Archives for posts with tag: opportunity

“Fear regret more than failure.”

~Taryn Rose

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Did you ever meet those people who never break from their routine? Some call themselves “steak and potato” kind-of-guys, meaning that’s what they like so that’s what they eat and that’s that. They don’t budge, they don’t try new things, so don’t bother asking them. Are you one of those people or do you seize opportunities as they arise?

Recently I undertook a somewhat last minute decision to make an 18 hour roadtrip. We “planned” for about a week and said “lets do it!” So we made some quick arrangements and hit the road. I would say we had a vague outline at best. The extent of our planning was picking a route and what time we were going to leave.

During the trip, we stopped in cites we never expected to see and did things we had no idea we would do. From impromptu history lessons of a neighborhood from a long time resident and stumbling upon long lost landmarks to line dancing with people way above my skill level and indulging in an authentic Louisiana crawfish boil, we tried some things that I don’t think we could have planned if we tried. And looking back it was those moments that might have been the best parts of the trip.

So the next time some opportunity to try something new comes up, give it a shot. You might feel akward until you get the hang of it, but most likely it wont kill you.

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The other morning I sat down at breakfast and noticed a little old man sitting next to me. I smiled and let the moment pass not thinking too much about it and not expecting much more from it.

A few minutes later, a little old woman join him. Having seen many old people eat breakfast before, I barely gave it a second thought. But, when the woman sat down I couldn’t help but overhear her talking. Then I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Almost as soon as she sat down she started complaining. This was not the average bitter old woman! I heard her say “That stupid bitch!” Immediately I was shocked. Everyone at my table must have heard it because it got silent. No one knew what to say. I mean how crabby can this old lady possibly be?! They must have said “stupid bitch!” about 5 times in a row. And it turns out she was mad because there was a lady in front of her at the omelette bar holding up the line because she didn’t know what she wanted. Whoa! I was floored! This lady was so old and crabby that the omelette line set her off.

A couple of minutes passed, and the old lady started talking to me. Well, to my friend. Apparently, this lady noticed the college shirt my friend was wearing and had something to say about it. I had no idea where or how this was going to go. I didn’t doubt my friend had just heard the omelette story. And I knew she would not deal with this lady’s attitude…. so here it goes… what will happen next…?

It turns out the old lady used to live in the same state as the college mentioned on my friends’ shirt. She was very fond of the area and that broke the ice to a casual conversation.

As it turned out,  I was celebrating my birthday. The lady and her husband were celebrating his birthday. As the conversation went on, I learned that the lady had survived breast cancer – twice.  She was proudly wearing pink T-shirt and advising all women who would listen to get checked out.

She had served in the Navy and was somewhat of a pin-up girl who became popular when she was caught on camera smoking cigars with some ranking officers.

When she was younger, she used to own a ’58 Chevy. She told us how she used to play chicken on the road and run from the cops. She got so illuminated when she was telling these stories. And she had no time for the guys who thought she couldn’t hold her own.

We reminisced about some college parties she used to go to after the football games.

It turns out she wasn’t bitchy at all – she was feisty! She was quite the character and a great random person to chat with. You never know who will cross your path or what story they have to tell.

Two lessons here:  1) Never underestimate the story of strangers. 2) Live your life as to have a wonderful story to share with others.

“The expert in anything was once a beginner”

Oh how we forget this… We look at people and admire them for their skills and knowledge in certain areas. We allow that admiration to morph into intimidation. We start to question our own abilities and tell ourselves we are good enough to match those experts. We sell ourselves short.

We end up not applying for that job, not going out for the team, not bothering to delve deeper into our hobbies.

What if all the “experts” of their fields would have thought like that? It sure would have been a waste of unknown talent…

Change change change….

Change is good. Yet most of us are scared of it. We get comfortable where we are and what we are doing in a multitude of scenarios. We know we have to “let things play” and we are told that “nothing is perfect” so when things aren’t good we accept it as gospel. But we have to embrace change. For one, it will always happen, like it or not, you will never be able to avoid it.

You will grow up. Your skills will change. Some will improve, others will go away altogether. Your interests will change, or they should. You don’t ever have to lose your old interests but you should be going out and exploring the world. It would be hard to imagine anyone not finding anything else that interests him or her besides what they already know.

All progress includes moving forward. Pretty logical right? But most people will stammer and stall and wonder about moving forward. We put a lot of effort into becoming comfortable with what we have. Its never easy to be the new guy in any situation, from a relationship to a new job setting.

You have two choices: 1) you can let the world pass you by and accept what falls into your lap, or 2) you can actively chase what outcomes YOU want. Regardless of the choice you make, the world will continue to spin.

I recently made some forward progress myself. (My apologies because I know it affected my posting) I spent 13 years in a job that was my dream job. It still is. But I felt I was ready for a new challenge. I’m the type of person who likes to have goals and projects that I am working towards. But I fell into a rut over the years. I actually hate to say rut because I excelled in my field and enjoyed being the experienced person who could answer questions and train new people. But ultimately I wanted to do more for me. But I was hesitant to leave my dream job fearing that everything I love about it would be hard to outdo.

With much support and soul searching I took the leap to explore more of my world. I actually stayed in my field, so it’s still very much my dream job. But it’s an entirely different aspect of it. It has only been 2 weeks but I am loving it. I have a lot to learn but have been able to bring my experiences with me.

I always look at our retirement bulletins at work. They always post a condensed version of the persons resume listed the areas they have worked and some of their accomplishments. I always feel sad when I see a person has only done one thing for X amount of years. I get motivated when I see someone who has been all over the company, using all different kinds of skills. Imagine the knowledge and experiences he or she has picked up over the years.

No one would have forced my hand. They wont force yours either. Opportunities will come and go. They will float right past you. Some will be better than others. But ultimately it will be up to you to reach for one of them and take the risk.

Take the risk – it’ll either be a blessing or a lesson.
– Men’s Health magazine

What reasons do you have for talking yourself out of taking a risk? If it poses an outcome that will leave you worse off then maybe it’s a risk not worth taking. Most of the time we find ourselves scared of change just because it’s the unknown. But that’s what makes life a journey.

Make your journey count. Staying in a safe bubble of familiarity can be, well safe. But progress isn’t made by standing still.

“Just do it”
-Nike

It’s as simple as that. “Just do it”. Try, seize the opportunity.

Ask her out, apply for the job, go where you have not gone before.

Maybe you’ll fail, maybe you’ll succeed – but you will know.

“Fail fast and move on.. Everything, failure or success, is a lesson. But each requires action to begin.”