Knock, Knock — Who’s There?

Every so often, probably more often than we realize, Opportunity comes our way. But, Opportunity is quite the clever one, often teasing us with extra laps around the block and a gentle tap rather than a loud knock. Let me share such a story which began over 13 years ago when Doug Williams of the U.S. EPA introduced me to Geoff Raymond of Sydney, Australia who in turn introduced me to another Aussie named Gary Lear. The connection led to the development of CleanPro, which was based in part on an environmental software tool I helped develop for the EPA. This certainly was an opportunity, but not the one I referred to.

“Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along.” — Hugh Allen

About a decade later, Gary dropped by my office during a trip to the U.S. I remember how much fun it was to finally meet him in person, even though I can’t remember the reason for his visit or what we talked about. Being the sentimental person that I am, I took his picture and filed it away. Opportunity was merely making her extra lap that day.

“Opportunity is a bird that never perches.” — Claude McDonald

Because Opportunity prefers tapping to knocking, I’ve learned that it pays to look out the window now and again to see if she’s standing on the front porch. In the late spring of 2008, while sorting through some old papers, I discovered a fax cover sheet with Gary’s name. It was curiosity that caused me to use to look up his contact information. There were actually, two Gary Lears listed in Australia. Thinking to myself, “Why not?” I mentally flipped a coin and dialed. With free international calling, I had nothing to lose. “Hello. Is this the same Gary Lear who worked with UDRI to develop CleanPro? This is Clancy Cross.”

“Learn to listen. Opportunity could be knocking at your door very softly.” — Frank Tyger

Since that day, when I reconnected with Gary and discovered Opportunity (better known as Development Beyond Learning) I have been blessed to meet some warm, talented, creative, intelligent, and highly motivated people who are now my colleagues and business partners. One of these is a 29-year old entrepreneur named Josh Mackenzie, who will be touring the U.S. beginning with a week at the NACE conference in Las Vegas, a week in Dayton, Ohio, and short stops in Chicago and San Francisco. I am so looking forward to introducing him to the Miami Valley during the week of June 15-19. (Josh’s itinerary is available here.)

Thanks to that fax cover sheet, LinkedIN, and a little curiosity, we are now immersed in an ambitious international expansion project to bring Development Beyond Learning to North America. Funny how Opportunity behaves, “aye mate?”

“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” — Benjamin Disraeli

God bless,

— CC

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