THE BLOG
07/01/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

How Open To Opportunity Are You?

Is it true that opportunity only knocks once? Or is it more true that opportunity knocks so often, it nearly knocks you down? Are you open to it? Or do you fear that there is never enough, and possibly miss life's generous hand directing you along an unknown and to-be-discovered path?

Luck has been described as the preparedness to meet opportunity. Are you prepared? And what does it mean to be prepared? Events way beyond the control of any of us have meant that we can no longer rely on things being the same as they have always been. Whether we like it or not. most of us are having to adapt. You can do so reluctantly, fighting resentfully every step of the way. Or, you can embrace this time to re-evaluate your life's possibilities, and the opportunities that await you.

I will prepare and some day my chance will come.

Abraham Lincoln

25 years ago, giving seminars for those meeting "early retirement" in their 50's, I became aware how important it is for people of all ages to have purpose and a good reason to get up in the morning.

Having a vision to realize and fulfill impacts your all round health and well-being. You need to prepare to meet new opportunities, including after a long period of full-time economic activity, possibly in one career. Those opportunities have never been greater, even today.

How do you prepare? The first part is to know what you really want; the skills you wish to use, develop or learn; the kind of people you wish to be spending your time with; the environment that best suits you; the accomplishments you would like to be working towards. Evaluate and become aware of your greatest strengths and qualities.

In short, you are creating a vision for yourself. This is a process and does not happen overnight. You may wish to talk through your ideas with a good buddy; meditate or pray about it; take a brisk walk for inspiration; ask for guidance in your dreams. Explore your passions and dreams, what it is you would really love to do now.

Then you may cultivate the opportunity mind-set, expansively become aware of the good things in and around you, the blessings you enjoy and are grateful for. There is the opportunity you have to assist a friend; to extend a kind word when someone is feeling down; to celebrate the completion of a difficult task with a colleague; to join a team who pray for those who are troubled.

What need do you see around you that you can fulfil? What opportunities do you notice to make a difference to someone else? What issues spark your creative inspiration?

You are beginning to open the door to opportunity as you get to know yourself better, who you are now, your values and personal assets. Without this knowledge and direction, you could be walking into an ocean of opportunities, but never recognize even one.

The door may now be open and you can see beyond it into the next "room", your vision. At a certain moment, you may need to let go of what has become familiar and comfortable from the past, to step through the doorway into this new world.

With a clearer picture of who you are, your enthusiasm and what you wish to contribute into life, you will find it much easier to attract opportunities, often coming via people who need what you are offering, or who are keen to support your objectives.

Again this is not something that happens overnight, but can be a process of serendipity or seemingly random chance. But how random is it? Have you not prepared yourself by doing the necessary homework?

The point is here not to give up at the first indication that what you want is not available for you. Treat this stage as an exploration, an adventure into new territory. An encouraging partner or buddy can be worth their weight in gold, as I have found. A witness to hear your trials and triumphs can help to keep you going.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Thomas Alva Edison

What if you are stuck, and simply cannot find the energy or inspiration to take another step? Or if you run out of confidence that things will ever come right? You feel completely blocked and hopeless. Hard then to stay open for opportunity to find you.

If you find yourself shut down, ask yourself:

What has to happen for me to.....
and complete the question for yourself. Write it down somewhere.

For example:

What has to happen for me to...
.... meet a new life partner?
.... sleep well at night?
.... achieve a healthy body weight?
.... enjoy daily meditation?
.... get a job that pays well, that I love and do well.

In my experience, this opening question can lead to an "out of the blue" occurrence, such as a surprise phone call from someone you have not heard from in ages. Or you may find yourself with new insights or fresh inspiration. Or you might be willing to take some radical action that you just do, for the heck of it.

It may take for you to be truly tired and sick of being sick and tired before you are willing to break through fears and doubts to make the change necessary for a more rewarding life. There has never been a better time than now for reinventing yourself and creating an amazing set of circumstances for your fulfilment and joy.

Has life ever surprised you with an unusual opportunity? Have you ever made a radical change in outlook and expectations to create a better life? If I could wave a magic wand for you, what would you have happen?

Please feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me at anne@annenaylor.com

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