THE BLOG

Opportunity Comes Candy-Wrapped

03/19/2015 11:11 am ET | Updated May 19, 2015

I watched the two of them on the tile floor, surrounded by candy. He crawled on his hands and knees while she sat there drooling onto her birthday dress.

This might sound strange until I tell you that they're both a year old. The colorful fishie piñata had just been broken and the candy littered the ground.

One of the moms said, "When they find out they can eat it, we'll be in trouble."

I laughed. Both of their kids were too young to realize that they were sitting, and crawling around in, a collection of wrapped sugar goodies. The kids pushed the wrappers across the floor with their hands.

They were surrounded with edible goodies but had no clue!

As the kids sat on the floor, I reflected on the irony of the situation. They wouldn't be able to enjoy any of the candy, because they didn't realize there was candy.

Suddenly from my giant vantage point above them, I saw the life metaphor.

If we are the "babies" and the candy is "opportunity," often we don't recognize it because the opportunity comes wrapped or disguised as "hard work." We may not give the wrapper the time of day, unless we realize that inside there's a delicious candy.

Every tree starts as a seed. Every person who becomes well known was once someone nobody "knew." Every person who is now famous or influential, once had a time period when no one really cared about what they had to say.

So what changed for these nobodys? Did the world suddenly wake up and say, hey I think I should start following random Jack or Jill? Of course not.

These people had a vision and a mission, and they worked their asses off consistently for long periods of time before they saw any payoff, before they started developing a following and suddenly, by magic, people wanted to hear what they had to say.

It can be disheartening when you're starting out. There's a huge learning curve for everything. Just when you feel like you're making strides, you realize there's more to learn. Every new door opens to a brand new room, with another door at the end.

Part of what causes us to be lazy or complacent is our inability to see and recognize that candy lies inside the wrapper. The reason for this lapse is because the wrapper often looks like hard WORK.

Another word for hard work is OPPORTUNITY.

If we switch our mindset, we can see that the work we do, and the things we learn, are all opportunities. At some point in the opportunity, there will be candy.

We must trust and have faith. When we focus, consistently show up, and put in the work, it will result in candy.

For example:

  • If we take the time and energy to consciously raise our children, we create loving, dynamic human beings that can contribute positively to the world.
  • If we start school now for our dream job, we will be on the road to the life we want. As they say, the time will pass anyway.
  • If we are pushing forward towards recovery from an addiction, we must trust that at some point the scales will tip, we will know too much, and there will be no choice but freedom.

In recovery from my eating disorder, there were many opportunities that I didn't recognize as candy. At first, I didn't see therapy or the hours I spent journaling as leading anywhere. It was only through consistency (going to therapy every week for a year, and journaling like a fiend) that I was finally able to realize the opportunities. I was being allowed the opportunity to examine and adjust my thinking, and to challenge the negative mindsets I had about my life and my body image.

When I look back, I find that many of the opportunities that allowed positive growth didn't always show up as easy, flashy, or fun. They often appeared as something that looked like hard work. But when I began the work process, I was able to see that work was the wrapper, and the candy was me being free.

So what about you?

How would your life be different if you viewed "hard work" as the wrapper to your candy?

Creativity challenge:


1) Sit on the floor and scatter some items around you to resemble candy wrappers (or use candy wrappers if it's not a trigger for you). Think about the activities/work that you currently have in your life. Now, pretend that the work you may be dreading is really an awesome, amazing experience waiting to be unwrapped.

Keep moving forward. Trust that the work you put in will lead to your candy, whatever form your candy may be.