Trust That You Deserve It
The first and most complex obstacle to us owning our opportunity is ourselves.
Negative self-talk keeps us stagnant. Binding us to our past and blocks us from any opportunity for creativity or progress. Not only does a lack of creativity and progress cause depression, but it presumes two things:
That things will stay the way they are – when they won’t.
That this is the best it will get – when staying stagnant is in fact the only way to ensure that.
We can wrap this challenge in language and call insecurity or lack of self-esteem or any other developmental phrase that’s popular right now – but, at its core, it is fear.
We are scared we are not enough, we are scared that we will fail, and to prevent us from fully committing to our future and our potential by convincing ourselves that we do not deserve the opportunity.
If you have an opportunity, you have earned it. End of story.
Are others trusting you to get it done? Then that trust was earned.
Are your clients believing that you will deliver? Then that faith was earned.
You have worked hard to get here, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Even if the opportunity fell into your lap and you did nothing, you have two choices: disrespect yourself by not taking charge of the opportunity, or earning your own respect by being disciplined enough to make it happen.
Respect yourself by respecting your opportunity.
Prepare Properly and Meaningfully
Some of us create opportunities effortlessly. They find us. Either through our network or by simply shuffling the deck of our life and watching opportunities fall out. Some of us just need to take stock of everything we have going for ourselves to see how things can connect in a new way.
For some of us, the opportunities are obvious.
That doesn’t mean you are ready for it.
It doesn’t mean you have done the homework to execute the way you need to.
Map it out. Play out the likely sequence of events that your opportunity will follow, and get to know the scenarios you will find yourself in before you get there.
Do not leave your opportunity to chance. Do not allow yourself to believe it will all turn out okay. The worst thing that can happen to you is that it does – because you won’t be learning anything in the process. Also, and maybe more importantly, “okay” is only a half win and you know it.
Go all in. Take it all. Squeeze everything out of your opportunity.
The only way to take full advantage of the opportunity is to over-prepare and expect the worst.
Do the legwork before you even arrive at the racetrack. It will be worth it.
Know Your Strengths and Trust Others To Help
Self-awareness is probably one of the most underrated skills out there right now.
Because no one wants to talk about what they suck at. Which means you suck at it, but you are just hoping no one finds out. This game of pretend that some of us play (you know who you are) will catch up with us and it won’t help us take ownership of our opportunity.
The great thing about knowing what you suck at is that the opposite is also true.
If you know what you could improve, you also know your strengths, and if you aren’t building your strategy around your strengths you are leaving money on the table.
To account for what you suck at you need trust. You need to go out and find someone who loves what you suck at, and you need to come to terms with the fact that if you suck and they don’t that they know more than you, can do more than you and that, for everyone to make progress, you need to trust them and clear the runway for them to take off.
Part of owning your opportunity is knowing and accepting the parts of it that, if you were to try do it yourself, will only result in the opportunity not being fully realized.
Humility, it turns out, is essential to success.
Find the right people who can do what you suck at. Trust in them. Build with them. Give them part of your ownership. Make your opportunity theirs as well.
There is an old African proverb that goes as follows:
If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
Humility and trust changes a team into a family.
And it starts with you accepting what you should be trusting someone else to do.
Find Yourself In Your Work
In the same way that you shouldn’t question why you received this opportunity, or whether you have the privilege of accepting the opportunity – you need to understand what you are going to do with it.
This isn’t simply being prepared. We covered that above.
This is understanding how you will grow because of the opportunity. And this is something I see others side-step or forget to acknowledge in their work.
We are growing constantly, whether we know it or not. But we get to be part of the growth if we are aware of it, it gets to be constructive and meaningful.
This is achieved by establishing personal development goals that will guide you as your go about your work and the different scenarios and strategies play out daily. These exist to help you stay on track personally, because you will change, might as well change in a way you want.
Keep a diary. Reflect on each of your goals weekly, daily. See how your environment is shaping you and how you are reacting to it and discover why that might be.
You cannot own your opportunity if you cannot own your growth in the attempt to achieve it. The success of the opportunity rests on you, in which case, you need to keep track of your own well being and how the opportunity shapes you during the process.
Be open to the change. Be mindful. Be careful – meaning, take care. Not only of yourself, but the impact you have on the process of achieving on your goals and those helping you to do so.
Own your opportunity by owning yourself and your impact on others.
Believe In The Mission And Shape The Big Picture
Once you are knee deep in your opportunity, working daily, but not seeing the progress you want – whether that is at the speed or scale that you imagined when preparing – you can lose faith. Worst still, you can begin fantasizing about failure (yup, not all fantasies are fun).
Your relationship with your mission, the deeper reason you took on this project, whether that was family or personal satisfaction, is essential to owning your opportunity.
Because it will happen. You will want to quit. You will doubt yourself. You will fear failure.
How you react to negative self-talk when it happens will determine the outcome.
Having faith is incredibly simple: remind yourself about what you stand to lose if you give up. And then focus on, and work towards what you stand to gain.
The change in yourself will be determined by your perspective, and if you mindset is that of purpose, meaning and responsibility – you are owning your opportunity.
Internal change, how you feel about what you are doing, is inevitable. The same applies to external change and the choices you need to make as a leader (or not, even if you are an employee, you still have a responsibility to the success of the opportunity for everyone).
Can you accept the change as natural? Are you able to sit within the chaos and remain focused on the core goal.
Feelings or changes in the work you are doing can change, they will. But will you allow those changes to take away your ownership of your opportunity? Allow for the feelings. Allow for the change. Welcome it. Get to know it. Try to understand it rather than immediately react to it.
Your big picture, even the story you imagined when you were preparing will change. How boring would it be if it didn’t?
Using the change to your advantage, regardless if the change is positive or negative, is owning your opportunity.
Focus on progress. Set sail for the next step. Keep your core mission in tact and allow for the picture to change around you while you paint your own vision on top of it. Enable yourself by accepting that you can affect change in a positive way, and that you are in total control of the outcome – embracing the positivity with the negativity, staying focused and measured in your reaction to both.