When Opportunity Knocks, Are You Locking the Door?

“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

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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

blueprintConsideration 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?

ClockConsideration 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.

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Stack of Files and PapersConsideration 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.

Image courtesy of Patou at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Patou at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

 

Example

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 KNOCK 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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8 Tips on How to Respond to Fans of Your Creative Work

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”— Winston Churchill

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What are you going to do when:

  • emails pop up about your presentation,
  • comments appear at the end of your blog post,
  • notecards arrive in your mailbox about your art show,
  • mothers stop by your class about your creative teaching,
  • people greet you backstage, or
  • colleagues flock around you after the meeting?MP900390572

Remembering the following tips, you can reply to fans, followers, and admirers with a P-O-S-I-T-I-V-E generosity of spirit that will make them glad they took their time to respond to your creative efforts.

Tips for P-O-S-I-T-I-V-E Replies

P-leasant: No matter what our fans say or how they say it, they own their response to us about our work. We own our reply. If they encourage us, returning a pleasant reply is easy.

If they come across as vindictive, will we change how they feel if we reply with equal fire? We don’t have the full picture of what’s going on in their lives. But we might surprise them if we respond with kindness. If you can’t return kindness, then no reply is best.

Trust Proverbs 25:21-22. If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. (NIV)

Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

O-pen-minded: Often fans aren’t being negative but have a different opinion than ours. We can wrench open the door to our minds and try to understand what they’re saying. We may find we can agree with them to an extent and can affirm that to them. If we still disagree, we can acknowledge they have a viewpoint different from ours.

S-imple: To avoid putting our fans off with a treatise of our opinion or to further educate them, we can keep our response simple. The more we say the more likely we’ll push wrong buttons. Plus, our work excited or touched them enough to respond to us, so we should avoid boring them and lessening their enthusiasm.

I-nterested: Often fans will share an experience similar to ours or add ideas to what we’ve presented. No doubt we’re busy people. But instead of replying with two-second responses, we can give them the respect of two-minutes of our attention. Hopefully they’ll feel encouraged that we’re interested in their thoughts.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

T-rue: Yes, we must avoid lies, but I’m speaking more of genuineness. If we try to impress our fans by morphing into someone we’re not, we risk sounding phony. Fans are smart.

I-mmediate: To have the greatest impact on our fan’s enthusiasm, it’s important we reply as quickly as we can. We want to affirm our fans while they’re still excited about our work. This is another reason to keep our replies simple.

V-alid: Respond to what fans say. If we ignore a point they’re making and reply with self-promotion or something off point, we diminish them. When they solely express their excitement for our work, sticking to appreciating their enthusiasm is probably best.

E-dited: If our response to fans and followers is written, we can take 10 seconds to reread our simple reply. Most of us enjoy responses to our work that come across better than a text message full of abbreviations and typos and no caps. (Unless it is a text message.) If our response is verbal, we can take a second to think before we speak.

FanIf we stay P-O-S-I-T-I-V-E we’ll keep our fans coming back for more of our creative works. For me, like an electric fan, I wave praises to God the Creator. God always replies with mercy and kindness. I keep returning to Him.

What works well in responding to your fans?

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