Like Every Wise Boy Scout: Be Prepared for Opportunity

In this minute, if you were given the opportunity you had always dreamt of, would you be ready to accept it?

I’ve asked myself this question many times since the new year. Before May, my answer was an undeniable, regrettable NO. The no applied to many areas in my life, not just writing.

Ready means I’m able to accept that opportunity at the moment I’m offered it, or, given one hour, I’d be ready to accept it.

Bryan Adams, Diane Tibert
My first concert of the year was amazing, and I got to meet Bryan Adams.

Some opportunities don’t give five minutes let alone an hour to prepare; it’s now or never. Kinda like when we were checking out of our hotel one cold January morning and I looked over and saw one of my favourite singers. While I wished I had time to fix my hair and remove my winter jacket, I had none. If I wanted to say hello, it was now or never.

There have been times in my life when I passed on the opportunity to say hello. I’ve avoided friends, neighbours, local celebrities and stars I admired because I was ill prepared. This may have been because I didn’t know what to say, I had no confidence, I was too self-aware, I was dirty or wearing old holey clothes from working in the yard or in the barn.

Being prepared for spur-of-the-moment opportunities is more difficult than one you get a little time to prepare for, but I’m getting better at it. If I wasn’t looking for opportunity, I wouldn’t care, and when I see people in pubic wearing their pajamas, I think, they don’t care and they’re not looking. They’re satisfied with the level they’ve reached.

As someone who is looking for opportunity over every rise, I strive to be presentable while in public.

The opportunities I’ve been forced to decline that hurt the most are ones I could have been ready for if I’d been focussed and had a plan. It would have taken months to get ready and by then, it’d be too late. These were big opportunities, once in a life time ones. By saying no, I have no idea how many doors I closed on future opportunities. One opportunity often leads to another, so missing one means countless others might also be missed.

Since learning about Cape Split a decade ago, I’ve wanted to hike it. One reason after another made me unable to do so. Some of them were good reasons. However, the past three years, when I had the opportunity to hike with a group to the Cape and back, I couldn’t. Why? I wasn’t in good enough shape, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I quietly allowed the opportunity to pass, grumbling to myself every time I heard mention of the place.

Me at Cape Split

This year, after miles and miles of walking, I was prepared for the opportunity, and when it came…

When I think of future opportunities, I think of seller markets, book shows, events such as HalCon, interviews, bumping into a fan who wants to take a selfie with me and (gasp) someone wanting to turn my book into a movie.

Am I ready? I wasn’t in January, but I can say yes to almost all these opportunities now. I might still be scrambling to get things in order, but it would be doable.

Cape Split

If your dreams were answered today, would you be ready to accept them? This applies to everything in life: writing, relationships, careers. Do you have that book written?  Is your body in the shape you’d like it to be in? Do you have the skills a potential employer is looking for?

As a writer, if you were asked to present your material in front of someone who wants to promote you or make your book into a movie, is your work ready?

If you are not prepared to see dreams transpire, get prepared. You don’t want to pass up an opportunity that might come just once in a life time.

I keep asking myself that question – am I ready for my dream opportunity – and it keeps me working towards the ultimate answer: YES!

This is the third of four posts on life and how my perspective of it has drastically changed the past three months. The transition started July 2018, but it has taken me until this spring to fully realise the path I travelled up until last July has changed. From the outside, I look the same (except I’ve lost over 35 pounds). The major changes have taken place inside. It’s like someone else’s brain fell into my head, and it’s looking around thinking, let’s renovate this life. There will be exceptions to how I think, but the exceptions don’t change the rule.

I’m writing these for two reasons: 1) to remind me of my journey and where I really want to go (out there, beyond where I’ve been); 2) to share my experience with the hope others will be inspired to change their perspective, so they can live a better life. My journey has been helped by those who put into words a better way to live. I hope I can do the same in some small way.

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