“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” — Charles R. Swindoll
What makes an opportunity seem irresistible? Timing, people, difficulty, resources, perks, expectations? Or is it simply the anticipated impact of what might come out of it? A potential raise, a promotion, the honor, or just the satisfaction of doing a good job? While there are many aspects that go into “sizing up” an opportunity, we often get caught up with trying to solve the “possibility” puzzle. Is this going to happen or not? We want to calculate the odds and run the math to see if the Vision of the Opportunity bears any relation to the Vision of the Possibility.
What a deflating place! Two visions and no way to confirm either? So what do you do? … umm, maybe, hedge?
Oh well, now you’re probably saying, “Been there, done that, ain’t going back. Hedging is SUCH a waste of time.” And you would be right, but what’s the alternative?
The problem here is has nothing to do with the two visions, or hedging, or any confusion about what to call “reality.” The problem is trust. And you really have only three choices: Trust your environment, trust yourself, or convince yourself that you change both – in which case “opportunity” is whatever you choose to make of it.
Robert Hargrove in Masterful Coaching asks his client to “declare” an impossible future. He puts his/her sights not on the “doable,” or the “possible,” but rather on the “impossible.” So how’s that for throwing a wrench into your thinking?
The point here is not to immerse yourself in the “labels,” but to immerse yourself in what you truly want to see happen. And then change either yourself or your environment so all of that can happen.
Here’s a joke: A guy shows up at the Pearly Gates. He’s expecting to be admitted. Gabriel says, “Hold on. Fill out a form.” The guy says, “Great! No problem.” A hundred years later. Gabriel says: “Opps! We changed the form. Start over.” The Guy says, “Great. No Problem.” Now, this happens five or six times. Finally, Gabriel asks, “Aren’t you tired of waiting, and filling out forms?” The guys says, “Nope, I know I’ll get in. And simply being here will do it.” And with that, the Pearly gates open.
Make sense out of the situation, so you can be strategic. But don’t change your goal.
Here are some questions to clarify your thinking:
- If this an opportunity, why do you want it?
- If this merely a possibility, what needs to change to make it an opportunity?
- What conditions do you need to take the next step? Can you ask for those now?
- What’s in the environment – right now – that can you trust?
- What does it take to believe in your own greatness?
For those who whisper “Pollyanna,” realism begins with the end in mind, or else it accepts the status quo. Which one do you want? Personal mastery seeks completion and wants to stay in relation to something larger than oneself. So you might want to practice your willing suspension of disbelief. See …personal mastery and suspension of disbelief…