Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's Time To Maximize Your Opportunity

Recently a past employee contacted us in search for their ‘second chance’ at employment with our organization. They claimed that things had changed and they were now ready & prepared in their life to jump in with both feet. As an employer (no different than if it was your relationship), this is not an easy decision. One must evaluate the circumstance from before, the characteristics of the individual, and the overall need of the organization. What we know is that less than 2% of people in the world change - so statistically speaking, odds tend not be in our (‘the employer’s’) favor. However, at times we need to consider providing that ‘second chance’ to prove us otherwise.

Let's be honest, in life we all would love second chances. This isn’t a perfect world. And neither are we.  It’s human nature to test the boundaries, try to do it our own way, and as much as we hate it, we naturally like to touch the hot element from time to time. Human behaviour tells us that very few things are mastered the first time around and we rarely get things right the first time. If we did - we would be perfect; games would be scoreless and business would be a game of stalemate. Take a look at almost every major accomplishment in a person’s life - it starts with the decision to try something again after gaining the experience & perspective from the first time. 

However, there is a fine line with maximizing another chance or opportunity versus thinking that these chances will continually arise time & time again. They just don't. And if we believe they do...then that can be referred to becoming dependent on something or someone. No different than a child, person, organization or country that is always bailed out of debt. If they learn to believe that it will continually happen - then they wil never change the behaviour to protect it moving forward. 

So, how can we positively adjust our attitude toward future opportunities and take advantage of the times that give us another kick at the can?

1. Put the past behind us. 

What’s done is done.  When life throws us nasty curveballs it typically doesn’t make any sense to us at that moment. Our natural reaction is fuelled by emotion and not logic - and we will tend to react initially and then follow up with blame or excuses. But how does this help our dilemma?  Obviously, it doesn’t.

The smartest, and oftentimes hardest thing we can do in these kinds of situations is to be more tempered in our reactions. Removing ourselves from the scenario, thinking logically about the situation, and remember that tragedies are rarely as bad as they seem, and even when they are, they give us an opportunity to learn.
Every difficult moment in our lives is accompanied by an opportunity for personal growth and creativity. But in order to attain this growth and creativity, we must first learn to let go of the past.  We must recognize that difficulties pass like everything else in life.  And once they pass, all we’re left with are our unique experiences and the lessons required to make a better attempt next time.

2.  Identify the lesson.

Everything is a life lesson.  Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, every moment in time that you live should provide you with additional thought, perspective, or lessons. They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’

Never forget to acknowledge the lesson, especially when things don’t go your way.  If you don’t get a job you wanted or a relationship doesn’t work, it only means that you either (a) weren’t ready to take it on, (b) it wasn't the best fit at this moment in time OR (c) a better fit is out there waiting.  And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it.

3.  Lose the negative attitude.

Negative thinking creates negative results.  Positive thinking creates positive results.  Period.

When your child strikes out for the first time, they need to realize that it will happen again because if they don’t, they may fear the opportunity to ever hit the ball off the bat again. And guess what…the likelihood of hitting the ball decreases the more the child stresses, worries, or thinks negatively about the outcome.

 The mind must believe it can do something before it is capable of actually doing it.  Whether you call it confidence or ‘the secret’ – it works in our favor!

4.  Accept accountability for your current or past situation.

Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.

You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life.  And no, it won’t always be easy. Every person has a list of challenges & obstacles in front of them.  You must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles.  Giving excuses, blaming others/situational items, or choosing not to take accountability…is giving up.

5.  Focus on the things you can change.

Some forces are out of your control.  The best thing you can do is do the best with what’s in front of you with the resources you do have access to.

Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.  Invest your energy in the things you can change not in the actions (or lack of actions) of others. Seriously. Don't take on other people's problems, issues, or inadequacies.  

6.  Figure out what you really want.

You’ll be running on a hamster wheel forever if you never determine who you are, why you do the things you do, what you value, and what your strengths are. This clarity provides the opportunity to understand where you want to go.  Figure out what’s meaningful to you so you can be who you were born to be or even better - WANT to be. 

Some of us were set out to be musicians – to communicate intricate thoughts and rousing feelings with the strings of a guitar.  Some of us were set out to be poets – to touch people’s hearts with exquisite prose.  Some of us were set out to be entrepreneurs – to create growth and opportunity where others saw failure.  And still, some of us were set out to be or do whatever it is, specifically, that moves you.

Don’t quit just because you didn’t get it right on your first shot.  And don’t waste your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires.  You must follow your intuition and make a decision to never give up on who you are capable of becoming while being realistic with yourself, your fit, and your abilities.

7.  Eliminate the crap.

First, identify the essential – the things in your life that matter most to you.  Then eliminate the fluff. Anything that is a 'waste of time' or isn't positively contributing to your life.  

This drastically simplifies things and leaves you with a clean slate – a fresh, solid foundation to build upon without needless interferences.  This process works with any aspect of your life – work projects, relationships, general to-do lists, etc.

Remember, you can’t accomplish anything if you’re trying to accomplish everything.  Concentrate on the essential.  Get rid of the rest. You will see a drastic improvement of your time management which results in drastic improvement with your forward progress.

8.  Maintain self-control and be prepared.
The harder you work the luckier you will become. Shocking we know!

Oprah Winfrey believes that "luck is when opportunity meets preparation" and there is some validity to that statement. 

The people that are more prepared at the time when opportunity arises, they will have a higher chance at taking advantage of those opportunities. So what that tells us, is that the people that are more diligent with their focus, tighter with their plans, and put more effort into items on a daily basis...will be more 'lucky' - when essence they have just earned their so called 'luck'. 

9. Just GET IT DONE. 

Nike said it best with their infamous slogan "JUST DO IT"!

Stop waiting around for things to work out.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.

While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it.  By “working on it,” we mean truly devoting oneself to the end result.  The rest of us never act on our decision.  Or, at best, we pretend to act on it by putting forth an uninspired, half-assed effort.

If you want a real second chance, you’ve got to be willing to give it all you got.  No slacking off!  This means you have to strengthen and maintain your self-control.  Remember, life is not easy & it's not going to be filled with balance 24/7 365 days per year for our lifetime.  When you plan on achieving something worthwhile and devote to making something happen of significance - it will most likely be 'work'!  

10.  Forget about impressing people.

So many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know. Or some variation thereof…

Don’t be one of these people.  It’s a waste of time.  And it’s probably one of the reasons you need a second chance in the first place. Just keep doing what you know is right.  And if it doesn’t work, adjust your approach and try again.  You’ll get there eventually.

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