This post, “Do You Respect Your Opportunities?”, is a prequel to “How to Use Your Fear to Seize Powerful Opportunities“.
I’ve watched several people squander amazing opportunities.
I’ve watched it happen in personal relationships.
I’ve watched fellow business owners do it.
I’ve watched myself do it.
Most times, it happens out of fear.
Fear of failing.
Fear of being vulnerable.
Fear of not knowing how to handle the success that might come.
Fear of looking like a fool.
Opportunities can be scary—I get that. I’m with you.
Every single powerful decision I’ve made that ultimately, or immediately, leveled-up my life has been scary.
Every single one. Even the ones that felt low-risk.
When I moved myself, and my brother, to London (to be closer to family), it was scary—even though when I made the decision, I didn’t even know what I had to lose.
Still, fear crept in.
When I planned to game (not cheat) the SAT system to bring my scores up high enough to test out of paying tuition for four years, I was scared—even though there were no repercussions for trying.
Yes, fear almost stopped me from flipping $50 into over $60,000. Can you imagine if I had not have taken that risk?
When I was offered a new career in a field I felt unqualified to work (ignoring the fact that they had already assessed my abilities and still wanted to hire me), a part of me wanted to turn it down because I feared making a fool of myself.
At this point the opportunity was literally in my lap, ready to pay me. But still, fear was relentlessly trying to make its case.
I just couldn’t let it win.
Allowing fear to stop me would have been nothing but disrespectful to all of the things that had to happen for those opportunities to come my way.
Because these opportunities were right for me.
Shying away from an opportunity out of fear is disrespectful to everything that has aligned for you to take advantage of it.
Because overcoming fear is a choice.
You can choose to respect your opportunities.
So, how do you treat an opportunity when it comes your way?
Do you welcome it with open arms and accept what it offers you?
Or do you sit within arms reach and act as if it isn’t there?
Do you ride the opportunity you’ve just been given until the wheels fall off?
Or do you coast as if it’ll always be there?
Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself those questions again if you need to.
And, for clarity, I’m not talking about any opportunity. I’m talking about the opportunities that give you pause because you know that you’re being offered a chance to level up. A chance for you to become better.
A chance for you to get what you want.
Think about the last time an opportunity like that came up.
If you can’t think of one, it’s possible that you didn’t even realize the opportunity was so valuable.
You might have overlooked it because it just seemed like another dime a dozen opportunity that would come by again.
You might have thought that because you haven’t set your life up for this to be “a good time” you should just pass on this opportunity instead of getting your ish together today.
You might not recognize that this opportunity, while seeming small and ordinary, is actually a transformation waiting to happen—if you let it happen for you.
Recently, a friend gave me some great advice that almost went over my head. What he was advising me to do was so far out of my comfort zone that I didn’t even catch the advice the first time around. I almost missed it.
I almost missed my chance to level up.
He told me to take a leap and express something that I did not want to express.
What he wanted from me was so far from my comfort zone that I didn’t realize he was trying to encourage me to have a conversation with someone; I thought he was advising me to send a text.
You see how small I was thinking?
My comfort zone was so small and familiar that I damn near needed GPS to get where I needed to be.
And when I got there—when I took his advice—I was immediately elevated into a much better place than I had ever been in a time like this. Ever.
I couldn’t fathom the reward he was leading me to because I couldn’t envision where I needed to be.
But, when I got there, victory was sweet.
I won a game that I had lost every single time I had played it in the past.
That is the definition of leveling up.
But, before I saw success, I didn’t recognize this as an opportunity. And I should have.
I should have recognized it the moment it made me feel uncomfortable.
And I should have taken that as a sign that this was worth paying attention to.
If you feel something, you probably care.
And once you realize you feel uncomfortable—once you realize something is challenging your status quo—you can ask yourself about it.
What about this makes me uncomfortable?
Is it the opportunity itself? Or is it the fact that this opportunity reminds me that I’m uncomfortable or unhappy with how I’ve been doing things?
Does this opportunity make me uncomfortable because it highlights just how much I don’t feel worthy of the rewards at the other end of this opportunity?
Does it remind me of how little time I spend with my passion?
But when an opportunity shows up, we usually don’t ask ourselves those questions. Instead we ask “am I good enough/smart enough/qualified enough for this?”
When you’re asked to design a logo for someone, because they know you’re a designer, you might get that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you question if you’re good enough.
When you’re asked how much you charge to sew a dress or make a quilt, that twinge of anxiousness might hit you if you’re afraid to charge the price you want to charge.
There’s something inside of you trying to let you know that this is your chance to level up. You just might not be catching it.
But, that’s not the only part of you that knows when it’s your chance to level up.
It’s not the only part of you that knows that this is your moment.
In fact, one of them is the part of you that you haven’t figured out how to use to your advantage yet.
That part of you is called fear.
And I’m going tell you how you can use it to make your wildest dreams come true.
(Read part 2 here.)