Despite your best strategy and planning, sometimes the most important opportunities for your growth and success catch you by surprise. These moments of opportunity are not predictable. They catch you by surprise. For the most part, there’s nothing you can do to force them to happen. However, what you can do is be prepared to “seize the moment” when it comes.
Let me give you a recent for instance. Earlier this month, Nicole Raviv was scheduled to sing the National Anthem at a Stanley Cup Playoff Game between the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins NHL Hockey teams. She took the mic and began to sing. But a few seconds into the song, Nicole noticed how the fans who had packed New York’s Nassau Coliseum were loudly and proudly singing with her.
Nicole had the presence of mind to drop her microphone so that the crowd’s singing rather than her own could be the focus of attention. The result is that a simple singing of the National Anthem suddenly became national news, and both internet and network news feeds picked up the story. Nicole, who, while quite talented, would not be an A-list singer you’ve likely ever heard. But because of how she reacted in that moment, her nationwide exposure went through the roof.
Could she have planned for or predicted the crowd’s reaction? Probably not. But her presence of mind in that moment catapulted her to new levels of recognition, and I suspect, opportunity.
Are there things in life, relationships, and business that you can plan for, prepare for, and train for? You bet. But to be ready for those serendipitous moments is more a matter of wisdom and character – with perhaps a dash of good fortune thrown in for flavoring.
So what can you do to prepare yourself to “seize the moment?” I’m not sure there is any magic formula for this but here are some ideas to consider:
- Get your heart right. Having a generous and caring soul with an outward focus on how you can help and benefit others puts you in a better position to notice when a serendipitous moment arises. People who focus on themselves tend to think small and narrow and often miss a gift or blessing opportunity even when it’s right in front of them.
- Get your mind right. Having an attitude of gratitude, a glass-half-full mindset, a positive way of thinking about life helps you see an opportunity that others may overlook.
- Cultivate excellence. When you are doing your job well, you are in a healthy position to react to an unexpected opportunity. People who are too busy putting out fires or dealing with drama in the office don’t have the time or emotional bandwidth to seize the moment of opportunity when it comes upon them. Lifeguards and police officers spend hours in “readiness training” to respond to a life and death situation when it happens.
So what can you do this week? What decisions can you make that will help you be more prepared to seize your moment? May you have the opportunity to both be blessed and extend a blessing to others. That’s what makes life rich and rewarding.