Preparation – The Law of True Opportunities

Opportunities are Gifts

The Opportunity Clock
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True opportunities are the results of alignment with our internal gifts and the happenings in the world.  They are neither accidental nor coincidental.  Just like talents alone, true opportunities are gifts.  Our abilities to benefit from them is the cause-and-effect reward for doing the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons.  In other words, I believed, I planned, I prepared, I searched, I found and I took action.

Some opportunities sit patiently on a shelf waiting to be discovered and claimed by opportunity shoppers who are willing to pay the price.  There are no special requirements for acquiring the gift except that the purchaser is willing to pay the price.  From then on, the investment creates an incentive to do something meaningful with the opportunity.

There are also legacy opportunities tucked away in a safe place, for the right time, like a dowry or inheritance.  Others are the gifts of our potential.  Still others are gifts of love and attention.

Talent is both a gift and an opportunity.  It’s like a seed waiting to be planted and watered so it can grow to maturity, harvested and put to its intended use.  Talent comes with a purpose.  The purpose of an apple seed is to grow into an apple tree that produces apples.  Talents are the seeds of our lives.

There’s something even more important than just recognizing our gifts and opportunities — full understanding and use of them.  To do this, some key connections must be made.  Let’s call it the Opportunity Progression…

  • Talents – the innate gifts of “potential.” We’re all born with unique sets of abilities.
  • Potential – the God-given gift that enables everything we do AND gives hints about our possibilities.
  • Possibility – the gift of “hope.”  Hope is the attitude of expectations for a better future.
  • Hope – the gift that is built on trust, strengthens faith and inspires courage.
  • Courage – the gift that inspires and fuels action – both proactive a reactive.  Proactive courage leads to preparation.  The reactive gift is the courage to respond.  We need both types of courage.
  • Action – the gift that relies on our inner voice – the gift conscience.
  • Conscience – God’s voice of “purpose.”  It answers the purpose question “Why me?”  Purpose is the gift that reveals true opportunities and redirects action to be focused on right actions.  As such, conscience is the voice of character.
  • YOUR True Opportunities – those opportunities that successfully pass through the entire Opportunity Progression.

The Opportunity Tragedy

Lost and wasted opportunities are one human tragedy we all experience.  At this very moment you are on the brink of missing one because you are unaware, afraid, confused, uncommitted, distracted, ungrateful, arrogant and/or uninformed and therefore, unwilling to claim this opportunity.  Although these are the causes of breakdowns in the Opportunity Progression, there is one simple explanation that covers them all…

Lack of preparation is the cause of lost opportunities.
Preparation is a choice.
Therefore, the loss of opportunities is a choice.

We are who we are and where we are because of the daily choices we make regarding our personal preparation.  The loss of opportunities is the result of not spending enough of our finite resources becoming ready.  What areas of preparation am I referring to?

  • Wisdom – where knowledge, context and experience come together.
  • Beliefs – where wisdom joins with perspective, trust and confidence to form a foundation of truth.
  • Values – the beliefs that matter most to one or more individuals based on personal or shared relevance.
  • Attitudes – the way we feel about our beliefs determines the choices and quality of our actions.
  • Understanding – the ability to form judgments based on knowledge and circumstances.
  • Relationships – the way people interact, align, work and bond with one another.
  • Awareness – recognizing and understanding the events and opportunities around us.
  • Skills – the developed aptitudes, abilities and power to do something with competence.

The more we invest in ALL of these areas, the more valuable opportunities will be accessible to us.  It’s a matter of one choice — to prepare or not prepare, that is the question!

— CC

Development Beyond Learning

What is Development Beyond Learning? Those who visit here will recognize it as the name of an international development company, named for the philosophy that there is an important difference between learning and development.

Specifically, what is this “philosophy?”  Is this My New Philosophy?  Maybe it’s new.  Everything is new for someone who is hearing or seeing it for the first time.  It certainly is “my philosophy” in the sense that I claim it as my belief.  But, I didn’t invent it.  Simply stated, development is both learning AND the change that occurs when learning is combined with action, application, and new beliefs, attitudes and behavior patterns.  Here is a summary of my thoughts about learning and development:

  • Learning without implementation leads to mediocrity.
  • Learning without implementation is both incomplete and selfish.
  • Development is who we become.  Therefore, development without implementation does not exist.
  • Learning occurs at events and from life itself. Development is a way of life.
  • Much of learning is an accidental response. Development is an intentional cause.
  • Learning is both unavoidable and necessary. Development is optional and life-changing.
  • Both learning and development are time-consuming, sometimes difficult and painful, rewarding, and always necessary for success.

Development is personal, begining on the individual level.  It is also organizational.  When enough individuals change, organizational change occurs.  Development Beyond Learning, the company, is concerned with both types of development.

On this Thanksgiving Day, while reflecting on the many blessing for which I am thankful, I kept coming back to Development Beyond Learning. I am thankful for the friendships and business relationships with Gary, Josh, Elana, Jackie, and all of my Australian partners as well as for Ohio teammates Terry, David, Michael and numerous friends, allies, clients and collaborators who are passionate and committed to raising the level of leadership in America. I would never have guessed there would be so many committed to this cause and willing to engage with me.  I am thankful for the desire I have to continue developing myself, which was kindled by my parents and teachers and continues to be fueled by my family countless others. I am thankful for the opportunity to lead through my writings and through the development programs and workshops we provide.

This post is dedicated to you, hoping you’ll be inspired to rediscover and give thanks for your many blessings today and every day.   Will you join me in making development your philosophy and thankfulness your practice?

How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 4)

In the previous post in this series, I suggested that becoming a better listener is a career advancing skill.  For some, that is easier said than done.  Today’s topic might make it easier to become a better listener.  It will also provide context for all future posts.

Beliefs drive attitudes — attitudes drive behaviors — behaviors form habits.

What beliefs and attitudes cause people to form their listening habits?  Maybe a better question would be, “What beliefs and attitudes are at the root of your listening habits?”  As an illustration, allow me to offer a few of my own beliefs about listening.  First of all, I believe that there is value in understanding someone, without regard to whether or not I like them.  I believe that to really understand someone I must listen and observe.  I also believe everyone has an interesting story to tell and even if they don’t tell it very well, it’s worthwhile being patient.

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything.
So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”

— Larry King

“So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively,
then you are listening not only to the words,
but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.”
— Jiddu Krishnamurti

So, when I find myself drifting away while another person is talking, I remind myself that I am curious about them because I want to learn.  Curiosity leads to listening and questions so I can learn.  When put that way, it sounds kind of selfish. Maybe so, but consider this …

“Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery. ”
— Joyce Brothers

I must admit, with some people it is harder to be genuinely curious.  In those cases, I imagine I am a reporter trying to “get the scoop.”  Sounds silly?  Maybe so, but it works for me.

Explore your beliefs.  It might help you discover what works for you so you can become a better listener and learner.  Here are three questions to ponder …

  • What beliefs impact my listening skills?
  • What beliefs drive some of my other learning habits?
  • What belief will I change today and what is my expected outcome?