In times of challenge or change, when a way forward is not appearing or an environment is unpredictable, success depends less on the particular path you chose and more about reframing the landscape. Choosing to see opportunity is about developing a mindset where possibilities are always within your reach.
Your attitude is the lens you view from and acts as a focal point which excludes or collapses anything it is not looking for. In other words, it brings into focus only that which it is looking for. Your frame of mind determines your ability to see opportunity. Having an attitude to look for the opportunities hidden in a problem or crisis makes it possible to find the inspired action or solution. It’s about flicking the switch from reactivity to receptivity.
Being receptive to what could be positive or advantageous about the challenge or change that may not be visible yet. Consciously generating inspiration to look for the ‘advantage’ point in dealings with internal and external stakeholders also means you influence positive outcomes and sustainability. These dealings or situations managed in a way that build a framework in which you create growth and are also able to gain a competitive advantage.
You may not be able to resolve a situation immediately or develop new skills by osmosis but every day contains within it countless opportunities, all dictated by the choices you make. Some of those choices may seem inconsequential when you face them. They may be the habitual things you deal with and respond to in a similar way each time. It is easier to stay in your comfort zone and not break the habit of response. Why not stretch yourself, put on a new lens and consciously look for ways to do something better? Look for possibility and opportunity. Start generating evidence with minor changes in life and or business. See what is available to you from this mindset. Making these minor changes and realising what opportunities can come from these, sets the stage for major fulfilment. Sometimes even the smallest shift in thinking or doing can create the biggest opportunity.
The more we are able to embrace an opportunity mindset, the more we can create in our lives.
Each challenge or problem comes with its own solution. It is a two-sided coin. The problem and solution actually arrive together. The uncovering of the solution is the mindset of opportunity. The mind looks for what it knows or has experienced to date or how you are directing it to perceive the situation. A mindset trained to see only the limitation cannot harness the solution or take advantage of the opportunity on the flip side of the coin. In effect, there is a blocking of the ability to create new thoughts that can lead you to inspired action, expansion and sustainability.
An opportunity mindset creates a ‘new thought’ wisdom.
Choosing to adopt an opportunity mindset is about letting go of rigid or entrenched views, attitudes, and beliefs over time. It’s hard to focus the lens on advantage and opportunity consistently. Your mind will lock onto ideas in answer to challenges by default but will not necessarily let in the ‘aha’ moment or epiphany that is powerful in shaping a new trajectory. An experience that reorients in ways you didn’t see coming. Epiphanies differ from ideas and are an emotional experience, which does not occur every day. We constantly play around with ideas in our heads, but the rate at which those moments produce an epiphany which leads to opportunity is rare.
We can create more opportunity if we are willing and open to the prospect of change and growth. Opportunities present or reveal themselves when we are ready for them. We’re often resistant to a solution because it could change our lives or our place within an organisation. Breaking through a barrier is sometimes about psychological readiness for the solution or opportunity to emerge. If we are not ready for the consequences, we might have mental resistance that hinders problem solving and opportunity.
It is important to be fully in the moment and more mindful about what is happening around you. Paying attention, tuning into and offering no resistance to what is occurring that poses as a problem. Being cognitive and fully aware is powerful because this provides a different window into problem-solving. You are not operating from a ‘fight or flight’ survival response, instead, you are switching on the ‘relaxation’ thrive response. One responds to the perceived threat through resistance, the other through presence and allowance.
The fight or flight response is controlled by a part of our nervous system called the ‘sympathetic nervous system’. Once a threat has passed, and the body begins to relax, another response, opposite to the fight or flight response kicks in. This is called the ‘relaxation response’ and it is governed by a completely separate system called the ‘parasympathetic nervous system’. The important thing to understand about these two systems is that they cannot operate simultaneously. They are like two elevator operators, one that only knows how to go up, and one that only knows how to go down. Your body is the elevator and only one operator is working at any given time. The relaxation response supports you to change your perceptual lens or flips the coin to reveal the solution or opportunity. Both sides of the coin or systems are inherent but not available at the same time. Our mental dialogue about what is occurring determines what we make available to us.
Solving a problem is not based on how hard it is or how well we are trained or how much we know about the problem. So much can open up for us to be able to access our true capabilities and tap into our innate resources when we change our mindset.
We need only invest the time to soothe our nervous system and activate our relaxation response. This clears the mind, in readiness for the introspection that invites new perspectives to emerge. Asking different questions and allowing in the answers you need that lead to new possibilities. To develop an opportunity mind set we need to stop thinking and acting by the old rules and start thinking from a new perspective. It is a discipline that can lead you to completely new territory.
- Take 5 minutes each day to reflect on what has gone well and what can be improved upon
- If there is a problem area ask; What could have prevented the situation from arising in the first place or what opportunity it might present now?
- Think about what may be holding you back; Where are the tensions? What are you resisting?
- Searching for opportunities allows you to understand more deeply what is really going on. This deeper understanding will be useful no matter what direction you choose.
- Challenge your beliefs about what you can and can’t do. Maybe you are able to!
- Reframe failure as a learning opportunity. Failure is an amazing learning opportunity. If you find yourself succeeding frequently, it may be a sign that you aren’t challenging yourself enough.
- Challenge your ideas about how things should work. Sometimes when you decide how things should be you limit your ability to be effective in the world as it actually is.
- Vision as a practice. Write in a journal, create, sketch it out and creatively explore what excites you most.
- Look for opportunities in a challenging situation. Avoid a victim mentality, put yourself back in control position.
- Turn your focus from something don’t want to something you do This allows you to shift your energy from complaining to taking action.
- Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Positive energy creates positive results.
- Commit to something you always say you’ll doubt fail to star and then take the first step.
- Trust your instincts by knowing that not all decisions are based on data and what is currently available in each situation.
“To get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” ~Unknown