Crew Coach: by Capt. Rob Gannon
I think most of us have heard about opportunity “knocking” at the door. But what if it doesn’t knock, or what if it does and we don’t hear it. Sometimes we may not see an opportunity that’s laid right out before us. I’d like to share some thoughts here on seeking out, recognizing and acting on opportunities.
As a certified life and wellness coach, I work with clients around this topic quite a bit. Actually, opportunity, change and taking action are often tied together in moving forward in life. The ability to see or to create opportunities for ourselves and for others can be a valuable and rewarding piece of our lives. It can start with our desire to seek out and believe in opportunities even when they may not seem clear at the moment.
There is an old saying, “if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” That fits in perfectly with developing the mindset of seeking out and attracting opportunity. Maybe we have to become the door and create a place for some knocking. If we present ourselves out there in more situations and around more people who are connected with or familiar with the place we want to get to, the better our odds of getting there. Seek and ye shall find, right?
The old prospector didn’t find the gold without doing a bunch of digging. We need to open ourselves up when seeking. Take the blinders off; break down any walls made with negative, limiting thinking. Being open to opportunity is essential to meeting up with it.
Besides seeking, we also have to recognize an opportunity when it arises. Is being unemployed just a big problem, or is it an opportunity? How about a failed relationship? What about not making enough money in a dead-end job? Perceived problems can be opportunities, and shifting our attitudes in that direction will move us to a better place.
Some opportunities may come with questions around them. We may not have all the answers. Do we walk away or proceed, figure out what we can now and believe in the upside of what’s presented? It has been my experience the perfect scenario rarely exists. Most opportunities have some imperfection around them. Waiting for the perfect time and perfect situation can leave us waiting for a long time. It may never come. Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor. It takes getting involved in our own lives, rowing our own boat, and keeping our eyes and ears open.
Then there is action, taking those steps necessary to move forward. They can be small steps to begin with. We can feel tentative on that dance floor as we start our process, but we must carry on with a knowing that this will start to feel natural with more steps behind us.
We must make choices. We must decide things. Inaction and excuses, be gone. There comes a time to sail towards that horizon. Some of our important choices can have a timeline. If we delay a decision, the opportunity can be gone forever. Sometimes our doubts and fears keep us from making a choice that involves change, and an opportunity may be missed. This can haunt us when it later becomes clear that we missed a golden opportunity because of inaction caused by fear.
There has been research done on the thoughts of people near the end of life. It seems they never regret all the chances they took and experiences gained from them. It was opportunities missed or not acted on that left regrets lingering till their final days. That’s a sobering statement but hopefully one that encourages action and courage.
I had a client say to me he didn’t want to waste time on a new direction unless he was sure nothing could go wrong. I told him it’s never a waste of time to be in the process of growing and becoming. The waste of time is doing nothing and complaining.
So we have to put ourselves out there with eyes and ears open – open to possibilities, while avoiding the temptation to give up too quickly, or worse, take no action at all. We must be the captain of our own ship, take the helm, set a course and go. And remember, opportunities have a way of leading to better opportunities.
Enjoy the voyage.
Capt. Rob Gannon is a 30-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach (yachtcrewcoach.com). Comments are welcome below.