AXELOS ProPath, the world's most powerful project, programme and portfolio best practice certifications

When opportunity knocks

Michelle LaBrosse
January 15, 2015

“Knock, knock!”
“Who’s there?”
“Opportunity who?”
“Does it matter? Just open up!”

Sometimes you have to be completely silent in order to hear it. Turn off the news reporting the disaster of the moment, quiet your mind from the everyday worries and problems, tune out the negative comments of coworkers and friends, and just listen. Do you hear the soft knocking? Open up, opportunity has something to show you.

Many times we can race through our lives, thinking that opportunity will smack us in the face when the time is right. We live in a time of LOUDness: loud music, loud cars, loud neighbours. Sometimes opportunity doesn’t knock loudly though, and there is no smack in the face. Rather it whispers, alludes, or insinuates. It lightly knocks, instead of banging down your door. If you are too busy caught up in the chaos of life, you can miss it in a beat.

Learn to recognise opportunity. In order to seize opportunity, you must first recognise it. That is difficult if you are looking for opportunity in only one shape or form. Let’s say that you are trying to increase your salary, and are frustrated that the fruits of your efforts have not resulted in any extra moola. Instead of being aggravated, take a step back to see what other opportunities are available to you.

Perhaps your company has professional development money sitting idle that could be used to enhance your skills sets, thus resulting in an increased salary. Alternately, if you aren’t receiving the compensation that you desire at your current organisation, look into another company for a more appetising offer: you can always
take that offer or renegotiate your current situation using that offer.

If you need an increased salary to buy a service, considering bartering your skills in order to receive that service, for example “I’ll help you manage your project if you give me guitar lessons.”

Manage fear, don’t let fear manage you. The universe is oozing with opportunities of every shape and form every day! What blinds us to many of these is fear. Fear of change, fear of failing, and even fear of success. It can be hard to not be afraid in a world that feeds on fear stories.

Just turn on the news, and you might immediately be afraid to even leave your house. The reality is, we don’t have control over what happens “out there”, we can only control how we react to it. When others are focused on negativity, find the positive aspects in any situation. When you choose freedom over fear, every time, you will open yourself up to opportunities.

Make it happen! When one door closes, find a window. Humans are more resourceful than we give ourselves credit for. What would have happened if when first tried to light a fire and realised that rubbing two rocks together did not work, we just gave up? The world would be a very different place.

Find your two sticks that you need to make your opportunity fire roar, and be open to the form that this opportunity comes in. When one opportunity doesn’t provide the outcome that you desire, try and try again.

Utilise your resources. What resources are available to you? When I ask this question, don’t immediately look into your bank account to see what funds you have. Think outside the monetary box. To really benefit from the resources available to you, be aware of all your sources of capital, which include: social (your relationships), brand (your reputation and credentials), knowledge (skills, talents, and experiences), and infrastructure (assets you have to help you achieve your goals).

By quietly listening for the opportunities in your life, and learning to recognise them in all their different forms, you can find plenty of avenues for self-improvement. Once you’ve found one, don’t be afraid to go for it! Manage your fear to open your mind. Use all five of your sources of capital, be resourceful and apply good project management skills and you can build any life you can dream.

Michelle LaBrosse
Michelle LaBrosse (PMP) is one of the Project Management Institute's (PMI) 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World and the founder of Cheetah Learning, a former PMI Professional Development Provider of the Year. She boasts a background in engineering and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Managers (OPM) program, as well as a prolific writer and educator, having authored Cheetah Negotiations, Cheetah Project Management, Cheetah Know How and Cheetah Exam Prep as well as numerous articles in publications worldwide.
Read more