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


Human Comparison

People will compare you with others.  However, when it comes to performance, the only comparison that matters to you is “you versus your potential.”  When you do so, you are assessing how committed you are to your God-given purpose and how grateful you are for your God-given talents.  Regardless of who is involved, a “you versus someone else” comparison is irrelevant, unproductive and potentially harmful.

“The greatest barrier to someone achieving their potential
is their denial of it.”
— Simon Travaglia

“There is so much potential out there in young people
and they aren’t getting the right information
or being encouraged in the right ways.
This is our duty as a society.”
— Benjamin Carson

Because Your Potential Matters!

For some, today’s post will be the most important message of the year.  Anticipating this, I prepared it in a unique and powerful way, which I’ll explain later.  In the meantime, I encourage you to pay close attention to the message and determine if there’s any relevance to your life and career.

Your Potential for Greatness

What lies behind you and what lies before you are tiny matters compared to what lies within you.  Man was designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness. Understand this, you were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.  Therefore, always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

What’s Holding You Back?

The sad thing is, many people who have been with a company five years do not have five years’ experience.  They have one year’s experience five times and no specific plan for making next year anything but a repeat performance.  Unrecognized, undeveloped, unused ability is one of the great tragedies of life.

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  How so?  What you feed your mind determines your appetite.  Whatever you put your time, energy and money into will become more important to you. It’s hard to care for something you’re not investing in.

Turning Things Around is Up to You!

If you don’t like how things are, change it!  You’re not a tree. If you aren’t willing to risk $85 on your dream, then you’re probably not ready for a $2 million miracle.

It’s amazing what happens when you recognize your good qualities, accept responsibility for your future, and take positive action to make that future even brighter.  But, before you change your thinking, you have to change what goes into your mind.  You are what you are and where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind.

When Do You Find Time to Work on Yourself?

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.  What gets scheduled gets done.  What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.  The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.  To change your life, you need to change your priorities.  You can’t fatten the pig on market day!

About this Post

There’s power in the words of influential people.  Each of the four sections above consists of quotes attributed to sources such as: Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Stephen Covey, Michael Hyatt, Will Rogers, Mark Batterson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Faulkner, John Howard, Zahid Abas and the movie “Fireproof”.  My role was to mine the gold and bring it to market, although I confess to adding six words to enhance readability.

The value you assign to this collection of gold nuggets depends largely on what relevance you assign to your personal and professional development.  I hope it’s important enough that you are working on your growth plan and implementing it to achieve your growth goals.

Whether it’s writing, teaching or coaching, what I love doing as much as anything else is helping people like you with your plan and its implementation.  Why?  “Because Your Potential Matters!”

Because Your Potential Matters!

TRUE POTENTIAL

The subject of “potential” continues to turn up in conversations, perhaps because people are becoming increasingly aware of its importance and sensing an urgency about developing it for the sake of their families and careers.  So, let’s spend a few moments reflecting on potential as a concept and finish up with a set of challenge questions to assess our own potential and how we can expand it.

ASSESSING MY POTENTIAL

Most of us have a limited perception about our ultimate potential that is based on how we perceive our current potential.  This is self-limiting at two levels.  First, we tend to underestimate the starting point — what we are capable of doing today.  Second, if we underestimate the potential that is presently within us, how can we be expected to recognize the scope of our potential 10, 20, 40 or more years into the future?  So, instead of projecting exponential increases in capacity, we merely add safely to an already understated starting point and arrive at a mediocre estimate that avoids risk and creates an uninspiring target.  Here’s the first question.  How can we see the stars when we’re looking at the ground?

Graphic - PotentialTRUE POTENTIAL

People everywhere are coasting along on the road to nowhere.  Until we regularly challenge our thinking and test the limits of our skills we will never discover the unused potential that’s already available and we will fail to develop new potential that is also within reach.  What we believe is our true potential is but a speck of what is possible if we simply adopt an attitude, strategy, and habit of continuous growth.  Here’s the next question.  What path will you choose, a life of existence or a life of significance?

ELIMINATE THE TRAPS

Discovering how high we can rise in the future begins by recognizing and eliminating the traps we’ve set for ourselves.  One such trap is the habit of comparing ourselves with others.

“Always dream and shoot higher
than you know you can do.
Do not bother just to be better than
your contemporaries or predecessors.
Try to be better than yourself.”
— William Faulkner

Another potential-limiting behavior is ignoring the small things.  Sure, circumstances sometimes require us to skip over small details and move on and being a slave to perfection can also be a trap.  But, the habit of prematurely saying, “that’s good enough” is the most insidious habit because it steals growth opportunities.

What are your traps?  What’s keeping you from growing and realizing higher levels of your potential?

YOUR POTENTIAL MATTERS!

Think of discovering your potential as mining for gold.  It requires strategy, patience, persistence and hard work.  Would it be worth the effort if the results gave you access to life-changing levels of potential?

“You were born to win, but to be a winner,
you must plan to win, prepare to win,
and expect to win.”
— Zig Ziglar

Here are your additional challenge questions:  Where should I be looking for my gold?  What tools will I use?  What will I do today to start my mining expedition?  What opportunities are available to help me get started?  Who can help me stay on track?