Post by Sharon
Life is complex and our part in that mortal play is dynamic. In fact, life doesn't happen until we do something. So, in our own way, we are improv actors acting and reacting every waking moment.
Opportunities come our way every day.
Sometimes they are simple ones like "would you like to come over and play poker tonight?" or very complex and difficult to decide like, "we would like to hire you to be a representative for our product and relocate you to Wichita."
It's funny how as we age, we tend to see opportunities as burdens. "Not another thing I must say `no' to!" We begin to read them as burdens, unwanted requests, deviations from our path.
The human mind likes to run on the subconscious so our routines get played out over and over each day. To most that is reassuring, no adapting necessary. But adaptation is actually what makes us grow and gain confidence.
Look at kids -
Kids welcome opportunities to be responsible, to make choices, to master skills, to gain more control over their world and confidence in their ability to do so.
We wouldn't have gotten anywhere if as kids we said, "No thank you, I don't wish to ride a bike ever."
But people have a tendency when given opportunities they tell themselves they don't want to fail.
If the kid didn't get on the bike and learn balance, have a few falls, learn to coordinate the pedaling, he wouldn't have ever learned to master a bike and then as he goes to learn to drive later on recalls that he mastered a bike quite well and will do so with the vehicle.
Fear of failure or looking stupid are not real excuses. They are socially acceptable explanations for saying "no."
Since I became single a decade ago, I was let loose on a world that I had almost no experience in. But, because I did everything with great enthusiasm and focus, opportunities were presented to me. I was curious about my world and what was possible. What was I capable of? What was it like to try this new thing? Where might it take me?
At first, I had the usual pull-back maneuver. I was already taking on so much. Did I really need more stress?
Then, I recalled my daily mantra since I became single again - "I'm a Viking, I can do this!"
I learned to trade stocks, practiced it before I actually traded. I sent a book to a publisher and got an acceptance even after I had spent a decade getting rejections. I took on admin responsibilities on stock boards. I studied the oil and gas industry from my mentor who kept throwing opportunities at me like spitballs in a classroom.
And, I would say YES! And go forth with confidence because of the secret. What is the secret?
I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Even when opportunities didn't go where I wished, I learned much about my bravery, my competence to work a new task, my grace when it doesn't go my way, and ultimately an understanding why we were put here on Earth.
I made connections, I mastered skills, I got a broader knowledge of my world and my part in it.
We were put here to master, to be brave, to try new things, to adapt, to protect, to mentor, to feel all the range of human emotions, to soar in spite of broken wings.
Anyone who says it's too late in life to try new things, to take chances, to chase dreams, they are telling you to stay on autopilot.
Middle age is about awakening and moving from what we do for rote and actually blazing the trail to our chosen destiny.
Remember - we have nothing to lose at this point and everything to gain in the human experience here on Planet Earth.
Those who are scared of opportunities are generally folks who are perfectionists. They may say "no, I'm certainly not perfect!" They don't feel perfect, but they feel they must BE perfect and anything less is failure.
They don't want to look stupid, they don't want to lose, they don't want to feel the stress of the standards they set for an impossible goal - perfection. The goal of perfection is a way to keep your world small. So long as you think you must be rail thin, you don't go to the beach. Perfection is a way to keep you from experiencing life, even if that experience is how to have fun no matter what your body looks like!
If I expected to be perfect, I wouldn't do anything either!
How do you find opportunities if they aren't coming to you?
-Check Nextdoor.com site and see what your neighbors are up to - many report wanting to start card game groups, let everyone know about a food truck festival, are looking for a walking partner.
-Check Meetup.com for free groups in your area in things you're interested in like photography, travel, wine tasting, etc.
-Volunteer. It's a great way to not only gain new skills and friendships but connections that in some weird way of the universe opens new chances. I have a friend who did volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity and ran into a man working on a project with her who was a pilot. She was afraid of flying and he offered to help her through her fear and take her up.
-Utilize the online opportunities. Join a forum, a chatroom, admin a page. When you do this, you meet people and chances to try new things or learn new skills.
In general, opportunities come from showing skill sets that catch notice. Write a blog, publish a book, sell art at a community craft show, give a speech, mentor someone. Eventually, these connections lead to requests.
The more you reach, the more the universe reaches back!