February 23, 2023 -
As we learn more about anything we find that we can find more opportunities, but we often can not see the opportunities before our eyes. Also, seeing an opportunity is wholly different than being able to seize that opportunity. Let's explore some simple and common ideas of ways to find opportunities in Jobs, Investments, Entrepreneurial endeavors, and in Life choices.
When we do not feel like the work we are doing is meaningful or that the job we have will get us where we want to go, then we start not to try very hard. The average worker spends an hour in the morning, another hour for lunch, and another hour at the end of the day really doing nothing. In the morning, people come to the office and get set up, have their coffee, and try to get ready to work. At lunch (and just before and after) they are anticipating where to go or what to do, and they have to get back into the groove for work when they come back. At the end of the day, they work until they are done and wait for the clock to run out so they can leave. Checking email, social media, and other time wasters are also happening, but usually, these are the ways most people operate at an office. So there is a great waste of time happening.
If we're looking for opportunities for growth in an office setting, we will have to do things a bit differently. One main suggestion would be to take control of our schedule. There is no need to waste time and put all of our activities on the calendar so we know what we're going to do next. Setting lunch dates with people can eliminate our need for wasting time figuring out when to go or who to meet, and it can also be a way to get in some networking and/or socializing that will help us declutter our brain and open new opportunities as well. We don't have to work through lunch (unless that's our thing), and we can gain the break we need, the pick-me-up our body needs, and increase who knows us at work all at the same time. This is just one way that we can make our schedule work for us.
Think about another way your schedule can help you. If we are overwhelmed at work by emails, phone calls, and meetings, we can plan them so that we can focus on them throughout our day. If, for example, we check emails immediately in the morning, directly after lunch, and before we go home, we'll catch things as they happen during the day, and we won't be bound or tempted by the "dings" on our computer to check them every 5 minutes. It's one way of allocating our time wisely. The same thing can be said for our social media and phone calls. Take an hour to return calls that we get during the day at a specified time so that we can focus on our other work throughout the rest of the day. Remember, it only sounds hard if we don't enforce it for ourselves, and if we don't have the courage and discipline to make others conform to our schedule.
The topic of investing usually makes people cringe because it has to do with managing our money. Most people spend on the things they want, they don't invest, and they miss out on the things they need or the opportunities that may arise. Don't we all have an uncle or other relative who says, "If I only had the money at the time, I saw that great investment and couldn't afford to capitalize on it!" Maybe we've said it ourselves many times too. I know we all have regretted not having the cash to invest in something when it was new or "hot" and then we saw it bloom in front of us and couldn't do anything. It's one of the worst feelings.
Using a technique from Profit First, a book by Mike Michalowicz, we could all miss out less on these kinds of opportunities. If we understand human nature, then we know that if all our money is in one account, we're really happy when that account has a good amount of money in it. Then we spend more when it's full as well. And the opposite is true when our account is near empty - we spend less and look for how to get more money! We can use this human nature to our benefit if we simply transfer portions of our money to accounts that we cannot regularly access (or that we designate for certain tasks).
If every account we have has a purpose (for example Expenses, Pay, Investments, Vacations, Taxes, etc.), then we can use our human nature to excite us to more action when our expense account is low and we get close to not paying the bills. Also, we can react and seize an investment opportunity when we have money in the investment account! This is a simple way to split our assets to gain what we want, and not just have to take what we get.
People are often confused with the term Entrepreneur. They think it is all about taking big risks and running your own company. Working as an entrepreneur can be a side job as well as a full-time endeavor, it's just a perspective and a decision on how to spend some of your spare time. You can work a job and also have a business. There is usually no issue with that (unless it breaks a corporate or company rule).
Entrepreneurship is more about being able to run a business and set goals. Knowing how to mitigate the risks associated by taking small, purposeful steps, and finding ways to do it within your comfort zone. The tax benefit of running our own business is one incentive, but the passive income that comes from our side business is the real incentive. No one has become rich - or at least handed down significant generational wealth - through simple saving. Albert Einstein once said, "Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it... earns it…he who doesn't… pays it."
Finding ways to earn passive income - to put your money to work even when you sleep - is the path every Entrepreneur has to learn to take. It takes skill and mastery to get this to work well in most cases, but it is possible for every person on the planet. Especially now, with remote work options becoming more and more prevalent, people can find ways to work on their side business and become Entrepreneurs without great risk. We just have to decide to look for those opportunities.
In life, we often see things in black and white even when there are so many shades of grey! We sometimes think that we are not made for something, or that we are unlucky. We tell ourselves that we are unworthy, unskilled, or simply unimportant enough to get the things we want. Our minds do not know the difference between the truth and what we tell it. If we tell our brains something long enough, we will believe it to be the truth!
We stop ourselves from looking for opportunities because we don't see them. And we don't see opportunities because we don't look. It's a vicious circle that can only be broken by learning to tame our inner chatter and learn to be more uncomfortable on purpose! Taming our inner chatter is learning to recognize when we're telling ourselves limiting thoughts. Saying, "I can't" shuts off the mind to any possibilities. Even changing one word in that sentence and saying, "I can't yet!" opens the possibility of being able to do that thing sometime in the future with some different set of circumstances that we might be able to influence. Learn a new skill, meet a new person, or move to a new city and you might be able to influence your chances of having the desired outcome!
In the end, we are held captive by our own bad choices and habits if we don't try to actively create good choices and habits. Setting ourselves free is a mindset, perception, and action shift. Beginning with our mindset, we can choose to see the bad in ourselves or keep growing and striving to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. Having a good mindset allows us to perceive better options for ourselves and know that they are possible even before they become a reality. Our perception defines the hope we have and maintain. Then, making good choices and taking action on those choices will get us where we want to go, or at least send us in the direction we want to go. We always have a choice, and whether we see the opportunities in front of us depends on the mindset, perception, and action we decide to take. Our freedom and indeed our whole life, then, depends on what we choose. Those choices become our habits and those habits become our lives. It's really amazing to know that we have the power in our hands to choose to build our own future!