I opened my email the other day and I discovered that I been selected for what one might call the opportunity of a lifetime. Believe it not, even though I was born and raised here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, I appear to have a distant relative who is a Nigerian Prince, and this Prince wants me to have my portion of the family inheritance, and all I have to do is give him my bank account numbers, and my credit card numbers... I'm just assuming he wanted my Visa number so he can pay off my debts... anyone else ever get an opportunity of a lifetime like this? How could you? We can't all be related to a Nigerian Prince can we?
We spend a lot of time hoping and dreaming about once in a lifetime opportunities that will change our lives, but the real question is, what am I going to do with the opportunity when it comes? We like to imagine what our lives could be like after the opportunity, but have you thought about what your life will be like if you walk through that open door of opportunity?
Here is what the REAL LIFE Opportunity of a Lifetime List looks like... have you ever experienced one of these moments?
1) THE "IT'S NOT WHAT I THOUGHT" OPPORTUNITY
This is the number one opportunity that you are going to encounter in your life. You look at this opportunity that's in front of you and it's a door that has swung wide open in front of you. You have dreams in your heart, you have ideas, and you have visions of of what you've always wanted this to be and then this thing happens. This door is open and it's not what you thought. It doesn't look how you think you should look, it doesn't smell how you think it should smell, it doesn't act like you think it should act. Our tendency as human beings would be to just walk right by that door, to just keep on walking right past that wide open door.
But what you have to ask yourself is, is this my door? Is this my time? Is this my moment? Because if it is, it doesn't matter if it doesn't look right at light, sound right, behave right, smell right... it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is: is this my opportunity. If this is your opportunity you have to walk through that door. You have to walk through that door and understand that this isn't the only door of opportunity that is gonna come your way. This isn't your final destination, but this is a step.
A step closer to your goal, a step closer to your vision. I believe that there is a distinct possibility that this is the very thing that is required to refine you, to shape you, and to mould your heart. You are not a final product, the person you see in the mirror right now may not be ready to handle that big dream that you have in mind. This is the next step that is going to propel you forward into your destiny. Might sound cheesy, but it's only cheesy until it becomes a reality, then it's just... AWESOME.
2) THE "I'M NOT SURE IF NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME" OPPORTUNITY
Can I just tell you today that the opportunity of a lifetime has a lifetime. There is a window of opportunity. There is a time limit on this opportunity. No matter the timeline you place on it, or the plans that you have for it to take place, the clock is already ticking the very moment this opportunity presents itself. If you keep asking yourself is this the right time? Is this the right time? Is this the right time? I can guarantee you that by the time you're done asking yourself if this is the right time, the moment will have already slipped away. If you're always waiting for things to be perfect, if you're always waiting for things to be just right, if you're always waiting for the right income level, or the right number of kids, the right house, the right whatever... if you're always waiting for that thing to be perfect before you take the opportunity that is before you, than that opportunity is about to pass you by don't let the opportunity of a lifetime slip away because things aren't perfect.
3) THE "LET IT GO" OPPORTUNITY
I get it, breakups are hard to do. I mean, when we think of the opportunity of a lifetime we think of something that's positive or we think of something that's new, but what if your opportunity of a lifetime is breaking up with that bad idea or bad relationship or bad job? What if right now is a defining moment in your life? What if the thing that is gonna define you is whether or not you stay where you are right now? Sometimes you just gotta let it go.
I'm probably gonna place a clip of Frozen right here... and I know that you're gonna enjoy it, and probably love it. It's gonna be on repeat, and you're going to be singing it in your car and crying as you drive. But what you need to understand is that you've got to let it go!
Before every good idea comes a bad idea. In fact, many of them. I often think that the difference between the person who succeeds and the person is just survives is the ability of that individual to sort between the good ideas and the bad ideas, and their ability to make the most of their opportunity of a lifetime, and let it go.
4) THE "I'M ALL IN" OPPORTUNITY
Depending on your personality this is is either the most exciting or the most terrifying opportunity on the list. If you love the thrill of diving head first into whatever adventure is in front you, then this is the opportunity for you. But if you are more reserved, and you like having a plan, and a process, and you like to control every step along the way, then this opportunity of life time is a prime candidate to pass you by.
When we see this opportunity, as an adventure person, you almost always say yes right away. You've already got an inventory of everything in your mind that you could sell, and how much it would make you. You know the things that are important to you and the things that you are willing to give up, and you dive head first into this opportunity, because it requires everything. The moment this adventure is dangled in front of you, you can't help but seize it because it has even the faintest hint of adventure.
The struggle for you is going to be discerning when this is actually the right opportunity to sell everything and dive right in.
For the rest of us, this opportunity is terrifying. It may mean a move, a new job, or even no job. It may require us to take a leap of faith, or just because I love cliches, it may mean putting all of your eggs into one basket. The challenge for you when this opportunity arises is to fight the urge to say no immediately, and secondly, you need to fight the urge to control every step of this almost certainly uncontrollable journey.
No matter who you are, or how you are wired, this opportunity is going to cost you everything, but it could also change everything, and could launch you into the life and the dream that you've always imagined.
5) THE "TIME IS ALRIGHT" OPPORTUNITY
This is the most deceptive opportunity. The door that opens before you looks pretty good, and most things in your life are easily adaptable to make this opportunity work. The problem with this opportunity is that the pay off doesn't seem to be as big as you might like it to be. You can see why this opportunity might make sense, but at the same time, you perceive this to be a lateral move. This is still the opportunity of a lifetime, and just like earlier opportunities, it is this opportunity that re-positions you and puts you into alignment for the next opportunity which is just around the corner.
Much like the infamous 'trip of a lifetime' 'vacation of a lifetime' or 'forever home' - the opportunity of a lifetime is somewhat of a myth. It is a justification or rationalization that we use to help us make a decision. In reality, every opportunity is the opportunity of a lifetime because every decision you make and every opportunity you have is an opportunity for you to define your life.
At every decision point along the way it is important to weigh all the risks and all the rewards and understand that you are about to make an imprint on the timeline of your life. These choices are never easy and they almost always lead to some sort of risk being assumed on your part. Be sure to seek guidance from trusted advisors and to always pray about each step. Conversation with the Creator of the universe and the Architect of your soul will bring focus to you, because it is important to stay in alignment with the plans and purposes that Jesus has for your life. No matter how strange or uncertain they appear.
Carpe Diem - Seize The Day - Make the most out of every opportunity, understanding that each step you take is one step closer to reaching your goal, and fulfilling the dream that you have in your heart.
Brett Esslinger is a Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Pastor, Speaker, Leader, Writer whose life goal is to help people unlock their potential and fulfill their life's purpose.
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