Look for the Opportunity

There are few things as invigorating to me than situations that force me to practice what I preach. Every now and again the great powers in the universe come together to remind me of just how valid my positions are by giving me a chance to put them into practice in my own life.

For those of you who are new to this site, my philosophy is simple. There is an opportunity in everything. I call it having an “opportunity outlook.” I start every day knowing that there is going to be an opportunity waiting for me that will improve my life.

That way, when I get out of bed in the morning with an “opportunity outlook” I am more likely to find the opportunity than the obstacle in each day.

I tell people this all the time in my presentations. I work with my clients to know how to recognize the opportunity that is being presented to them or how to reframe the obstacle into an opportunity. As a speaker I deliver that message every opportunity I have.

Recently I had the “opportunity” to put this into play in a big way.

I have been a speaker for years. I started when I was in college and there is no way to count all of the speeches I have given. There are groups everywhere that use speakers for meetings. There is always an opportunity for a lawyer to speak to a group whether it be twelve or two hundred.

It is just relatively recently that I joined the National Speakers Association and decided to turn my speaking skills into a profession other than law. Now when I speak to groups, I get paid. (I waive my fee for civic groups.)

When I was at the winter meeting of the National Speakers Association I struck up a conversation with a man who offered to be of some help in building my speaking business. He was a fledgling speaker himself. He has gone out on his own after working as an administrative assistant to one of the big names in the speaking business.

His job with this big shot was to work on getting him bookings. I mean this guy he worked for is big. He knocks down about $15,000-$25,000 per speech. Not bad, huh? He has a nationally recognized name, books on the New York Times Best seller list and is featured on various radio and television broadcasts.

My new friend, in an effort to help me get a few bookings, made contact with his old boss to ask a few questions. He was simply trying to get a few tips. I mean the credo of the National Speakers Association is that the pie (opportunity to speak) is very big and there is enough to go around for everybody.

Well, apparently the pie isn’t big enough for this guy to share! He reminded his former employee that he had signed various documents when he went to work that prohibited him from helping any other speakers after he left his employment. The big-time-speaker specifically directed him not to help me.

Okay, that is the back story. When I first heard the news I reacted the way most people would. I was mad. I went into what is called “Level 1, Victim mode.” But the whole point of what I speak about and coach about is being able to recognize when that is happening so a person can get out of that mindset and look for the opportunity.

What I had to do was practice what I preach. And I did. I immediately recognized that I was looking at this as an obstacle rather than an opportunity.

Once I was able to reframe the situation the opportunity in it became apparent. I sadly terminated my professional relationship with my new friend. We agreed that if he had given his word to this man not to help others, he was morally obligated to adhere to that. We would stay friends and encourage one another as we went on our journey. But, God forbid (or in this case a “godly” figure forbid), he helps anybody.

Then I looked for and found the opportunity that was there. It was not apparent until I started looking for it rather than focusing on the obstacle. And that is my lesson to you. The opportunity is frequently disguised as an obstacle. And you will find which ever one you are looking for.

This turn of events is one of the best things that has happened to me recently.

Contact me and I will help you turn your obstacle into an opportunity.