Life is all about opportunity.
It’s about the choices we make on a daily basis.
We are all presented with opportunities every day whether we see them or not.
Some people are lucky enough to have opportunities served up to them on the platter of life not having to work very hard for them. And even then, these people may not realise their opportunities and let them sail away.
While others are given very little or nothing by way of opportunity, yet they are determined to make the most of their abilities and surrounding circumstance to create and realise opportunity where none may have existed before.
Sometimes opportunities are disguised as setbacks, major losses and betrayals that give us the momentum to change our circumstances for the better. Sometimes they are a little note of gratitude and encouragement that lights the fire of ambition and purpose. Sometimes they are boring mundane things or small irritants that finally capture our attention and tell us that something has to give.
However opportunity arrives on our doorsteps, we would be foolish to think our success in realising opportunities happens in isolation and is completely under our own control.
In a world of hyper individualism, it is a good to remember that we are all part of an interconnected system of relationships, circumstances, communities and societies and that we didn’t get there, wherever there is, all by ourselves. If you look behind the scenes, many of those so called ‘self-made billionaires’ were fortunate to be supported by wealthy parents or other connexions who backed their ideas.
I recently watched a video featuring Angelina Jolie when she was receiving a prestigious award. She noted that her mother was a key enabler of her opportunities in life; however, she went on to say that her personal circumstances – that she was born in a safe and prosperous country that allowed her to pursue her goals and ambitions and to realise her talents and opportunities – were a key factor that she was fortunate to receive. By contrast, she mentioned that there are many other talented women and men in the world who, by circumstance, are in refugee camps or homeless, struggling to help their families survive and where the world of opportunity is currently limited to survival on a day to day basis. As such, Jolie’s mother encouraged her to use her talents and opportunities to help others lead better lives – to be of service to others.
We know that life isn’t always fair and much of what we have is often due to the luck of circumstance, that’s why I am more determined to find opportunities to do good work and be of service to others.
I was lucky that I was born in Australia to middle class parents who gave me plenty of opportunities to thrive.
And whilst in my youth I would have taken many of these opportunities for granted, I have realised more and more that without the kindness of others, mostly strangers – people I will never meet who serve up opportunity through their hard work, innovations, productivity and service everyday – I could not have accomplished many of the things I have achieved.
Which makes me even more aware of others and how they contribute to our society. It’s so easy for us to make judgements about others – right or wrong – through our own filters and perceptions. I’m as guilty as the next person in falling into these traps. However, the skills I have learned in human-centred selling, such as active listening, questioning skills, and reflection, have taught me how to really hear and understand what others are saying and what is important to them, whether I agree with them or not. It reminds me to be respectful. It also shows me –in the business environment- whether opportunities exist for mutual cooperation or not.
Even when things get really bleak and we think all is lost and we default to self-pity and blame, it’s really the ability to turn our darkest moments into opportunities for growth that can truly transform who we are.
Whether it’s our own personal or professional journey, whether we are in sales and business, or serving our communities, we do have choices to create new opportunities, to build viable, prosperous mutually beneficial relationships, create new pathways.
And even when no opportunity seems evident, that is when we need to stretch our horizons, shift our perspectives, open our minds and look at how we can create opportunity instead.
Please don’t close your minds and shut down.
Instead, I encourage you to read widely and become a small ‘w’ worldly person because we need to be open to opportunity every day. The opportunity to improve, be better as individuals, teams, businesses and societies. The opportunity to do good work and be of service to others.
For me, opportunity has always been about defining what our lives mean to each of us and not conforming to what others say life should be. It’s all about opportunity. Be a bit adventurous and go out on a limb… opportunity it always right in front of you.
Welcome to life.
Welcome to Opportunity.
Remember everybody lives by selling something.