Preparation – The Law of True Opportunities

Opportunities are Gifts

The Opportunity Clock
Click Image for More Engagement Squares

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


Quotes 4/14/2014

Here’s a lesson most people need to hear more often.  We get
to know people only when we stop talking and start listening.
When a person talks, others can learn what matters to him.
When both parties know what matters to the other, they have
a chance to establish a relationship.  This is true in families, in
social settings, at work, and every interpersonal engagement.

What makes this work?  It’s really simple…

“People want to be heard.
Your questions give them a voice.”

To become a great builder of relationships, master the arts of
asking great questions and listening with empathy.  Questions
are an invitation into the minds, hearts and souls of others.
Ears are the gateway to understanding.  Together they forge a
pathway of trust that builds relationships.

How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 11)

Successful people learn and grow before they have to.  A baseball player doesn’t just submit a resume and interview for the World Series.  He learns the game, works out, practices the fundamentals and gains experience at many levels.  People in all walks of life earn the privilege of playing in their industry’s “World Series” only when they prepare and “pay their dues.”

While most folks are willing to prepare once they see an opportunity, a whole new level of success comes to those who consistently, intentionally and strategically prepare for opportunities that don’t yet exist. Are you up to the challenge?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
— Benjamin Franklin, American Founding Father

“The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare.”
— Bobby Knight, College Basketball Coach

Preparation is a simple process: enlightenment, engagement, empowerment, repeat.  Although simple, it is not always easy.  Preparation is part intellectual, part experience, part emotional, part belief, part conditioning, and part repetition.  Here are the three stages of growth.

Enlightenment

It’s true for you, me and everyone else — we don’t know what we don’t now.  Enlightenment, the first stage of growth, is the passing from ignorance to awareness and from awareness to understanding. Sounds simple, right?  It can be for those with curiosity.  Curiosity is the inspiration that causes us to ask “How?” and “Why?”  It’s the energy of learning.  Growth begins with a healthy measure of curiosity.

“Curiosity killed the cat, but where human beings are concerned,
the only thing a healthy curiosity can kill is ignorance.”
— Harry Lorayne, Memory-training specialist, magician

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”
— William Arthur Ward, Author

Engagement

So, you learned something new.  Now what?  The next stage begins with a choice.  You can reject the knowledge or you can file it away for the future.  There’s a third radical option you can apply it!  The value of knowledge grows with application and your understanding along with it. While sorting the useful stuff from the rest, take a few whacks and see what happens.  Be creative.  Look for interesting ways to use your new knowledge and practice your new skills.  You might be surprised.

“The strongest principle of growth lies in the human choice.”
— George Eliot, Novelist

“You don’t know how much artists go through to make it look so easy.
It’s all in the practice.”

Lauryn Hill, Singer, actress

Empowerment

There’s value in the first two stages.  But, the greatest value is not in having knowledge and experience.  It’s the empowered person you become during the process.  This new and improved person gains confidence and a preference favoring the newfound knowledge and capabilities over the old.  As the growth process continues, preference transforms into conviction.  That’s real growth — that’s empowerment!

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
— Viktor E. Frankl, Holocaust survivor, psychiatrist

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
— Napoleon Hill, Author

In a rapidly-changing world, success comes to those who have a hunger to grow even when there is no apparent urgency.  People who learn only when they have to are sabotaging their futures.