When opportunity knocks

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Sally Kelly-Rank
  • Commander, 97th Medical Support Squadron
How many times have you answered the phone and someone on the other end has said, "Hey, have I got an opportunity for you?" It happened to me the other day when the Air Force Personnel Center called and had an opportunity for one of my lieutenants. The question that came to my mind was, "How the lieutenant would react to the news; would he take the opportunity?"

There are many defining moments in life. These are moments where you have a choice with only seconds to act before the opportunity is lost. It can be putting your hand up when the boss asks for a volunteer, signing up for that college course or accepting the assignment that has just been pushed your way. Whatever the opportunity, these moments pass quickly.

What is it that keeps people from jumping at opportunities? Opportunities can be anywhere at any time and come in all forms and yet so few people take them. Not everyone is able to recognize an opportunity because most do not come clearly defined. All too often we do not seek out opportunities simply because we are afraid of failure. After all, the decision to move forward and to welcome new opportunities takes courage and it can have a huge impact on the rest of your life. And yet, having opportunities alone is not useful. You have to be able to grab opportunities and make the best of them and it's not always easy to know how to do that.

So how can you prepare yourself when opportunity knocks? Begin by having a great mentor; someone who can provide you direction and to bounce ideas off of. You can't grab every opportunity that comes your way. There may be a time when an opportunity presents itself and looks very appealing but shouldn't be taken. You have to understand what the costs, risks, and rewards are before you do anything and then determine if you can live with your decision. Also, keep an open mind. Just because something doesn't seem like a great opportunity doesn't mean that it isn't. The greatest opportunities come from the most unlikely sources and often, those opportunities are disguised in the form of hardship. By keeping an open mind you will be able to objectively decide which opportunities to take and which ones not to.

What is the cost of a missed opportunity? It's impossible to know at the time the opportunity is missed. Although daunting, seizing life's opportunities can be rewarding. Whether the opportunity turns out well or not, it's an experience and all experiences are valuable. No matter who you are or what you do, life brings opportunities - the key to living a rich life is to take advantage of them. Learn how to recognize these chances and utilize them to the fullest. Look past the challenges; stop waiting for the perfect day. Success comes from hard work and determination. So the next time an opportunity comes along, take action and "seize the moment," because you'll never know where you may end up.