About three weeks ago, I was at JFK International Airport awaiting a flight to Toronto. Since I had some time to spare, I decided to look around. I went into a store, and I saw a lovely bracelet. If I were a cartoon at that particular moment, everyone in the store would have been blinded by the brightness of the lightbulb that went off above my head. I thought to myself; my wife would love this! Satisfied by my excellent choice, my movement appeared to mimic that of Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as I gleefully bounced with the bracelet to the store’s sales representative to make the purchase. She took the bracelet, looked at it, skimmed through a stack of papers, then said to me, “I don’t know the price of this.” At that point, I knew exactly how the Wile E Coyote feels when one of his anvil traps for the Road Runner backfires and gets him instead because I was crushed.
I was unsure how to respond, and with a confused look on my face, I asked, “You don’t know the price?” She said, “No.” I then asked, “Okay, so what now?” Then I followed my question with, “I want to buy this bracelet.” She then apologized and mentioned that she was new and unsure about a lot of the prices of the items. I am sure everyone in the store heard the thud my jaw made as it hit the floor from utter shock. While scooping my chin from the cold surface, I thought to myself, if someone wants to buy $1000.00 worth of items, the store easily risks losing such a sale because of an untrained and poorly equipped salesperson.
One of the few positives that came from the encounter was that it caused me to evaluate my life experiences. I wondered if I was ever unprepared to seize an opportunity when it became available. Moreover, opportunities present themselves in many ways daily. They may come in the form of job prospects, new contracts, and the chance to sell some more products, just to name a few. Unfortunately, many opportunities are wasted because we are unprepared for them or untrained, just like the sales representative I encountered in the store.
Therefore, you must always be ready to seize any opportunity that comes. Here are a few tips that should be followed to help in that regard:
- Always be Prepared– Preparation is key. Being prepared allows you to be like a sharpshooter with your eyes peeled on the target and ready to pounce once opportunities present themselves. Don’t be like the lady in the store. She was unprepared and unequipped, which led to the loss of a sale, and it is safe to assume that if ten people came in after me seeking the same product, she would have left their money on the table as well. Take the international scouts motto as your lives’ directive and always “be prepared.”
- Don’t Listen to Critics– All the critics come out to play when opportunities come along. They may tell you why your vision is a bad one, why your idea won’t work, or why you shouldn’t take a class to improve your understanding to increase your chance of success. Steve Jobs opined best when he said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Consequently, use their negativity as the fuel to ignite and perpetuate your burning desire to succeed.
- Believe in yourself– If you want to become a successful entrepreneur or land a huge contract, you can’t let fear and self-doubt hold you back. You need to have self-confidence. I am a firm believer in the notion that believing is half the battle won. Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Additionally, don’t let doubt creep in even if you fail. Dust yourself off and try again. Use failure as an opportunity to learn because a lot more can be learned from failure rather than success in many cases.
Wonders can happen when one is ready to seize opportunities as they come. Always believe in yourself, filter the voices of the critics, and be prepared to exploit any chance that may become available at all times. You never know when a great opportunity may come along.
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