“He that tries to seize an opportunity after it has passed him by is like one who sees it approach but will not go to meet it.” — Kahlil Gibran
An opportunity rises from an email, a blog, a phone call, a visit, or another source. Our minds whirl with the possibilities and then dart to the failure probabilities. Aren’t our second reactions the voice of reason? We delete the email, close the blog, excuse ourselves from the phone call, or change the subject.
Later we wished we’d taken a third look.
Here are things to consider before you reject an opportunity.
The Third Look
Consideration 1. Are you set on the direction you want your life to take, and the new prospect fails to fit in your plan? If you’ve spent much time on mapping your goals, perhaps the opportunity would lead you off course. Still, take a third look:
- With a brainstorming and open mind, ask: How might this opportunity fit into my plans?
Consideration 2. Is it a good fit but with your current focus and workload, it’s the wrong time to take advantage of the offer? Take a third look.
- If the offer is an ongoing need or is valid for a long period, capture all the details, including contact information. Store this in a physical or virtual folder. Things happen, and the right time might be tomorrow.
Consideration 3. On the second look, did you envision mounds of work? Take a third look.
- All good opportunities take time, energy, and work. You want to make sure the opportunity is the right thing to do, but don’t reject it because it requires effort. See 4 Choices That Improve Your Perseverance to help you decide whether to take on the work.
Consideration 4. Does the thought of pursuing it scare you? You’ve stepped out in the past and failed? Take a third look.
- The anxiety could be good. It means the opportunity will be a growing experience. Previous failures prepare you for THE opportunity. This may be THE one.
I’m going to the American Christian Writers Conference in the fall. It’s a setting for much learning, a time to network, and an opportunity to pitch books to editors. Already feeling intimidated, I chose to pass on volunteering this time.
Then a call arrived by email for reporters to cover the conference sessions for the ACFW Conference Ezine in return for some publicity.
At the last ACFW conference I attended, my second look at reporting brought on tremors of failure. An introvert, I could barely handle volunteering in the bookstore.
This year reporting failed to fit into my plan. I planned to fill my conference time learning, networking, and pitching. Reporting would be too much work during the conference—and after, when I might be preparing a proposal for an interested editor.
Before I hit the delete key, my mind opened and I saw a perfect opportunity to help out with the ezine while adding an activity to my platform-building plan. Now that I’d blogged for a while, I felt less fearful. And the work would be worth the benefits.
This year was the right time, and I could fit this opportunity into my plans. I sent my information to the coordinator and will be a 2013 ACFW Conference Ezine reporter.
For me, I can use K–N–O–C–K for accepting opportunities.
Knees: I will drop to my knees and pray for God’s guidance.
Never: I will never fear what God puts before me.
Obediently: I will obediently pursue it.
Call: I will call on God to equip me.
Know I will know running the race gets the prize.
Will you share a time when you took a third look at an opportunity and succeeded in your decision?
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I went to a writer’s conference earlier this year. OPPORTUNITY. I created a picture book (OPPORTUNITY) in a children’s writing class, because the character in my novel creates picture books. I long to hold that finished picture book in my hand, but I envision working on my creation as too much work at this time. I took a class on writing a synopsis, and the instructor offered to critique our synopsizes. OPPORTUNITY. I’m working hard on writing my synopsis. I pitched my book and was asked to submit a proposal. OPPORTUNITY. Looking at writing a proposal is elephantine, but I will do it one bite at a time. When I finish my proposal, which will include my synopsis, I will know my story so much better (success) and will have the experience of preparing a submission. (Success.) I need to take a third look at the picture book, because I have a professional artist in my family. To be continued.
Your example is perfect, Marcia. You overcame fear and hard work. You grasped the opportunities presented and found success. I pray additional success on the third look of your picture book.