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The Gospel of opportunity

Growing up my mom made it her life’s mission to make sure her children were not only raised in a home filled with integrity, but also had a connection to church. Most Sundays our family would be front and center on a pew in our neighborhood church. Singing, clapping and building friendships was an integral part of my childhood. And so was hearing about the “Gospel.”

Between Bible camp and Sunday services, I became proficient in understanding the concept of the four Gospels in the Bible as well as what they meant for mankind. One of my Bible camp teachers summed up the Gospel as simply, good news. How awesome is that? No fancy words I couldn’t comprehend, just good news. As I grew older I quickly learned this definition has multiple implications on our lives whether we are religious or not.

Understanding that Gospel is good news, let’s check out how this concept connects to opportunities. First, in Latin, opportunity is “Opportunus” and gives a completely different view than English. It is seen in an aggressive light, not passive and means to open or release through effort. Also it is to pry or prop open. So our perception of an opportunity showing up is flawed and a huge reason why we do not seize them many times.

Let me share (3) myths about opportunities:
(1) Myth 1: Just wait, your time and opportunity will show up eventually~ This one lie has kept more creative and innovative people from ever tasting success. Absolutely a myth! Good things don’t come to those who wait, they come to those who get off their butts and hustle for it. When you get to the point you’re just sitting around you are taking a passive stance toward life. Nothing good ever comes from that. Life requires constant engagement at a high level to be successful.
(2) Myth 2: When it comes, things will just fall in line~ Another fantasy we all wish were real. But not so. Usually opportunities show up disguised as hard work. That’s why most miss them. I tell clients in my coaching practice that a good indicator of an opportunity is it stretches and challenges you beyond your comfort zone. You feel at your breaking point, and just on the other side of that is your break through.
(3) Myth 3: You have to wait for someone to give you an opportunity~ Wrong again! Opportunity, by definition means something to seize. Nothing in life worth having is easy. And usually it won’t be handed to you on a silver tray. When you have prepared, you are ready to pounce on it like a lion. You can’t afford to sit and wait for someone to open a door for you, pry it open for yourself.

Nothing keeps us more immobilized than the wrong perception of opportunities. When we mismanage and fail to recognize opportunities we are left bitter and cynical toward others. This is because we somehow feel others are in control of our lives more than we are. But again, that’s false. That defies the concept of seizing life for ourselves.
That’s why this is a form of the Gospel, or Good News! We alone have the latitude to chart a desired course, set off and go for the gusto. We literally can hold to the reality that the Good news is our lives can radically change the moment we decide to reach for ourselves. But some may linger with the question... How?

(1) Stop chasing personalities and chase principles: We invest so much time and energy trying to copy someone else’s style. We want what they have so we think the key is doing it just like them. That’s why there will never be another Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet - Because you are not them. The world doesn’t need a copy, it needs you! When you seek principles instead of someone’s personality, you learn the essence of what they accomplished instead of their flash.
(2) Align your skillsets with your eagerness to succeed: John Maxwell says, “Many have a desire to win but few have a desire to prepare.” So many set off on a course to capture their dreams but all they have as fuel for the journey is eagerness. Motivation can get you out of the boat, but it takes skill to walk on water. We have to match both components; eagerness and skillfulness. Once we do this, we will see our strategies come alive and the fulfillment of our purpose.
(3) Break the seal of a healthy reality with yourself: You can’t really fool yourself. You can lie to others, but deep down we all know the truth. When we fail because we haven’t given our best, we know it. So don’t waste valuable time being unrealistic about your expectations. Take a hard look at where you are, and govern yourself accordingly. As you invest what’s needed to develop, manage those expectations and you will grow forward.

I love the way actor Kyle Chandler puts it; “Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you are willing to beat down the door.” Maybe you’ve been wondering when or where yours would come. The good news is, you no longer have to sit around hoping and waiting. Now is your time. Now is your opportunity. Get up and seize the moment you’ve been graced with. Remember the world is looking for your contribution.