My word for the year — do you have one of those?? — anyway, my word this year has been Access. Didn’t know what it meant in January, before the Clubhouse app, before hosting a segment on Breakfast with Champions, before their CEO & COO, Glenn & Sara, & the many connections that I have made across multiple digital platforms. Didn’t know what it meant before I was booked to speak on stages in New York, Tennessee, North Carolina, & Florida. Still learning what it means today, as I’m interviewed in podcasts, recognized at my son’s little league practice, & had my photo pop up during an episode of Rise & Grind weeks ago.
But looking back on 2021, I see opportunities. I see the ones I took, & the ones I passed on. I see clients I took on, & let go. Relationships that I leaned into, & moved back from. And yes, I see those career-defining moments as well.
In fact, I’m navigating two opportunities right now. And here’s how I’m trying to determine what to do when opportunity knocks.
When you have an opportunity you need to assess it as much as possible. You need to look at the macro scale - the big ideas behind the opportunity: Is it aligned with your career goals? Does it allow you greater connection to your passions, either directly or indirectly? Is it an advancement from the present position? Does it position you to grow, build, scale, or succeed? But also, you need to review the micro scale - the details of an opportunity that could cause immediate joys or drains. This is where lists start popping up. What are the benefits? What skills of yours align with this opportunity? How will this make other aspects of your life better, more complicated, or challenging?
Assessment needs to be an evaluation of the very nature & value of the opportunities in front of you.
You must assess. And if you feel like you do that involuntarily, then you likely hate the next step…
Yeah, you need to talk about it. For me, with the present opportunities in front of me, there are 3 types of people that I can discuss things with:
1. Unknown & Unengaged - I try to avoid this group. In fact, I think it’s a little vain to ask people that I don’t know, who aren’t walking with me, to measure my opportunities. In a forum like Clubhouse, I’m talking about it, but I’m not asking the entire room for feedback. This isn’t a discussion. This is a podcast segment. But that’s a luxury I have because of the other two groups in my life; the known & engaged, & the been there’s.
2. The Known & Engaged are the people that know me, know my passions, & are engaged in my life. For many of us, this is the only other group we have. They love us, & are looking out for us, when they advise. But it can be limited, you know? My mom is not my business advisor. My wife is not supposed to be my sole counsel in finance, business development, & growth strategies. She & I are walking that out together, so my partner shouldn’t be my sole advisor. So thank God for 3.
3. The Been There’s. These are the men & women who have done what I do, seen what I’m seeing, navigated these similar waters, & are willing to share their wisdom & insights with me.
You need the Been There’s. I need Been There’s. I need people that have failed, missed the opportunity, capitalized, grown, or even the folks that spend their careers advising others on these large life choices.
And I will be super candid - I have some of these people in my life for free. But I also pay for it. I have coaches. And I lean into both subsets heavily.
But if you can find people to help you walk through the pluses & minuses of an opportunity, you win way more often. My blind spots are the spots that - wait for it - I am blind to. And I need people pointing out what I’m missing. I need someone watching my back - especially in the areas that I am more likely to cause my own self some harm!
But it doesn’t end with a discussion
We must internalize.
I wrote down the notes from all the people that I have talked to about both opportunities. I have a list for both opportunities. And what keeps this process from being overwhelming is that I can hear the voices of trusted advisors - not me, talking to myself, wracking my own brain.
But lists are intended to catalyze doing. If you have a list, that’s just a list - why? Lists are guides for doing, or they are no more than doodles.
So the first thing I need to do, once the discussions have been had & the opportunities are laid out in front of me, is to internalize. I need to own this. I am making this decision. I am betting on me, my intuition, my peers & coaches, my instincts. And I am the primary decision-maker of my own opportunities.
When we fail to internalize the opportunities in front of us, we set ourselves up for blame-shifting. This is when we blame someone else for decisions we’ve made, because we never owned our own decisions. We hedged. We guessed. We stepped forward without the confidence required to step forward. Or worse yet, we moved forward, prepared to blame someone else for our own missteps.
And I don’t want to be a blame-shifter. I love my circles. I want to honor them. Hold them high, with the full recognition that they hold me up! They’ve held me up countless times.
And beyond what I don’t want… what I want deep down is to get to the starting line, prepared to win. I want to walk into the room like I know how to run this race. And this opportunity is mine. So I’m going to grab it - assessing & discussing is over - so it’s time for me to own this. And that leads to my last step…
Implementation is not my joy, but it is my jam. I see how critical it is, & it lights me up a bit! We are talking about taking all of the talk & thought of decision-making, & putting it into action. Implementation is execution.
I know the opportunity that I’m going to take. I see it. I’ve had it confirmed for me. And I own it. So I’m going to go for it friends!
Here’s how I plan to implement. First, let’s remove impediments. If I’m going to walk the short path toward this new opportunity, I’m letting the obstacles know they can move on. Am I too busy? Calendar too crowded? Do I need to check finances? Who is this decision going to impact? What do I need to have with me before I get there? Because I truly believe that for every obstacle, there is a solution.
Maybe it’s reorganizing my calendar. Or communicating to my team/staff. Maybe it’s closing my own knowledge gap in this new thing, so I’m going to study, learn & build before I get to the starting line. Imagine if you knew you had a marathon coming up in 6 months - wouldn’t you train? Mind your diet? Call out for a running partner? Look into a coach? Budget for the best equipment?
My friends, that’s what we are talking about today? You have an opportunity in front of you today. So do I! And I am ready to Assess, Discuss, Internalize, & Implement. I hope you are to! If you aren’t ready, then getting ready for opportunities is your opportunity today! And that’s exciting. You heard some guy on an app talk for a few minutes, & you learned something you need to grow!
I so sincerely hope you get there!