Op Ed . . . Recognizing Opportunities

By Lindy Earl

It’s so easy to look back and see opportunities that, at the time, we just didn’t recognize for what they were.  For instance, years ago while visiting New York, I met up with a friend from High School (even longer ago).  She offered to make some introductions and get me some modeling jobs.  I told her I was too short.  Why?  Why would I make that decision and walk away without even pursuing an opportunity?

Well, I’m guessing I said what I did because I believed it.  I had learned that models had to be 5’10” or taller, so I took myself out of the running.  In fact, I later learned I was misinformed.  Rather than going down a new path, possibly only for the entertainment of the walk, which is a reason in itself, I destroyed the possibility before it began.  Looking back, dismissing a kind offer wasn’t very nice of me, either.

So, over the years, I have found seven very simple ways of Recognizing Opportunities.  I hope you implement them and find yourself on new paths and, perhaps, more successful, or successful in new ways.

First, change your mindset.  It’s easier to believe the bad stuff, so you may have to reprogram your mind to learn to believe the good (and ignore the bad).  It may help to consider the source of both good and bad news.  Does the person sharing the information have anything to win or lose?  Is there any reason for the person to want you to be successful, or not? Even a sibling can have ulterior motives for sharing information. You need to assume the best and open yourself up to new ideas, rather than immediately looking for flaws and finding reasons why things won’t work.

Second, listen more and speak less.  This is the adage of having two ears and one mouth.  Listening to others allows you to hear about opportunities. The funny thing is, what we hear can change with what is important to us at the moment.

For example, When a new family moves in on your street, if you are the parents of young children, you may immediately focus on whether the family is bringing young teens who can babysit.  If, however, you’re the parent of young teens who babysit, you may be tuned to whether the new family has young children who might need a sitter.  Your situation in life can affect how you hear news and information. Be aware of it and fine tune your listening if necessary.

So, logically, you may want to change the way you hear things.  When somebody shares some news at work, for instance, think about how it affects other things—a new job you might want?  A new employee you might hire?  Listen with an ear for the next step.  File away information for future use.

Next, go beyond your comfort zone.  If you have always been the big fish in a small pond, then be the small fish in a large pond. Don’t go after dozens or hundreds when you can go after thousands.  You may want to skip the mom and pop stores and go after larger game.  Or, you may want to change from larger to smaller, just for the change of scenery, and because there have been opportunities right in front of you that you’ve overlooked. Now, be wise about it and play the numbers . . . . Fill your dance card with 20% large and 80% small business, because larger orders, and orders from larger companies, simply take longer to earn.  In the meantime, you can achieve great things with 80% of smaller goals.

Stop limiting yourself!  Obviously you are not doing this intentionally. You are not trying to put limits on your opportunities. Yet, it happens.  So, from now on, when an opportunity is before you, jump on it.  Don’t say you’ll call them for an appointment, take out your calendar and make an appointment immediately. At the meeting, do not ask for the next appointment, go ahead and try for the sale.  Don’t ask for any tickets, request the best.  Ask out that gorgeous person.

Create opportunities and see them through. How often do we think of great ideas in the middle of the night, and ignore them the next day?  Write down the idea.  Come up with plans and implement the steps to make your idea a reality.  Whether it is a new professional idea, something to make life easier at home, or more social success, you can make it happen!  Thinking about things without action won’t get you ahead. You can create your own success.

Last, think outside of the box.  Think inside of the box.  Just keep thinking!  Notice what gets the wheels in your mind spinning. If it’s exercise, then exercise more.  If it’s watching videos or movies that motivate you, then set aside time to watch more, but with pen and paper next to you so you’re ready to pounce on whatever ideas come. Ideas really do come along every day.  Learn to recognize the best ideas as opportunities, then act on them.

            Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.

*Contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com to have her Speak or Consultant at your organization.

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