One of my mentors and friend, when speaking about opportunity, likes to quote the words of Leonard Ravenhill: “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of that opportunity”.
I’ve pondered upon this quote many a time, and realised that most people do not fully understand what opportunity is. Most people think that opportunity only comes in the form of a big business contract, a job, business partnership, or marrying into a rich family. To some extent they might be right, but to a larger extent they miss the crucial ingredient of opportunity – humility, and treating every individual as though they are important, CEO or Cleaner.
The truth of the matter is, today’s opportunity should’ve been prepared for yesterday, and tomorrow’s opportunity must be prepared for today. Assuming that opportunity comes dressed in a Zegna suit, with alligator shoes, and that it puts on fine cologne is a costly mistake.
Sometimes opportunity comes to you dressed in filthy garments, or comes to you wrapped up in a different skin colour. An opportunity, sometimes, is that young girl or boy who comes to you and tells you that they look up to you, and that they would like you to mentor them – you don’t necessarily have to agree to do so, but how you respond to them will determine how you would have access to them if one day when they become president.
It’s true that as human beings we tend to take things at face value, and to our disadvantage, we often do judge a book by its cover. But, imagine if you thought differently? If you build solid relationships with people, irrespective our their status in life? Now by relationships I don’t necessarily mean that you should be friends with everybody, I just mean you should be at peace and in great terms with everybody, if possible, as long as it depends on you.
Opportunity sometimes means helping someone who needs funding for their start up business, if you have the means to do so, or paying the fees of young upcoming young individuals. Imagine the early funders of Apple, Uber, Alibaba? Those who chose to see something different about the founders of these businesses.
Who would’ve thought that South Africa could one day have a president who didn’t finish high school? Former President Jacob Zuma… now whether you and I like him or not, the fact of the matter is that he did become president of South Africa for 2 terms. Now, in his early life, would you have predicted that he would one day be president? Now, the opportunity to meet him and build a friendship with him would not be when he is president, but in the early days when he is deemed a nobody. That’s how life works, and sometimes that’s what it means to take advantage of opportunities.
Don’t seek it things that are already made. Seek to find those that need to be refined, and do the refining, and sooner or later, you will be surrounded by beautifully refined things – including great relationships.
Lifetime opportunities, are sometimes covered in mud, and you just have to clean them up. Train your eye to see the good in people, no matter what they look life. If you do that, opportunity will always be your best friend, because most times profitable opportunities are brought to us by people we’ve known and trusted for years, especially who believe you are there for them not for the benefits you get from knowing them.
I wish you success.
CEO, Quality Growth International