When opportunity knocks, are you there to open the door

When I was in the military, people used to complain that the people getting recognized all the time were always in the right place at the right time. Sometimes this is true, and luck takes hold, but I have found that in many cases you make your own luck.

Being in the right place at the right time doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to respond or that you’ll even recognize what’s going on.

I think that sometimes it’s simply about being in the right place all the time and when the right time comes along, you’re ready.

How prepared are you for opportunity?

I guess that would depend on what you saw as an opportunity…I’ll bet that your opportunity is different from mine.

Here’s a rather fantastical example of what I’m talking about.

An extremely rich man is choking in an extremely expensive restaurant. Some run-of-the-mill guy jumps in and uses his CPR training and saves the rich man’s life. In reward, the rich man gives his savior a million dollars.

You might say, right place, right time; what a lucky guy. Right?

Well, first off, he was at the restaurant. If you sit at home watching TV all the time or playing computer games, this would probably never happen to you. Basically, stuff happens outside your house…if you aren’t even in the right place, it doesn’t matter the timing, does it?

Second, the man had CPR training. You might want to help, but without proper training that prepares you for this situation, you might be in the right place at the right time, but still watch as someone else trained saves the day and gets the million dollars. There you are, thinking, “What a lucky guy.”

I know my example is far fetched, but the lesson rings true. Do you put yourself in the right place for your opportunity to occur as often as possible? The right place might be coming in to work a little early and staying a little late in case someone needs your help on a special project–a project that might turn out to be key to the company and/or your career.

What about if you end up in the right place at the right time…are you prepared to deliver if needed? Do you just know your job, or have you expanded your skills to other non-specific job skills, like communication, software skills, etc.

It’s late in the afternoon, and most of the employees are out the door at the sound of the buzzer. The big boss comes down to the floor and is looking for someone to give a quick tour for a new director on the board. Are you there? Do you know the operation well enough to provide an impressive tour? Do you have the communication skills and experience to provide the tour with flare? What impression would you leave?

Think about the opportunities you think would be important in your personal and professional life. Ask yourself if you are putting yourself in the right place to make those happen? Ask yourself if you have the right skills to deliver at the right time, if you were in the right place?

Here’s a thought…

Does opportunity knock if no one is there to open the door?


About johnrknotts
John Knotts is a results-oriented business professional leader, manager, and supervisor with experience from the military, small business, several nonprofits, and is currently a management consultant. Working out of the San Antonio, Texas, he retired from the Air Force in July 2008 and worked with Booz Allen Hamilton from the end of October 2008 to December 2011. Now he is a Strategic Business Adviser with USAA. John leads large and small strategic transformations and has extensive experience in the areas of change management, strategic planning, process improvement, strategic communication and marketing, strategic human capital and resource management, education and training, facilitation, organizational design and development, modeling and simulation, financial and budget analysis, activity based costing and management, quality management, competitive sourcing and privatization, leadership development, and business development.

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