July 5, 2014
Are You Using Your Opportunities?
by Steve Kloyda
Just about everyone you meet in your daily life is searching for something -- which presents you with an opportunity.
Someone could be searching for a way to fix a television and watch a favorite show, or finding a way to bring in a few extra dollars so that bills can be paid on time. Everyone faces hardships now and again. How a person uses those hardships can be an indication of how successful they will become.
Consider this: Nearly every opportunity that later transformed into a successful endeavor was first found in a moment of adversity or to fill a need.
Think of a paper clip. Was it invented because someone thought it would be fun to twist a piece of wire into a funny shape? The paper clip was invented so that people could hold papers together without damaging them. Previous methods included pins, string or even wax. Each of these methods damaged the paper.
The situations we deal with on a regular basis are life’s way of providing us with opportunity. Think of the various hardships that you have faced over the years, both large and small. How have they changed you? How did you work to alleviate the afflictions of yourself or those around you?
Think back to when you first were learning how to ride a bike. Remember all the skinned knees and false starts, slamming on the breaks too hard because you were so nervous? Remember the feeling you had, that exhilaration you felt when finally, finally, you could race down the street without the training wheels?
In your life today, there are opportunities to feel that feeling again, to become something better than you were before. Just around the corner is an opportunity waiting to help you transform yourself and the world around you into something you have dreamed about.
The real skill is recognizing within the adversity that there is a potential opportunity if you look hard enough.
Think of the last time you were frustrated about something not working or an item not quite living up to the standards that you set. Did you say, “I wish someone would make a better…” or “I wish they would find a better way…”? Why couldn’t that someone be you?
One of my favorite things to do, both as a child and as an adult, is to sit down with a big tub of popcorn and soda in front of a huge movie screen and see it come to vibrant life. I learn a lot and find myself using various lessons and inspirations directly from the movies that I have seen over the years. One such movie is “Miracle on Ice,” the story of the 1980 Olympic hockey team, coached by Herb Brooks, that beat the supposedly unbeatable Soviet team and won the gold medal. The movie is one of my favorites, and my wife always chuckles each time I watch it. You see I’m always looking for inspiring things to pass along to my readers, so every time I watch it, there is a pen and paper in my hand. No matter how many times I watch it, there are some gems. Here are a few of my favorites:
“It’s a pretty lofty goal, Herb.” “That’s why I want to pursue it.”
“Win, lose, or tie, we are going to play like champions.”
“Great moments are born from great opportunities. That’s what you have here tonight. That’s what you’ve earned. This is your time. You were born to be hockey players. You were meant to be here.”
You really can’t get words more encouraging words than those.
How many of us strive to play as champions, no matter the outcome?
How many times in our lives do we find out what we are meant to do? How many of us know we are “hockey players” in our own right?
It’s true that opportunities abound, but so very few of us actually meet the challenges of daily life head on and make our own opportunities.
It’s just like Herb Brooks said in the movie – he wants to pursue the lofty goal simply because it is lofty, a challenge. Nothing truly worth anything is easy to obtain, and sometimes the sheer challenge makes it that much more valuable.
You have the intelligence, and you certainly have the passion and drive. As for expertise and knowledge, that can be gained, either through research or talking with knowledgeable people. You know your ideas are needed, and bringing them to life is possible, so why not get started?
Begin by looking around you, searching out the opportunities that are presented in the everyday adversity that you see. Remember, every problem has a solution; it is just a matter of time and effort until it is found.
Make a list of the hardships you see every day. What could be done about them? Maybe your neighbor is having trouble getting his lawn mower to start. What could you make so that starting that lawnmower becomes easier? Or perhaps you have a bathroom shower curtain that can never stay clean. Maybe you need to come up with a new way to do the job.
No matter which opportunity you find, no matter which hardship you try to alleviate, remember that you and your happiness are part of the equation. While the ability to offer a service to others is laudable indeed, it is important to realize that you are just as important. Don’t be afraid to charge for your product or service. After all, fair is fair, and you should be compensated for all your time and effort.
Remember, the adversity you face can be revealed as an opportunity for your success if you simply know how to look.
So the question becomes, what is your “Miracle” story?
What lofty goal will you tackle and achieve next?
What are you willing to sacrifice to reach the goal and become who you truly are?