Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity!
~Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman philosopher
Each year I choose a “mantra” or theme that I endeavor to strive towards, and this Preparation=Opportunity quotation has been my theme for 2014. I had my iPad cover personalized with this quote, have it easily accessible on my computer, and it is posted at my desk as well. Lest you think that I have perfected this, and have arrived fully prepared at every meeting, ready to take on the world, I will tell you an unequivocal, NO! In fact, I think the more I have concentrated on this, the less prepared I have been!
So what does this quote really mean?
It means there’s no such thing as “luck” because being prepared when an opportunity presents itself takes conscious effort. It may look like luck… but it’s not. It’s because of careful planning. It’s the work that happens behind the scenes that makes it look effortless. The difference between lucky and unlucky people, is in our perspective, and in the effort and dedication we put into preparation. You have to “do your homework”, and come fully prepared to take on new opportunities.
Finding success is all about taking action.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income says, “You can read all you want, but nothing will happen until you execute.” You can accumulate a library full of knowledge and until you get off the couch and take some action, all you have is a head full of knowledge. This resonates with me because I love to read, listen to podcasts, audible books, etc. and have learned so much, but unless I get off the couch, get dressed, go in to work, lead my team, and WOW our customers, all of that time and knowledge is wasted.
Maren Berblinger, one of our awesome high school staff members, was recently invited to give a “TED Style” speech at a large event in a neighboring community. She did her homework, researched, prepared her power point, practiced and perfected her speech, carefully chose her attire for the evening ,and a few days ago, made the presentation. She did a fabulous job and made it look absolutely effortless for those 8 or 10 minutes that she was on stage. The hours of preparation paid off in a rousing response to her speech, and the accolades of people coming in the store to congratulate her the next day. Preparation gives us the confidence to get up and do something that takes us out of our comfort zone.
It’s always hard to know which comes first, the Opportunity or the Preparation. I think it always goes hand in hand. We are “given” opportunities because of preparation and follow through we have done on other projects. When one of your staff members really steps up to the plate and delivers an exceptional project or does a great job in a particular area, it is easy to open the door for additional opportunities to that person. In the same way, as leaders of our team, when we are given an opportunity, we need to go outside of our comfort zone, walk through those doors, and take the leap!
You Must Say Yes
When an opportunity comes your way, you must accept it if at all possible. Each opportunity that you take allows you to stretch and grow your skills and abilities, and each one builds upon the other. At a recent meeting of our Mastermind Group, one question that was asked of each member was “What is the best thing you’ve done for your business this year?”
Liz Groher Smith & Holly Schipper, co-owners of The Sugar Bowl Gift Shop in Storm Lake, Iowa, had a great answer. They decided to say YES to any opportunity that came their way this year. This has lead to speaking at several events, being invited to serve on teams within their community, and even being in charge of the city’s 4th of July Celebration! All of these things were outside of their comfort zone, but it has given them some outstanding opportunities to meet and work with other leaders in their community and, of course, it has positively impacted their business.
Noticing Chance Opportunities
Have you had anyone ask you, as a business owner, to give a speech to the Kiwanis Club, or the Rotary Club and you turned them down because those “old guys” at the Rotary Club were not your ideal customer? Plus, you might have to get up at 5 am to make it there by 6:30, and that would just upset your schedule for the day. I would call this a “Chance Opportunity” and say YES! Imagine the wealth knowledge in a room of business people that size. You would have an opportunity to sit down and have breakfast or lunch with some of the most successful people in your community.
Go outside your “zone” and say YES the next time, and even better, let someone in those groups know that you are “available” to speak. They need speakers each and every week, so there is generally a great opportunity there. PS…A lot of these guys are probably married to your ideal customer, and you could provide a little “gift” for them to take home to their sweethearts!
Listen to your Intuition
Even though you probably left the classroom years ago, you still have a great teacher. It is called intuition and you don’t have to be a woman to be tuned into it! That little voice inside your head usually speaks the truth, even though we don’t want to hear it at times. Sometimes that little voice is nudging you to buckle down and get some work done, and the next time it is telling you to take a break and clear your head, so that you can come back and get it done!
Have Positive Expectations
“Create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations.” This goes along with this quote from Henry Ford “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re probably right!” Go into an opportunity with the expectation that things will go well. Of course, there will be blips in the road, but when you are expecting positive results, you’ve got a much better chance of getting them! Be sure that you are going into each opportunity fully prepared and you will have a much easier time feeling positive!
Adopt a Resilient Attitude
Things do go wrong…Maybe your Power Point goes down during a presentation, your newspaper ad doesn’t make the paper for a big event at your business, or your right hand man gives their 2 week notice…all of this is part of the life of an Entrepreneur. That attitude of resilience is invaluable for a business owner. It is vitally important to have a support team in place before things go wrong. There is something so calming in knowing that you have a fellow business owner on speed dial that you can call, get a little encouragement or maybe a swift kick in the patootie, and then just keep on moving forward.
It’s time to take action! What have you been putting off that you could give 30 minutes or an hour to, in order to make progress towards your goals today? I want to encourage you to do something – right now. Choose one thing; make that one phone call, answer that one email, place that one order, complete and check off one item on your To-Do list. Do something for your business or life TODAY that will get you moving forward and help you reach your goals. Sound good?
Please leave a comment below of what you’re about to do (sort of like a pledge), and let’s see how much we can all get done today.
As always, we love to hear how your journey on the Road to Remarkable is going, so please leave a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts and ideas.
Thank you for helping us build the “Remarkable Retailer” TRIBE…please share this website with other business professionals in your circle!