Typically, I blog about credit unions and marketing, but I’d like to take a more macro approach here. It has recently dawned on me that there are essentially only two types of opportunities that any of use will ever face:
“There are only two types of opportunities in this world, the ones we make and the ones we take.“
I’m sure someone much smarter than I has said this before, so, I’m not claiming the above as my own, but I think it holds true. I “competed” in athletics growing up and I am still a passionate fan of folkstyle (not Hulk Hogan) wrestling. I’m going to use some wrestling analogies here, but if you’d like, think about your favorite sport and how things might be similar.
There is no professional wrestling league. Typically, the most elite wrestlers start training at a very young age and their parents spend tons of money in the hopes that their son or daughter (yes, there are some really tough female wrestlers) will receive a scholarship for college. To me, most of these young athletes have no choice initially in participating in the sport. Many times, their parents might be pushing them to do something that the child doesn’t really want to do. If you know anything about wrestling, you know that it is a brutal sport. It takes a toll on the athlete mentally and physically. When a competitor steps on the mat to wrestle, it is just him and his opponent. I digress. In every young athlete’s life, they eventually make a decision to buy-in or opt out. This typically happens around junior high. I think this holds true across all sports.
When the athlete buys-in, they start along a path of creating opportunities. They put in the extra time drilling moves (think about long hours at home when you’re working on your business budget.) They run a little bit longer than their teammates (think about that colleague that is always willing to go the extra mile. Maybe that’s you.) In either case, they are making a decision to create future opportunities.
All of us know that to achieve success, we need to have a plan, clearly defined (and measurable) goals and a strategy for how we will go about accomplishing the small goals to reach the larger ones. Without a plan, our efforts can easily become disjointed. Without small goals, we can become disheartened. If you’ve ever watched a soccer match, you know that it takes a whole bunch of running back and forth just to setup a halfway decent chance to get a shot on goal. The same holds true in wrestling. In the NCAA or Olympic ranks, one score most often determines the outcome of the match.
So how does all of this relate to opportunity? (I’m so glad I asked.) I firmly believe that until I realized that if I want something, I am going to have to establish steps to making what I want even remotely possible. The flip-side of that coin is that once I feel that I may have created an opportunity, then I have to be bold enough to sieze it.
We live in a competitive world. People get into arguing matches on Facebook about college football games (guilty). Sometimes I wonder why some of us don’t take that tenacity to succeed with us to the office. I’m talking about the mindset that failure is not an option. Nobody is going to outwork me. I’m going to be the best version of myself today and everyday. There will be a time that I will be a bit uneasy and have to take a risk to seize the opportunity. In the end, if I do a lot of work to create or setup a shot (as we would say in wrestling), if I am not willing to commit 100% to taking the opportunity, all of my past efforts were in vain.
There will always be setbacks along the road and we all have different definitions of success. Setbacks are just different opportunities. How we rebound from a setback or loss will always say more about our internal drive to succeed than an easy life absent of any and all adversity.
This is already way to0 long. Bottom line is this: You are the only one who can create opportunities for yourself. You alone are also the only person that can take advantage of the opportunities that you create. With a margin of error that is so slim, none of us can afford to be paralyzed by fear. Sometimes, a moment of hesitation leads to a lifetime of dissatisfaction.