“Give me the opportunities, and I can be successful,” I told myself. I was desperate to be considered successful.
You know the drill when people mention your name, and everyone says, “Hasn’t he done well?”
Maybe that stems from the expectations of my parents or is a result of my achiever personality.
It is more fashionable to blame your parents. Sorry, Mum and Dad! Anyway, I was desperate.
Through a business proposal, I met Joel. That was way back in 2006.
Odds dictated we wouldn’t get on. He was on the opposite side of the deal, and both sides were negotiating hard, not wanting to budge.
Despite our differences or because of them we became close. That is odd considering we ended up not doing business together.
A mentor appears
He was a seasoned businessman with a long list of successes and a short list of failures and over 40 years as an entrepreneur. And he took me under his wing and mentored me.
Amongst the lessons, he taught me that opportunity is all around us. Unfortunately, most of us let opportunity slip-by every day.
Most of us are either untrained or unaware of the signals that life throws our way.
In my case, I saw the opportunities that life presented me with more often than not but didn’t take advantage of them.
Looking at the surface, they appeared to be nothing more than problems. And who needs more problems to deal with, right?
He taught me that your level of success depends a lot on the opportunities available to you.
So I was eager to learn, how do you increase the number of open doors and opportunities in your life?
I will share with you some of the lessons that my mentor Joel taught me about unlocking more opportunities.
There is no doubt that people miss out on incredible opportunities every single day.
They work hard to achieve their goals and objectives then sabotage their success.
Also, they neglect to take advantage of the chances that life sends their way.
Over everything else, this is imperative if you want to achieve anything momentous in life.
Understand exactly what you want. And what matters most to you. And what you will give up to attain it.
There is a quote from the oil billionaire Bunker Hunt that embodies this concept.
“First, you decide what you want specifically; and second, you decide if you’re willing to pay the price to make it happen, and then pay that price.”
You can have whatever you want in life, you just need to pay the price for it.
It can’t be some vague notion of “I want to be important” or “I want to make something of myself.”
That’s a solid foundation to start from, but you need to dig deeper. You need to ask yourself probing questions to understand what “important” signifies to you.
If you want to create a fulfilling and exciting career, you must do the inner and outer work. The work that is required to uncover your uniqueness.
As a result, you can find the right career that will use the same talents, skills, and passions.
From life experience, I learned, “greater awareness equates to greater choice.”
To be successful you must commit to increasing your awareness of who you long to be in the world, how you want to be of service and what are the obstacles in the way.
When you’re clear about that and believe you’re worthy of your visions, doors will open and new opportunities for your growth will emerge.
Associate with winners
The phrase, “Your friends are like elevators – they either bring you up or bring you down.” is so frustratingly truthful.
Another one of those times when Mum and Dad were spot on!
Who you hang out with determines what you dream about, how you see your opportunities and who/what you collide with.
And your dreams, and your perception and your collisions lead to your changes.
If you want to change your results in life, you might need to change your circle of friends.
People are terrific a sniffing out false sincerity. In other words, if you don’t have a genuine interest in your new circle of friends and are using them to get ahead they will figure it out.
Turn desperation into inspiration
We all face personal and professional challenges. And it is all too easy to get overwhelmed by them.
We need to develop the ability to move away from feeling desperate, victimised and overwhelmed in the face of these challenges.
The key is to view what’s happening as a way for us to learn and grow. That way we can learn to be more accountable, responsible and capable.
Many people share with me their stories of woe about the unfair positions they’re in due to a toxic boss, the weak economy, etc.
When we focus on the woes, we are not able to see the powerful lessons that life is trying to teach us.
There are some things in our life that we can’t change. The more we push against it and try to resist it, the more fatigued and frustrated we become.
Think of being caught in a riptide. Fighting against the power of the water to swim straight to shore.
But if we learn to let the riptide help us it will push us out to calmer water so we can swim ashore.
Find a way to turn your desperation and frustration into inspiration for change, growth and success. Use the woes to help you be everything that you can be.
To be successful in life and work, it takes commitment that doesn’t falter.
It takes self-belief that you can create forward momentum in your life and business.
Even when the world is telling you that you are not going to make it to your destination.
And it demands courage to face the risk.
That doesn’t mean you should stumble forward crashing into obstacles without altering your path. You are not blind.Never be too stubborn to ask for help. Too many times we pridefully stumble forward and don't ask for help until it’s too late. Click To Tweet
You commit yourself to your goals without doubt, without reservation, and do what is required to reach your goals. You utilise the resources you have available to you.
Meanwhile, avoid overly attaching to ‘the one’ outcome. Learn to be flexible and accept your vulnerabilities. We all have gaps in our ability and knowledge.
Commit to working diligently to close these gaps so you can succeed at a higher level than those who don’t put in the time.
I am lucky
Research psychologist Keith Sawyer points out that self-described ‘lucky’ people tend to notice more opportunities than people who describe themselves as unlucky.
These lucky people also network well with others and act on unexpected opportunities. Lucky people are more curious, whereas the unlucky people tend to be tense and this results in missed opportunities.
This makes sense. Risk-averse people generally avoid challenges or opportunities. Whereas the brave-hearted do better in life and business because they don’t avoid the same challenges and opportunities.
Successful professionals and entrepreneurs are captivating storytellers. They have a knack for talking about their businesses or their endeavours and visions in ways that inspire others to support and follow them.
They know the “why” behind what they are doing, and they attract supporters, clients, and customers who share their values and beliefs.
These successful business people are adept at speaking about their accomplishments and visions in an engaging way that doesn’t put off others.
It excites people to partner with them.
Successful people know how to negotiate and advocate for themselves and others powerfully.
They share the right information at the right time, in the right way to build rapport, gain support, and engender loyalty.
Spend time at high-traffic websites related to your industry or expertise and contribute thoughtful comments to their forums.
Therefore it is an excellent way to establish yourself as an expert. And it is an opportunity to leave a link to your blog or website.
What could this potentially get you?
How about connections who may invite you to speak at an event or act as a source for an interview or at the least more followers on social media.
Recognise the attractiveness bias
You can look at this two ways.
- You make an effort to always present yourself as clean and well-dressed.
- And you make a conscious decision not to exclude people based on their attractiveness.
Secondly, Every single one of us, regardless of our exterior, has a story to tell, and that story might be one you need to hear. One that will help you unlock opportunities.
Opportunities in empowered relationships
Successful professionals understand that they cannot achieve their goals alone. No one does it all by themselves.
So they invest time and energy in building mutually beneficial relationships and stable bonds.
These people also develop an empowering, engaged community that paves the way for their success.
Build empowered relationships on a foundation of honesty, integrity, shared values and trust.
Stepping on coworkers as you climb to the top is not how long-term success is achieved.
Likewise, surrounding yourself with people who only say “yes” and never challenge you (Note to self: Thank you George!!) is a route to failure.
Power should not be used in negative ways to diminish, hurt or silence others. You will be disappointed.
And if you invest in corporate politics because that is the easy way to the top, you will also be disappointed.
Can you find career success without taking these actions? Definitely. But it will be a bumpier ride with more detours and frustrations than necesary.
Too many people attain their goals only to ponder why they feel so lost and unfulfilled when they have achieved everything that they set out to do. Don’t let that be you.
This is just eight ways that you can unlock more opportunities in your life. I would love to know out what else that you do recognise and take advantage of opportunities.