In the famous words of Richard Branson,“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure you can do it, say yes, then learn how to do it later”.
The fact is that we are living in extra ordinary times. The circumstances that COVID-19 has created have never before been experienced by humankind. We are now all embracing the terminology, ‘New Normal’. The true definition of the word is yet to reveal itself. But while we are at it, extra ordinary times call for extra ordinary measures. This means a major mind shift in the way that we do things. We must acknowledge:
- That we are now more humane as COVID-19 is an equalizer. It spares no one.
- That digital is the new way to work as is evident from the 50% increase in Zoom shares over the last three months.
- That washing our hands is longer an after thought but could mean the difference between life and death.
- That masks are now a mandatory part of our everyday wear.
These present times dictate that we must be awake to every single opportunity that comes our way because our very survival could depend on it. What is happening now is history. Science might call it evolution. Rigidity, fear, excuses and whatever other reasons that pulls us back from embracing opportunities must be packed away for good. But what are these factors that contribute to holding back on embracing opportunities? During a Women Lifting Women series, Pauline Kamau Kinyua shared some 5 common contributory factors.
- Being Caught Unaware.
- Feeling Undeserving.
- Fear Of failure.
- Underrating an opportunity.
- Finding the opportunity just too hard.
You Are Caught Unaware – Be alert to opportunities that land on your lap.
Many opportunities come unexpectedly and in packages we cannot imagine. We must stay alert to even if they catch us unprepared. Pauline shared how not too long ago, she got an unexpected opportunity when a friend asked her to edit an article that she had wanted to submit to a magazine. She was happy to help. The very next day she was offered the opportunity do write more articles. The offer had caught her off guard. It was not something she had considered doing although she often found herself helping friends and acquaintances with promotional write-ups.
She however was alert to the perfect opportunity to propel herself into the digital space that is now the norm. Her business is in hospitality where she offers short term accommodation. Owing to COVID-19, she had earned zero for the past three months. The future of hospitality is uncertain. What is now certain is that she has placed herself in the space that the world is now geared towards. The digital space.
Feeling Undeserving – Work on your belief system.
Its unfortunate that there are people in this world who have made it their business to erode the confidence of others. It may also have been eroded owning to some traumatic life experiences way beyond their control. Sometimes its about gender inequality and male chauvinism. In a similar forum a high flying International Advocate and Women’s rights activist had shared how at one time in her growth journey she felt like a fake.
This especially happened when she was in the company of her male peers. They purposed to make her feel uncomfortable in her promoted position. This, only because she is a woman. Mercifully, she worked on her belief system that she too was deserving. By so doing she escalated up the corporate ladder and today sits in Geneva as the Senior Vice President of The Centre for Reproductive Rights.
It is therefor important that everyone works on their belief system. That you too are deserving of the opportunities and growth that comes your way.
You are Afraid of Failure – Capture your fears.
Shonda Rhimes is a leading African- American television producer best known as the brains behind the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy and the ever so popular Scandal. Interestingly, she was a self-described introvert who often said no. In her best-selling book,Year Of Yes, Rhimes explained that it all started when her sister challenged her that she never said yes to anything.
Based on that statement she says, “For one year, I would say yes to all the things that scared me,” She shared this at length on the TED talk where she further says “Anything that made me nervous, took me out of my comfort zone, I forced myself to say yes to. And a crazy thing happened: the very act of doing the thing that scared me undid the fear, made it not scary. My fear of public speaking, my social anxiety, poof, gone. It’s amazing, the power of one word.”
Fear of failure is perhaps the single most deterrent to growth and opportunities. In order to capture your fears, you must do the very thing that puts the fear in you. Believe that you deserve it and the universe will serve it.
The Opportunity Looks Too Small – No opportunity is too small.
Pauline has never met Esther Kojwang but has bought her honey. She also follows her Facebook posts about her Honey sales. On the week of the series, Esther had posted on her page…….‘Did you know that not so long ago, my target was to sell only 5 kgs of honey per day? At that point, just surviving a month without business closure was the most important thing for me and that was okay because we all must start from somewhere……..Be consistent and trust the process whilst setting a slightly higher target for yourself each passing month. If you sold 30 kgs this month, in the next one, aim for 60 or 100. Trust me that within no time, 1,000kgs plus will be doable without much struggle.” “I remember one of my customers started with 30kgs on 20th of April, came back for 60, then 100, then 150, followed by 200. Yesterday 23rd June, she placed an order for 300kgs.”
That true story is the evidence that there are no small opportunities. Each opportunity has the capacity to grow cumulatively and exponentially.
You Think That Its too hard – Fake it till you make it.
It is not unusual to feel intimidated by opportunities that come your way. They may seem just too big a pair of shoes for you. The thing is that you do not need to re-invent the wheel. All you need is to seek the help of those who are doing it or have done it before. True, sometimes help may not be forthcoming from those quarters. However, you must be brave enough to start small and keep growing. You must be patient and focus on the bigger picture. You must fake it until you make it. Its just a matter of time.
Once all the five hindrances have been addressed, then the opportunities will come knocking on our doors. You will then be able to embrace them with clarity. There will be no turning back.