Seizing Opportunities as an Entrepreneur
A thriving business is all about seizing opportunities. However, some business owners do not find it that easy to seize opportunities, much less see them. Unfortunately, most of us people let opportunity slip-by every day because we are untrained or unaware of the signals that life throws our way. Other times we see opportunities, but we do not take advantage of them simply because we feel they are nothing more than problems.
In this blog, I will reveal the secrets to seizing opportunities. First, I explain what an opportunity is and describe the opportunistic mindset and the main beliefs and attitudes related to opportunistic thinking. I will also give tips on how to identify, spot, and seize opportunities and tell you what roadblocks to avoid. Finally, you will find three ways to turn your challenges into opportunities.
Seizing opportunities: what is an opportunity?
An opportunity is anything that provides you with a chance to change your circumstances for the better. Are opportunities everywhere? Yes and no. According to Adam Sicinski, “many of the opportunities we come across are actually disguised as problems or hard work. However, to the untrained eye — unable to see past the present moment — all opportunities are actually insurmountable problems that make life difficult, stressful and hard.”
That is where the mistake is made: seeing problems as “problems” rather than challenges that test and strengthen your determination. “The moment you shift your perspective and begin seeing your problems as challenges is the moment you begin training your brain to spot opportunities. Problems may very well be insurmountable. However, a challenge is something you can work with to better your current circumstances.”
As you can see, it is all about your attitude whether there are opportunities for you.
Seizing opportunities with the opportunistic mindset
According to Sicinski, there are certain indispensable qualities that separate a successful person from others who struggle to take advantage of the opportunities that life throws their way. You need to foster and cultivates these qualities every single day.
Opportunity desires a curious mind that is always asking deeper and more insightful questions.
Opportunity desires a generous heart that is willing to give opportunities to others.
Opportunity desires someone who has determination, who will keep persisting and persevering despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that stand in their way.
Opportunity desires a confident demeanor — someone who never doubts their skills, strength, resources, and abilities.
Opportunity desires an optimistic attitude that does not end if things do not go as expected.
Opportunity desires a light-hearted approach that is willing to be a little creative, willing to think outside the box, and willing to break conventional rules.
Opportunity desires someone who is fully committed and responsible for their decisions, behavior and actions, someone who does not make excuses or blames others.
Opportunity desires someone with hindsight who can see beyond this fleeting moment into the future. This person understands that what might look like a problem now might actually be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Opportunity desires a grateful spirit that is thankful for anything that life throws its way, no matter how dark or grim it might seem on the surface.
Seizing opportunities: the main beliefs and attitudes related to opportunistic thinking
Steven Handel agrees with Sicinski, saying that “opportunity is just as much dependent on our views and attitude about the world as it is on our external circumstances. When we actively change our thinking and perception toward a more opportunistic mindset, we can actually invite and take advantage of more opportunities in our daily lives.” He reckons there are some main beliefs and attitudes that correlate with seizing opportunities and opportunistic thinking:
Believe in free will
Those who do not believe they have any will-power or control over their lives are going to automatically inhibit themselves from taking advantage of the opportunities that pass us by on a daily basis. We are conscious thinkers and actors that participate in our environments.
Be open to a possibility
To be an opportunist, we cannot be stubborn in our thinking, and we cannot limit our beliefs and map of reality to a single narrow perspective. Instead, we have to show openness to new perspectives, new ideas, and new beliefs that we may not have previously considered. It allows for more creative ways of interpreting information and applying it in new and unconventional ways.
Seizing opportunities: take quick action
An opportunist does not spend too much time waiting, hoping, or praying for some ideal situation. They know that the quest for perfection often leads to procrastination. Instead, they stay vigilant for the little (but imperfect) opportunities that pass us by on a daily basis, and they take advantage of these opportunities soon after they present themselves.
Our ability to discover new opportunities is intrinsically dependent on our awareness of our environment and our surroundings. Techniques that help build awareness can help us process the information we get from our environment with a greater scope and clarity. Having this increased awareness greatly increases our chances of discovering new opportunities. It also improves skills in problem solving and creativity. Be aware of your awareness, because it plays a huge role in how you process the world.
Optimism is a positive perspective we hold about life, encompassing beliefs and thought patterns such as believing that good things will happen to you, that you can overcome obstacles and that you are capable of achieving your goals. Optimism is not something we are predestined or born with, but something we can learn and cultivate on our own.
Seizing opportunities: how to identify them
Sicinski urges you to identify first what it is you want: “how in the world are you supposed to identify any opportunities that come your way if you are not clear about what it is you want in the first place? Unless you know exactly what it is you are looking for, then how exactly are you supposed to find it?” Then, you need to identify several things that may hold you back from taking advantage of the opportunities that life throws your way.
- Look at your beliefs and identify if there are any unhelpful beliefs that could potentially prevent you from taking advantage of opportunities.
- Look at your strengths and weaknesses, and evaluate how they can help or hinder you throughout this process.
- Identify your risk tolerance. This is important because the more risk you are willing and able to take, the more chances/opportunities you will be able to take advantage of.
Your assessment of these areas will help you to understand yourself, your motivations, your limitations, and the actions you are willing or unwilling to take when opportunities present themselves.
Seizing opportunities: how to spot them
The next step for Sicinski is to spot opportunities. Rajesh Setty has also written a blog about this, which I will present later. Sicinski suggests there are three things you need to do to spot opportunities:
Seizing opportunities: be in a state of readiness
The single most important thing to consider when looking for opportunities is to be in a state-of-readiness for any opportunities that may come your way. You must be constantly on the lookout for anything that could possibly help you achieve your goals and objectives far more quickly, effectively or cheaply. It also means that you must be open to new perspectives and ideas. The key to this awareness lies within your willingness and ability to ask the right kinds of questions. The more you ask questions, the more curious you will become. As a result, you focus your mind on the right events, people, things or circumstances that can help you move forward in the best possible way.
Search for clues
Once you are in the habit of asking questions that help spark your curiosity, it is time to filter through the clues leading you to unique opportunities that present themselves. They can come in many forms and will be very specific to the types of opportunities you are looking for. However, certain types of clues can come in the form of trends, problems that people face or things that they complain about, gaps in the market, and unusual patterns, events or circumstances. All of these clues can provide you with an opportunity to do something different, new or unusual. It helps to keep a sketch/notebook of your random thoughts and observations as you go about your day.
Expand your reach
In order to improve your ability to spot opportunities further, it is critical that you expand your reach by learning new skills, by regularly networking with people who may be able to support you in your endeavors, and by acquiring new resources that will help expand your life resources list. In addition, you will naturally expose yourself to more opportunities by attempting new things.
Setty has similar ideas on how to go about spotting opportunities. He uses examples of working in a firm, but it can apply to entrepreneurs looking for new business ideas as well. He says: “Look for gaps, more responsibility, bigger problems, and knowledge arbitrage, and look to listen.”
Seizing opportunities: how to
What is the secret to seizing opportunities? Well, not all opportunities are worth pursuing (you simply cannot take them all up), so you need to focus on the key ones. Sicinski says there are three things you need to do in order to capitalize on the opportunities that help you accomplish your goals and objectives:
Step outside your comfort zone
Many of the opportunities will stretch and challenge you in a variety of ways. This may mean that you must step into a world of uncertainty. Take a few risks that you were not expecting to take. Each of these risks will have its own consequences. You must weigh them against the benefits and decide whether it is a risk worth pursuing.
Seizing opportunities: the small ones count
Not all opportunities are created equal, but it is not the size of the opportunity that matters. What you do with that opportunity is what makes all the difference in the end. Therefore, you should never underestimate or discount what an opportunity can do for you. Who knows, a small opportunity here could very well lead to bigger opportunities in the future. You just have to be willing and ready to take advantage when the moment arrives.
Network with creative people
Focus on networking with the right kinds of people. They should have the resources, contacts, experience, and skills to help you achieve your goals and objectives. Above all, network with creative people. These people think outside the box. They constantly challenge you to think differently about your life, goals, problems, and circumstances.
Roadblocks to avoid when seizing opportunities
Now you know what to do, you also need to know what not to do. Not surprisingly, these actions are the opposite of the main beliefs and attitudes related to opportunistic thinking. Sicinski has a few tips for what not to do when trying to find and seize opportunities. Sicinski mentions following the crowd, seeking security and comfort, and waiting for opportunities to arrive. He also mentions succumbing to uncertainty, to fear of rejection or fear of making mistakes. Finally, keep clear of pessimism and skepticism.
David Finch, however, has written a more extensive blog post on this. Unfortunately, this blog post is now offline as he has passed away. He said that the biggest roadblock to accomplishing anything is not being able to recognize opportunities when they are presented. To be able to see opportunities and act upon them, you need to overcome five main roadblocks:
The biggest roadblock is the fear of the what-ifs. What if this does not work, I fail, or I lose all my money? There is nothing wrong with wondering about the unknown. However, the moment you are unable to pull the trigger you have missed an opportunity to move forward.
No one likes the sting of failure. It produces scars that can last a lifetime. Try to get past the sting. After that, you should be able to gather the information that will be helpful in your next venture.
Lack of awareness
This is discussed in the part about the opportunistic mindset. If you cannot see it, you will never be able to seize it. Most often, a lack of awareness can be boiled down to lack of exposure and lack of knowledge.
Lack of self-confidence
Lack of confidence will always keep you in the ‘would have, should have, could have’ mode. Confidence comes by trusting your knowledge and be willing to take a leap of faith.
If you are unwilling to look at things from a different perspective, you abort the opportunity of moving forward.
Seizing opportunities: 3 ways to turn your challenges into opportunities
Advancedlifeskills.com (website now offline) says that there is often only a small degree of difference between a positive, optimistic perception and a negative, pessimistic one. Even though these two attitudes are polar opposites, they both often start with the same challenges. Advancedlifeskills.com warns us that if our first response to any given situation is negative, it makes a positive outcome much more difficult to achieve. Training ourselves to respond positively or at least neutrally will have the opposite effect. An optimistic response to new challenges will trigger a completely different set of established response patterns. Our subconscious will look for similarities between this situation and our initial response to positive experiences from our past. Advanced Life Skills offers us three ways to turn our challenges into opportunities:
Liberate yourself – accept responsibility
The first step is to recognize that we are in control. We need to accept responsibility for our responses and recognize that they assert a powerful influence on our lives. Until we accept responsibility, we will not have any reason to change. Accepting responsibility is a wonderfully liberating experience. It means that you are in control, not the circumstances.
Leverage means that you exert the greatest amount of control with the least amount of effort. The time to do this is during the first few moments whenever you are faced with new challenges. Once you start down a negative road, it is much more difficult to reverse your course. If you control your first step, you start out in the right direction. It is much easier to maintain that direction.
Seizing opportunities: turn it into a game
When we take life too seriously, it is easy to overreact to situations. If you tend to react negatively to challenges, try imitating somebody who always reacts positively. Role-playing makes it much easier and fun to break ingrained habits than trying to tackle them head-on. You might feel self-conscious imitating somebody else, but no one will notice. What they will notice is how you respond positively to the challenges you face. In return, they will respond to you in a positive way.
What can I do for you when it comes to seizing opportunities?
I have just revealed the secrets to seizing opportunities so of course, I want to help you in your endeavors. If your opportunities include entering international markets, I can help you. I am the owner of BudgetVertalingOnline, which is an affordable translation agency that specializes in Dutch <> English translations. Would you like to get in touch? Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), send me a Tweet (@GdenHolder) or fill out the quotation form.
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