This month, I’ve been thinking a lot about opportunities that come into our lives, and how we respond to them. Many of us are blessed with myriad opportunities that we have available to us, yet we often do not take advantage of them. Indeed, one thing I hear from clients and friends is that there are too many opportunities, too many choices that they face. We can end up being swept along by others’ demands and expectations, for that path may seem easier than choosing our own. Or, we might close off from the world in self-defense, making our own world smaller as a result and missing out on abundance.
Arthur Schopenhauer wrote “Everyone takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.” I wrestle with how to increase my own field of vision, how to see the many opportunities I encounter in terms of possibility and promise. I know the world is virtually unlimited in the choices it offers us; I want to choose better and wiser. How do I open my mind and arms and heart to all the abundant choices in this world, without being overwhelmed by them?
For starters, I feel it is important to be clear on what my mission is, or knowing what my purpose is for my work (or life). That alone give me guidance in determining whether a given opportunity is one I want to invest my time and energy in. I try to be clear about what I want, and articulate that to others. Sometimes it is simple (I want steak tonight, not fish.); sometimes it is more complex (I want a better relationship with someone, not one of discord.). I create the space for new opportunities to show up; some ways I do this are journaling (clearing my mind), making sure I have enough time to explore opportunities (keeping a calendar that has some blanks in it, resisting the urge to fill all of my time with busyness), and having reserves of energy to devote to things that I want to pursue (taking care of myself physically and emotionally). I try to have an open mind about opportunities; I’m alert to serendipity and pay attention to the people who show up in my life. I read things that stretch my thinking, and endeavor to always be growing and learning new things. I don’t have to fear being overwhelmed by opportunities, but rather can be open and responsive to them, even if my response is just to say “no, thanks.”
What opportunities are in your life that you could see better, respond to more effectively, and make a thoughtful choice about?
Sharon Keys Seal