even the amount of hours you are going to work each day. If it is a relationship, describe how the person looks, things they like, don’t like, the number of kids they want, their spirituality, and career ambitions.
Then you want to read your list on a daily basis and you want to share your list with your friends. It is like you are putting your expectations out into the world and it going to help you recognize the opportunity when it arises. By sharing your expectations with your friends and family, they may recognize the opportunity that matches what you told them and recommend you for it. For example, they may forward the position to you when they see it or recommend you to the hiring manager when they ask for recommendations.
Become fixated on your opportunity
When I was a kid, I loved Dairy Queen and it was a joy every time we went. For those that don’t know, Diary Queen is an ice-cream parlor that is famous for their blizzard. The only downside to our family ice cream outing was how far away Dairy Queen was from our house. This particular one was about 45 minutes away. Even as a kid, I knew convenience and quality made good business sense. Therefore, I had the idea of opening a Dairy Queen about 10 minutes from the house. I would tell my parents about my idea all the time, and within a few years someone else opened a Dairy Queen 10 minutes from the house.
That Dairy Queen is still there to this day and it is something I still think about. It took me awhile to go inside because I felt they stole my idea. 🙂
Prepare for the challenges
Because I fixated my mind on Diary Queen, I was able to recognize an opportunity that I could have capitalized on. My biggest mistake was I did not prepare for the challenge of my age and funding. Which leads us into the second aspect of how to seize your opportunities, and that is to prepare for them. In my Dairy Queen example, what could I have done to help me seize the opportunity I had found? Probably would have been a good idea to write a business plan, to explore some funding options, and to see the process of licensing a Dairy Queen franchise. While this may have been seen as “too much” for an eight year old, it doesn’t mean it could not have been accomplished.
As you start chasing happiness, you will slowly realize there are going to be plenty of challenges along the way. However, you won’t recognize all the challenges until you get started. I may have realized on my journey to open a Diary Queen that I needed to seek out a mentor or business coach for some of the challenges. The fact that you are going to face challenges doesn’t mean you don’t take action. Because if you wait for everything to be perfect to take action, then you will never accomplish your goals.
Prepare to seize your opportunities today
You can’t wait until the opportunity presents itself to start preparing for it. If you want to be promoted into leadership, you need to take action today to set yourself apart from the competition. You cannot wait until the job is posted and then decide to sure up any shortcomings you may have. What if you discover you need a certification or additional experience in a particular department? Is your opportunity going to wait six to twelve months for you to gather the proper credentials?
The parable of the ten virgins highlights this pretty well. There was a wedding and no one knew the day or the time, so the women needed to have their oil canisters full at all times. When they heard the trumpet, they knew the wedding was imminent, but only one woman had her canister filled and she made it into the gates before they closed. The other women had to first fill their oil canisters and as a result missed their opportunity.
It may seem like a lot of work to prepare for an opportunity that may not come for years, but isn’t that more of a reason to be prepared? If it takes five years for your opportunity to come, do you want to risk missing that opportunity and having to wait another five or ten years?
Are you going to take no for an answer?
If you prepare to seize your opportunities, you are better prepared to push through the tough times. If you only wish for things to happen, you are not prepared for the struggle. The struggle is real my friends. If you want to run a marathon, you need to prepare for the possibility of pulling a muscle.
If you don’t prepare for how you will continue to train if you injure yourself, you will end up taking a break without a plan to restart. Then all of your hard work will be lost and you will have to regain your momentum. Regaining momentum is one of the most exhausting things you will do in your life and that is why most people end up quitting when things go wrong.
Set reasonable expectations
A part of the reason I encourage an achojah lifestyle is because you are taking active steps each day to accomplish your goal. This is important because you don’t want to burden yourself with unreasonable expectations where you burn out in a month. That is part of the reason most people are unable to accomplish their goals and resolutions. If you risk everything expecting a quick return, you may quit when you realize it is going to take four times longer than you initially thought.
Even if you don’t quit outright, your circumstances may force you to quit. If you were planning on opening a business, you may run out of money if you only prepared three months of funding, when the business requires one year of funding. Some situations you will be able to overcome, but you want to make sure you at a minimum understand what a reasonable expectation is. Then if you want to push yourself beyond those expectations, you need to create a plan to create those results. You cannot follow a one year blueprint and expect results in three months. You must be consistent in your actions and the results they will produce.
For you to seize your opportunities, you need to spend the time preparing for what you want out of life. Then when the opportunity arises, you will be ahead of your competition. While some will call you lucky, you will know it was due to your intentional actions and preparation.
Until next time,
Dre “Better Self, Better Wealth” Griggs
Sources: Champion of Change: The 7 Instrumental Laws of Change That Will Jumpstart and Solidify Your Success, Your Growth, Your Life Seven Things to Know About Repeat Offenders