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


Quotes 9/2/2014

“You can get away with building your business on your own,
for a while.  Truly lifting your business beyond your own capabilities,
however, requires opening up to the wisdom of others.  When you are
teachable and willing to implement what you learn, you will
watch your dream come closer to reality each day.”

– Gregory K. McAfee, It’s My Your Dream, p. 46

Always Prepare to Win!

This message is the kind you would expect at a graduation ceremony.  However, I believe the essence of it belongs almost everywhere: in college recruiting conversations, freshmen orientation, classroom lectures, course assignments, student meetings with the dean, family meetings, parents advising their children, employee meetings with the boss, team meetings, church services and blog posts like this one.

“Knowledge gives you power… The more knowledge
you have about a subject, the better equipped
you become to link your daily experience to new opportunity.”

– Zig Ziglar and Tom Ziglar, “Born to Win”, p. 79, 81

Knowledge is Important, But…

Apparently, when it comes to formal education, we get it!  Formal education is widely considered invaluable as part of life’s preparation.  Although I tend to qualify this because the college experience is valuable only to the extent that one pays attention.  The late Jim Rohn said it this way: “Rarely does a good idea interrupt you.

Educational opportunities created in school make way for the acquisition of knowledge and a controlled environment where students can experiment with what they learn.  Of course, the diploma that one earns has value as a key credential for employment and advancement.  However, there’s one success factor that is widely overlooked — self-education.  College isn’t the only development opportunity and it doesn’t meet all growth needs.

“Formal education will make you a living.
Self-education will make you a fortune.”
– Jim Rohn

…Knowledge Without Wisdom is Impotent!

Your diploma is not a guarantee for success.  It’s not an invitation for a seat at the boardroom table.  It’s not a ticket to employment.  It’s not even a promise of getting an interview.  It is merely one of many essential credentials to be considered for employment.  While having an education will not always lead to the interview you want, you can be certain that not having one will likely disqualify from getting the interview.  The reason is simple.  Employers hire people, not repositories of knowledge.  The value you bring to the market goes beyond what you know.

Preparation Increases Your Value

Whether the task is small or large, always prepare.  Preparing means, “equipping yourself with the tools, skills, knowledge and attitudes you need to turn your plans into reality.”  Preparation includes learning, planning and practice.  Only then can you expect consistent and successful execution.

“The few who do are the envy of the many
who only watch.” – Jim Rohn

Success is the result of our daily commitment to preserving and increasing our value in the marketplace.  So, every day we should ask ourselves the following three questions:

  1. What will I do today to learn and grow?  (my promises)
  2. What will I do today to implement what I’ve learned and who I’ve become?  (my promises)
  3. How well did I do today in the areas of learning and implementation?  (assessing my promises)

“You must get good at one of two things:
planting in the spring or begging in the fall.”
– Jim Rohn

Prepare to Win is more than a slogan.  It’s the name of a program to help you become a better learner and a better implementer.  Click HERE for more information.