All this week, I have been seeing the word, “opportunity”. It keeps coming up. In a book I am reading, God is described as the “God of opportunity”. In the “It Factor Career Club” I have been serving, the members are asking, “What opportunities are out there?” This week, I met with a sales manager for our regional “yellow pages” and was presented with an “opportunity” that left me overwhelmed with excitement. Truthfully, I believe that in ANY economy, opportunities surround us and wait eagerly to be uncovered.
The secret to “mining” opportunity in our lives and businesses is in our mindset and the movie, Apocalypto by Mel Gibson depicts a powerful example of just this concept. (If you haven’t seen the movie, it is a must – see. ) In the movie, the main character narrowly escapes being offered as a sacrifice by the ancient Mayans. He is running through the forest for his life… the same forest he grew up in… He is being pursued by about six fierce Mayan warriors and is badly injured himself. In the beginning, he is simply running… afraid… worried about his wife and child…
But, at one compelling moment, when he is separated from the warriors by a large waterfall, something changes. He looks up at those chasing him and yells defiantly, “My name is Jaguar Paw. This is MY forest. I hunted this land with my father, and my son will hunt this land after I am gone. This is MY forest.” From that point on, he is no longer running afraid. He makes use of every resource from HIS forest.
Knowing he won’t survive if he continues to run and hide, he begins to go on the “offensive” and creates opportunities to kill each warrior pursuing him. I can’t tell you how powerful that one statement is: This is MY Forest! You see, I remember the days when I was pursued by bill collectors… bullied by the “rejections” of my potential clients… harassed by doubts and disappointments in my business. Quite simply: I remember a point where something had to give… I sent out a few resumes, and almost gave up on my own dreams. Truthfully, I wanted to be without “stress” for a while. I hated the feeling that I was SO CLOSE, and yet… my bank account showed me how seemingly far away I really was.
Just like Jaguar Paw, the odds (I felt) were stacking against me. The warriors chasing me were debt, bills, discouragement, disappointment, doubt, and anxiety. Still, something inside of me kept urging me NOT to give up. What could I do differently? Then, I found the “acknowledgements” page for my first book. Among other people, I acknowledged my friend’s Mom who always said (and believed) that I could do ANYTHING. When I told her that I was going to have my daughter “naturally” (no drugs) for example, she said, “Well, if thats what you say you are going to do, that’s what you are going to do.”
My own parents encouraged me and believed the same for me all my life, but to have someone outside of my family to say that really empowered me for some reason. Anyway, that day I drew a line in the sand. I determined that it was MY forest. I could either keep running and hiding, or I could be STRATEGIC, BOLD, AND DETERMINED. I could either keep looking for opportunities, or I could begin CREATING them. I chose the latter, and never looked back… at least, not for long.
You see, “looking” for opportunities isn’t very powerful, compelling, or life-changing. CREATING the opportunities you seek is! My point is simple: If you feel “this close”… if you have that “urging” inside of you that keeps you focused on what COULD be… if you “feel” like giving up, but know (even against mounting “evidence” to the contrary) that you could really “make it happen”, here are some practical tips to help you claim your own forest:
**First, claim it. Audibly… In writing… whatever. But claim your forest. What will you MAKE happen? Define it. Make it real. No more waiting or hoping.
** Next, look for all of your resources. Jaguar Paw used thorns, poisonous frogs, hunting tools, even bees and leaves. I used my contacts in HR, my “knack” for getting press, my speaking ability (and affinity) and my marketing expertise. Simply put… I did what I knew to do. What do you KNOW you should be doing? What resources will you begin to utilize RIGHT NOW?
**Finally, acknowledge that you can play both offense and defense… but NOT at the same time. I determined that I would stop trying to “defend” what I thought I was losing…and begin playing to WIN. My mindset shifted. It was a decision. When doubt crept in, I refused to let “it” steal my focus. I defied anxiety and discouragement. These poisonous emotions had stolen so much from me already. When playing to WIN, they must be put in their place. In today’s market, sales are STILL being made. Why not by you? People are still being promoted. Why not you? Businesses are still showing a profit. Why not yours? Draw a line in the sand and begin CREATING opportunities for success.
After all, this is YOUR forest… uniquely yours… brimming with life, possibility, hope, opportunity… and all the resources you need! To YOU!! TO YOUR SUCCESS!!