Okay But How Often Does Opportunity Really Knock? (And Am I Screwed If I Miss It?)

I don’t know about you, but it feels like the older I get, the more I’m realizing I have to call into question beliefs I’ve held about…. Well, everything.

Last week I was challenged to reshape my idea of Opportunity. Tickets to go to an AMAZING live interview between Issa Rae and Diddy opened up (A Sip with Issa Rae, to be specific), and I did that thing where you hesitate about something you really want because you’re trying to do what’s “responsible”. To be fair, I had about three farthings and a can of black beans left to my name, so it really probably would have made for a poor financial decision, but the opportunity — to be in the same room as two of my favorite celebrities, to hear wisdom from one of the most successful moguls ever, to be able to connect with like-minded people also super excited to occupy the space — the opportunity presented a leveling weight.

Long story short, I hemmed and hawed long enough to find that when I finally decided to roll the dice and go, the tickets had been sold out. I was devastated. “What a missed opportunity!” I lamented. “Perhaps one of the biggest I’ll ever get!” (Untrue, but I was really getting into the hysterics.) “A chance like that only comes maybe a few times in a lifetime!” (Issa has literally been hosting an interview every month for at least the last year) “How could you be so stupid?!” (Just flat out rude.) It was rough. And surprising. I started to doubt my ability to start a business because “I lack vision to see opportunity anywhere” — me @ me; which again, by the very nature of me having started a business has been proven untrue. But I was in it.

As I sank deeper, I started to doubt my doubts. What do I think opportunity is? How do I think opportunity shows up and functions? Turns out my idea of opportunity looked a lot like a mischievous and flighty cross between Mr. Monopoly and Mr. Peanut. Some old, but surprisingly spry 19th century fellow who knocked at your door with the frequency of Halley’s Comet, and if you weren’t there or quick enough to answer, he was gone in a flash and you were left desolate, doomed to remain in your luckless circumstance.

There are myriad answers as to how and from whence that idea was constructed, but the point is that I (thankfully) began to notice that my own lived journey did not support it. What I have lived is that opportunity is everywhere. Big ones, small ones. Ones that look big that don’t seem to have lasting effect. Ones that look small that end up opening way bigger doors. Not only is opportunity all around, but we also create our own opportunity. We make connections, we find in-roads, we open ourselves up to possibilities, and all of that breeds opportunities in multiplicitous fashion.

The “Opportunity Only Knocks Once” model is cute if you want to make everyone else feel badly about themselves, but it doesn’t super hold up. I say look at your lived experience, what has it taught you about opportunity? What have the “missed opportunities” shown you, as well as the ones you were ready to jump at? And how can we take that into this week, continually keeping our eyes open for the ways the Universe seeks to unfold to us?