When opportunity knocks, do you open the door ? or complain about the noise?

Opportunity is often a matter of perception. Within our vision of the world is the image of ourselves. It may seem like some people have all the luck; they are randomly chosen. Yet, often luck is not random at all, but a time when preparation and opportunity come together.

Although opportunity is often a result of what we create, we must first recognize it to tap into it. To recognize opportunity one must be a possibility thinker and also have the ability to predict patterns and trends. For example, at a time when most people are losing their life’s savings in the stock market, my son’s guidance gave me returns that no stock broker has ever accomplished for me. It is simply his ability to predict trends, observe patterns, and change his thinking as the economy shifts from a bull to a bear market. Crisis is opportunity in disguise, but only for those who define it as such.

George Soros, a hedge fund manager, whose team of analysts made him millions during the bear market of the ’70s, fired his staff in the early ’80s when he predicted a bull market. The reason was because he feared they would not change their thinking. The decisions that create wealth in a bear market are not the same strategies required for success in a bull market. In a bull market, when stocks fall one buys with the assumption they will go up. In a bear market, one must resist the temptation and break free of conditioned responses and behavior that was previously rewarded.

Recognizing opportunity is dependent upon your ability to scan the environment, for opportunities are everywhere, but we need to recognize them, see the potential, create a strategy, an action plan, and then muster the courage to take the risks necessary to move forward. However, it may not be as much a factor of what you do, but what you must not do.

One of the reasons people don’t see opportunity when it is painted on a billboard and screaming louder than thunder is because of limited thinking and cerebral myopia. Oftentimes, it may be due to negativity, but it may also be due to simply not being visionary and seeing the big picture. Unfortunately, creativity is often stifled by our education system. Corporations tend to be risk-adverse, and yet calculated risk-taking is essential for opportunities created by innovation. In other words, when you find yourself in deep water, become a diver!

Learning to dive has become crucial to my survival. While left-brain people are often too cautious and are snagged by analysis paralysis, right-brain people can tend to dive into deep water before learning how to swim. Being an off-the-chart right-brain optimist, everything appears to be an opportunity when, in fact, it may be a serious derailment. I bought a dozen pay phones, although given fair warning not to do so. From the crooks who sold them to me, referred to as the Cuban Mafia, to the installer who collected his fees but never did the job, it was proposed residual income that had a tainted residue. When I moved to North Carolina in 1997, being a realtor seemed to require simply taking orders, so, of course, I became a licensed realtor. There have also been dozens of MLMs or multi-level marketing opportunities. While the concept is great, and many of the products were useful, once again it was another distraction from my doing what was meaningful and purposeful for me.

A former husband’s embezzlement was also disguised as opportunity, as was a stock broker who, because I took action, is now selling ice cream instead. No, it’s not your neighborhood Dilly Bar Man! Then there were the real estate opportunities that got washed away by Hurricane Fran. They were sold to me by a realtor who had previously been imprisoned on felony charges. Nothing is ever a good deal when you deal with bad people.  More recently I loaned money to a private investor because he guaranteed very competitive interest rates and even backed up the loan with real estate that, wouldn’t you know, went into foreclosure. The point I am making is that promises are not opportunities.

Because of my random lust for opportunity, I squandered not only years of my life, but also my life’s savings chasing the next promised opportunity. I lost millions of hard-earned dollars. No sugar daddies and no winning the lottery! The more I lost, the more fear and desperation sought opportunity that was promised by every slick salesperson I encountered. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, but not when it is music that makes you want to dance.

Upon moving to North Carolina and leaving behind a very lucrative psychotherapy practice, I had built a lovely home which is referred to as Edie’s Mansion on the Home and Garden channel (HGTV). It must be their big hit as they have been showing it for years! It is still not sold. And although I could be living in the mansion, since I am paying the mortgage and the renter tends to forget to put the check in the mail, I am often sleeping on my modest nineteen-foot boat while renting out my cottage on lovely Lake Norman. It helps pay the four mortgages on properties that total over two million. Heck, Suzy Orman slept in her car shortly before her breakthrough, so it is probably a good omen.

As defined by my son Tory, opportunity is the chance to make progress toward a stated goal. That was the problem. I either had too many goals or I was not clear on which ones were authentic. Are your goals allowing you to be true to yourself?

Possibilities are only opportunities if they push you gently down the path toward your committed goals and desires.

You must sort out and be selective. If you can’t say “no” to possibilities that are not in sync with your instincts, your core genius or soul’s code, you are simply out of focus. You either get busy living, or you get busy dying. Some degree of skepticism can be a virtue if it brings balance to your decision making. Ask yourself:

  • What gives my life meaning?
  • What makes me happy?
  • How do I choose to serve and make a difference?

I probably should have read some of my own books. In Why Cats Don’t Bark (Unleash Your PowerZone, Intuitive Intelligence: The Other IQ), I encourage people to trust their gut guidance to discover and manifest their core genius which is revealed between the ages of about three to seven. As a result of that book and another I had written, Winning! How Winners Think – What Champions Do, I discovered that all champions interviewed had a flash of their greatness at a young age. The reason Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, Jack Canfield, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jordan, and many others had achieved exceptional success was because they not only recognized opportunity but were determined to make a difference.