“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” – Mark Twain
On the Offense for Opportunity
Success requires taking frequent small structured steps, while seizing infrequent large opportunities. These large opportunities are usually the events in our life that transform us, while the daily rigorous and structured steps we take prepare us for these opportunities. The steps are defense; the opportunities are offence.
When these opportunities appear, it requires bold and courageous action to seize them. The trick is to be prepared, recognize opportunities and don’t let them slip by. These big opportunities occur infrequently, perhaps only a couple of times a year. When you see it and it looks good, pounce on it! Do not procrastinate or be fearful.
The Opportunity Mindset
Keep your hunt for opportunity at the front of your mind. Have you ever had the experience of buying a new car, on the way home from the dealership, it looks like every second car on the road is the same as the one you just bought? Your brain has tuned in to that particular car, so that’s what you see. Opportunities are like that: there are lots of them, but your brain must be trained and in tune to spot them.
Here are the things you can do daily to become more opportunity-oriented:
Recognize that virtually every significant opportunity you will encounter will be created from an idea or hunch your initiate. Nobody will deliver you a blue ribbon deal. So don’t wait for the phone to ring or someone to knock on the door, go find it or create it yourself.
Become a specialized insider. Most of the best opportunities come from specialized knowledge or special circumstances. It will be rare that you will be an outsider or generalist, and just find an opportunity that no one else has seen. It will likely come from an association with your business, practice, hobby, family, or some activity that you are involved. So stay super busy and involved in serious projects.
Look at the world differently. Be curious and probe. Try to understand what is causing problems in the world, and how you can fix them. If you see something that seems out of the ordinary, dig a little deeper and see if an opportunity exists. Ignore the naysayers.
Treat problems as potential opportunities. I have seen many circumstances where some of the best financial deals, particularly real estate deals, are wrapped in the cloak of a problem. For instance, a poor tenant situation, a run-down home in a good area, or a broken business with phenomenal technical expertise and customer list all have upsides. Embrace the difficult.
Never take your foot off the accelerator. If you suspect an opportunity – do not procrastinate, do not even wait one day or one minute. Pursue it immediately and aggressively.
Preserve and build the opportunity muscle. Even though many leads will be a dead end, get into the habit of pursuing leads. Often you will find you can dig something up else in the process.
Eamonn has a B. Eng. (Electrical) from Lakehead University, MBA (Finance) from University of Toronto, and has completed Executive Education at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on twitter @EamonnPercy