Missed Opportunities

September 2008

Last night, I celebrated the Labor Day holiday with a really fun party here at our home.  Our guests (ranging in age from three years to three score-plus years) enjoyed plenty of rockin’ beach music, stimulating discussions, and platters of delicious food.  The weather cooperated beautifully, and after dark a friend showed us how to use our telescope to check out Jupiter and its moons from our deck.  For years, we have only used our telescope to watch boats and birds….and suddenly a whole new universe (literally) opened up to us when we learned how to peer up into the heavens. 

That revelation started me thinking about the opportunities I miss in life.  Sometimes, those are due to just not being aware of something (like the fact our telescope could be used at night, with merely a change of lens and location).  Just reflecting back over our party, I thought about missed opportunities to learn about neurotransmitters in the brain (from the PhD guest who is doing research in that field), or spend time with the precious little children who were cavorting in the pool, or hear more about a friend’s recent vacation.  The cause for those missed opportunities was mainly due to time and focus.  I can get too distracted by the doing (especially when entertaining a couple dozen folks) and sometimes forget to just be with people.  However, I never regret spending time focusing on conversations with my friends, or just laughing and being silly with them.

The writer H. Jackson Brown, Jr. asserts that “nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.”  In business, that can certainly be the case.  I try to be alert to the chance to take my business to the next level.  Sometimes that means being more assertive and stretching outside my comfort zone.  It entails being open to opportunities that do present themselves, and seeing those as possibilities instead of improbabilities.  I don’t want to miss an opportunity because of blind spots in my thinking or lack of imagination.  And, I strive to be mindful that each day presents me with the opportunity to grow as a person and as a professional, and I try to respond with wisdom, integrity, and courage.  I want to be more aware of the myriad opportunities that come into my life and my work, and then have the discernment, focus and energy to take advantage of that abundance. 

What opportunities pass you by?  What causes you to miss those chances?  How can you be better at noticing and embracing opportunities in your life and in your work?  If I can support you in exploring these questions, please ask.   Have a great month.

Sharon
Sharon Keys Seal

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