Guest Post by Patrick Ow (first posted on CERM ® RISK INSIGHTS – reposted here with permission)
Have faith to seize on opportunities that come your way (but the risk is within us!)
Everyone has opportunities. But it is up to us to seize the opportunities that come our way!
There will be opportunities to build lives, to better ourselves, or to serve the community.
Faith and opportunities
Faith is the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. Faith is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.
In simple terms, we have confidence in the chair that we are going to sit on to hold our weight or that it is not broken. Or we have trust that electricity will flow when we flip on a light switch, even though we do not know whether the light bulb is working or not.
Therefore, do not get discouraged when you see challenges and trials especially in today’s pandemic and economic crisis. The key is not to focus on the darkness, problems, limitations and the past.
Instead, have the confidence to step forward in the now moments believing that something you want is going to happen. Reach out for something that is waiting for you even though you cannot see it up ahead. Seize the opportunities without missing it. Find the opportunities that are available to you beyond the crisis, problems and challenges that you may face currently. Turn risk and negativity into opportunities.
In faith, embrace opportunities. View your present situation optimistically or hopefully. Don’t be upset by the last-minute changes since they will give you extra time to do something else — Always see the glass as half full. Cultivate an attitude of always thinking about the good things in a situation. Don’t beat yourself up for the things you cannot control.
The opposite — that is, the pessimistic view — is to see the glass as half empty.
There are three types of opportunities that are waiting for you to embrace:
- Daily opportunities— These are everyday opportunities to meet someone, go somewhere, to read a book or to do something like deciding to eat at a restaurant. These are not necessarily life-changing opportunities.
- Life-changing opportunities— These can have the potential to change your life. Examples include choosing a career direction or developing relationships. These opportunities are weightier opportunities than daily opportunities.
- One-time opportunities— These opportunities occur a few times in your life. They may not come back again. Examples include finding a partner, stepping into a business opportunity, going to university or changing your job. These events potentially open the door to change the rest of your life.
Overcoming the risk that is within us
New doors of opportunity can bring new oppositions and adversaries. Every time you step up, you may face new opposition or fear. You can feel the pressure and oppression in your mind and emotions.
The key is to understand that you are on the right track. In faith, press on through the door of opportunity to see the results.
There can be seasons of heartbreak. Sometimes these dark valleys are of our own making due to our failures or lack of confidence. But we can use these experiences, tears and brokenness to create a new door of faith.
None of us likes interruptions. We just want to do what we set out to do. But things don’t always go to plan. Often there are opportunities hidden in interruptions. We need not let interruptions frustrate us. Instead, look for the opportunities in these moments.
Even if we miss an opportunity, have faith that there will be other opportunities coming your way.
Origins of the word “opportunity”
The root word to opportunity is the word opportune:
“Opportune c.1400, from L. opportunus “favorable,” from the phrase ob portum veniens “coming toward a port,” in reference to the wind, from ob “to, toward” + portus “harbor.”
This term is a mariner term. Sailors used it to signify the wind that changed its direction and started to blow towards the port or harbour. It relates to the most favourable time to steer the ship into port. Sailors had to anticipate the change of the wind by being proactive.
To do so, they must have developed the necessary skills of navigation, forecasting, vision, communication and leadership to steer their ship into port at the right position and at the right time.
Sailors must be prepared for the winds to change before that wind changed direction. They had to be tuned into the environment to notice any change of the wind. Their sails had to be properly positioned.
Sailors didn’t just sit around and wait for the opportunity to present itself. Instead, they diligently prepared for it. In faith, they anticipated it and were all keenly tuned in to their present circumstances — weather conditions, size and type of their ship, time of the year, other ships coming and leaving the port, shape and setup of the port, etc.
While the sailors can’t control the winds, they controlled what skills and competencies they have to steer their ship safely towards their destination.
When we work diligently to be in tune with our winds of change and learn how to navigate ourselves towards our ‘port’ or destination, we should not miss the opportunities presented.
Faith + Action = Success
Therefore, the opportunity is the result of your actions before the main event. At this stage, you can experience opportunities or unrecognised opportunities that will open up to you.
Your actions will increase the likelihood of opportunities presenting themselves. It increases the certainty and confidence that something hoped for is going to happen, even if you cannot see it up ahead.
Success requires opportunities. But this will require you to be going after opportunities.
In faith, believe that your actions will create opportunities. Then, seize on the opportunities that have been presented because of your actions.
Unfortunately, life and successes are not about what’s directly in front of you. Rather it is about what’s beyond that. One door doesn’t necessarily lead to success. It could be a series of doors that will lead you to success!
The more doors you open and the faster you pass through them, the more success and momentum you will see. It is like a snowball tearing down a mountain, growing and gaining speed as you go.
Doors of opportunities
The word “opportunity” has been used to describe ships coming to port. But they must wait in the harbour for the precise, perfect moment when time and tide converge to make it safely to port.
There will be a door of opportunity when it is safe for ships to come into port. If this opportunity was missed, the ship had to stay out another night.
Opportunities will come to those who take action, recognise them as such, seize it and respond accordingly. These opportunities often are available for a brief while. Hence, they can be missed easily if people can’t recognise them or are prepared for them.
Regardless of your situation, the secret is to keep moving, keep opening doors, keep exploring and walking through them. Never become complacent or feel that you have ‘arrived.’
How to recognise doors of opportunity
Recognising doors of opportunity comes down to the following factors:
- Always be prepared for seizing opportunities — Like the sailors who were skilled in knowing the right time to sail into the port, you have to acquire the appropriate attitude, skills, knowledge and competencies to know how and when to take advantage of the presented opportunities. This will build your confidence and faith in taking the required risk to take on and realise those presented opportunities.
- Proactively create situations for opportunities to present themselves. We often hear that “luck” is about being in the right place at the right time. The “right place” for you could mean joining networking groups that have people who can help you find your next job. Without action, there will be fewer opportunities that can create success.
- Learning how to position ourselves properly to open a lot more doors. ‘Selling’ is about getting others curiously excited about what you can offer. You want others to understand the value you can deliver. Be confident in making a decision or commitment. To ‘sell’ yourself, you need to: (1) explain the problem you are trying to solve; (2) explain your solution that solves the problem; and (3) explain why people should choose your solution over the other available options.
- Focusing on long-term value rather than personal short-term gains. The value you provide to others will vary. You can’t tell someone what you’re worth to them. The receiver determines the value. They need to recognise the value you bring to their life. This often takes time.
- Leveraging existing opportunities to create new opportunities. Take one opportunity at a time. Then multiply it exponentially. Check out other doors in the house one at a time and explore the whole house! When one door opens, another door may present itself at that moment.
- Be willing to take risks, face rejection and expand our comfort zone. Take risks. Be open to failures or embarrassments. Get into the limelight. Learn from your mistakes and move on. It is OK to make mistakes — to err is to be human. The more doors you open, you are increasing your likelihood of success!
So, the next time you find yourself standing in front of a door of opportunity and you don’t know what to do, don’t panic!
Count to three.
Have faith and confidence to open that door or move onto the next door. There will always be another door now that you know how to spot them.
If you open a door and pass through it and it turns out to be the wrong door for you at that time, that’s ok. You can always go back through the door again. Things may have changed on the other side. Not all doors lock behind us!
Finally, the secret is to keep moving, always
Regardless of your situation — whether there is one door or many doors — the secret is to always keep moving.
Keep opening doors and walking through them. Keep exploring. Stop looking back on your mistakes and regrets. Never become complacent. Never feel that you’ve “arrived.” Have faith and confidence in yourself. Never stop walking through the doors of opportunity. You never know what lies ahead!
Should you get lucky and find yourself in a place of grace and abundance, consider holding the door open for someone else. You’ll find it’s the greatest gift you can give — the gift of opportunity.
Patrick Ow is a strategy execution specialist, corporate facilitator, personal coach, educator, and Chartered Accountant with over 25 years of international risk management experience.
He helps corporate executives and individuals execute their strategies and personal plans to get breakthrough results using The 7 Habits of Successful Strategy Execution. Visit https://executeastrategy.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Patrick has authored several eBooks including When Strategy Execution Marries Risk Management – A Practical Guide to Manage Strategy-to-Execution Risk (available in Amazon).
In addition to his professional work, Patrick has a personal passion for preparing individuals for the future of work.