I am sure we have all heard the old saying when “Opportunity knocks you have to answer the door.” A little old school saying. It is so old school that the chances are, you don’t even hear the message that lies within this little saying.
I know a lot of people who are walking around saying that their card has never been punched, or their numbers haven’t been picked, or opportunity has never showed up and knocked on their door. And the problem with all of these statements is they are false. You have had many chances. Opportunity has presented itself several times. Your number would have been picked if only…., etc.
No matter who you are, opportunity has knocked and you just didn’t answer the door. You were too damn busy playing on your smart phone to answer the door. Or you had your damn ear buds in and didn’t hear it. I am joking. Kind of.
#1: You were too busy to see hear it or see it: I told you I was kind of kidding. The reality is that you were probably too busy to see it or hear it when it knocked. I don’t know what you were doing at the time. However, my guess is you were doing life. You know. Working, taking care of kids, making sales, dealing with problems, and just doing what we all do. So yes, you were just too busy to get the door.
So what do we do. Well, life isn’t getting any less busy is it? Nope. We have to constantly make sure we are aware of what is going on around us. We have to take the time. Yes. Take the time, and make the time. To become aware of what is going on around us. There are clues all around us. We just have to be aware of them. We have to be more intentional about what is around us at all times.
#2: You weren’t ready: I can remember when I bought my first car. It was a 1984 Ford Tempo. It cost me $400. Within three weeks I was without a car again. The motor blew up or locked up. All I had saved was the $400 dollars and that is all I could afford. About three weeks later a better car popped up and it was $1200, and I didn’t have the money. So I couldn’t buy the car.
The point of the story is that when the opportunity to buy another car popped up, I wasn’t prepared, because I didn’t have the money. I wasn’t equipped with what I needed, money. To buy the car I wanted.
Another situation where I learned a lesson from a leader I had many years ago was along the same lines as this. I had just finished my bachelors degree and I was thinking about getting a Master’s degree. I went to my Senior Leader at the organization I was with and asked him if he thought I should pursue the Master’s degree. His answer was simple: “It is nice to have when you need it.” Meaning, when an opportunity presents itself and you need a Master’s degree, it will be nice to have it. What he said was when you need it, you want to make sure you have it. All you can do is prepare yourself now so when the opportunity presents itself you are ready.
#3: You weren’t ready to hear it: The other day I was listening to one my favorite radio sports guy. His name is Colin Cowherd. He is an intelligent host. He is smart business guy, and a smart guy in general. He not only talks sports, but he gives a lot of advice that can provide you success in your life. I digress.
He had Jay Cutler on the show. Colin was actually out that day so there was a fill-in host that asked the question. If you are a NFL football fan, you know that Jay Cutler just recently retired to become a commentator. He was a starting quarterback for more than ten years in the NFL. The host asked Jay this question. Keep in mind. Jay had a reputation for being a highly emotional guy, that wasn’t a very good teammate or leader at times.
The host asked him, “If you could go back to the rookie (first year in the NFL) Jay and give him any advice on how to be successful in the NFL, what would you tell him?”
Jay answered the question very quickly with this answer. He said “I couldn’t give that guy any advice, because he wouldn’t have listened to me.” Meaning at his younger age. I think 22-24, he thought he knew it all and wouldn’t listen to any advice anyone would give to him. He had to figure it out on his own. He wasn’t coachable and wouldn’t listen to the people who have already been there before and learned the hard lessons.
Ask yourself. Has opportunity knocked for you and you were in one of the above three places at that time? The chances are you were.
So what can you do about it. Very simply is this.
You have to make the time to become aware of what is going on around you. It could be in your organization, your team, your business, your industry, the world, etc. As I said before there are clues all around us that things are going to change. We just have to be aware of them.
Secondly, you have to prepare. Prepare today, so you will be ready tomorrow. That is the only way you can stay ahead of it, and be ready to take action when an opportunity presented itself.
And lastly, be open to feedback and coaching. There aren’t any new situations that someone out there hasn’t already been through. We just have to be open to hearing it from them.
To your success and future.