What’s the Opportunity?

If I could give you one question to ask yourself during a challenging time it would be this…

What’s the opportunity here?

I know the last thing you want or think to do when you are in the middle of a challenging time or situation is to ask yourself what the opportunity is, and I know it seems like I’m asking you to be unhuman, but go with me on this for a second…

How many times in your life have you looked back on a particularly difficult time of your life and suddenly had a lightbulb go off as to what you got from it?

Here’s an example…

My best friend lost her father…

It was a long and hard 2 1/2 years and at the end she was fortunate enough to be able to go and be with him and care for him for the last couple of months.

About 6 months after he had died, she and I had a long conversation about how she felt like she was still playing catch up with her life and she was scared she would never get her life back on track.

I asked her why she felt so behind and she said that when her dad had been diagnosed she did what everyone does in that situation and she put her life on hold.

During this time she had also moved accross the country and given her career a fresh start, but the whole time her focus was on her dad.

As we talked, I asked her what her life would be like now if he had never gotten sick…if he was still alive…

And THAT is when the light bulb went on…

Her eyes brightened and she said, “I would be doing exactly what I was doing then, I wouldn’t have moved, I’d be doing the same exact things I was doing before that were making me feel trapped and like I was living with a ceiling on my success.”

I said, “Okay, so what is your life like because he was diagnosed and you went through that time?”

The light bulb was really on now…

“I am living somewhere else, I’ve made progress in one career and have a whole other career I never dreamed I would have…”

Her voice drifted off for a second and then she said, “I’ve been feeling like I got behind, but I really ended up ahead of where I was ever going to be if I hadn’t gone through all of that.”


So often we are struck days, months, years later with why something happened the way it did…what opportunities came to us because of the challenges we went through…

So all I’m asking you to do now is to try to remember to look for that opportunity in the midst of the challenge…

You won’t always be able to do it…

But, when you run into roadblocks with anything…

  • Making money
  • Discovering your passion
  • Living your dreams

Try asking yourself what the opportunity may be?

Just try it!

To help you get into this practice, leave me a comment with one or two examples from your life…

Go Big!


4 Responses to “What’s the Opportunity?”

  1. Michelle says:

    My ex disappeared on me, stopped calling and stopped taking my calls, not even a text message of explanation. Prior to that we had talked about getting back together. It took me quiet a few months to get around his disappearing. I felt very low and confused and turned to self-help on the internet and I realised that you create your own reality and also that I had issues of being and lovely someone unattainable, things I would not have learned had this not have happened. I also learnt a lot about him, but hope he is ok. I still have a lot to get my head aroud and work to do on myself but I feel like I am going in the right direction.

  2. Rosemary says:

    In 1992, I had been elected President of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management, a singular honor that I had pursued because my boss had been President years ago, and two other notables in the company had already served as President, and it was just in the culture. To serve as President, I was required to attend a training session in San Diego. When the time came for me to go, my immediate boss told me she could not spare me and I could not go. There had been a lot of turmoil in the company due to the economic situation at the time, and we had been required to put in “all nighters” too frequently. To become President had required years of devotion to the Institute, to training and working my way through the upper reaches of the Chapter. I had also devoted 14-1/2 years to the company, building up my position there, only to be treated as though my contributions through the years had been nothing and my fate was in her hands. I quit, right on the spot, because the company wasn’t everything. I went on to start my own consulting business, even though I was the only employee, with my previous company as my first client. It’s been a series of ups and downs, but overall it has been very liberating and fulfilling. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

  3. Dias says:

    Hi Kristen,

    I hope your friend is doing great now. In life we often faces a lot of adversity, its how our character that stands up to them that counts.

    The moment we choose to stick face to face with the devil, there are opportunities ahead.

  4. Will says:

    This is the one that nailed it for me:

    Many years ago, I met a young lady who was friendly enough that within the hour, we were chatting up a storm. I did not see or speak to her again for another 18 months.

    Fast Forward 18 months. Working on some new software, it jogged my memory that I had the e-mail address of the young lady and had not made contact, Did I want to renew the contact? You bet I did. I sat down and composed an e-mail and was rewarded with a reply that asked me to call a cellular number.

    I called that cell phone and the young lady answered, though with sadness and regret in her voice. She asked me why I wanted to stay in touch and I told her that her vivacity and zest for life was the key. She then told me that in the interim period she had been diagnosed with Lupus.

    Now Lupus, as I know it is known as the disease with a thousand faces. It seems to strike out of the blue. This young lady almost committed suicide, she lost her job and had to move to another appartment because of this disease. I really felt challenged to see how one could deal with it. Then , as Kirsten says “Inspired Motivation” took hold and I recalled a discussion on PBS by Carolyn Myss.

    She, Carolyn, said that people often looked at things the wrong way around. She said, for example, if you were laid off, look at as if you have a brand new chance to get the right sort of Job. Handed a lemon, make lemonade sort of thinking. She put it as having won the lottery.

    I recalled this and then had my friend visualize herself as having just won the biggest lottery she could imagine. I asked her what would she do then. She replied, without a split second of doubt, Why I’d teach yoga! Well I explained, if that is what you would do if you won the lottery, what’s stopping you now?

    She laughed for the first time in many months and began crying over the phone. When she stopped crying, we both sat down over IM and chatted about how one might learn yoga.

    The long and short of it was that after only 3 hours of knowing her, I wrote her a letter of reference to a yoga instructor’s school that we found on-line. She got in and became a graduated instructor, was re-hired by her old company at a higher salary to teach them all yoga, and has never been happier in her life. I still get a birthday present of an instruction from her and we stay in touch.

    So, feeling bad over something? Flip it around and win your own lottery. The odds are in your favour. I guarantee it (if you follow through!)

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