On Success – Recognize Your Opportunities

in success.

I’m currently reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success and decided it would be a good book from which to write a new series on success here at bizchickblogs. What I like most about the book – and I’m 60% through it in two days – is the focus on opportunities, whether hidden, recognized, or missing, that exist in all of our lives. The idea in Outliers is that success is not merely the result of a high IQ or extreme dedication. It’s also a result of circumstances – family upbringing, social status, heritage, location, cut off dates, time spent practicing, and even birth year.

Which brings us to the point of opportunities.

What opportunities existed for you to help you get where you are now? Your first thought may be, “none,” especially if you are at the bottom of a hole with a long way up. But if you’re reading this, you have access to the Internet, which is huge, despite the feeling that it is everywhere. What if you lived day in and day out with no Internet access? How would your life be different?


What if you went to a different elementary school, or, went to the same school but had a different teacher in 3rd grade? What if you skipped a grade, or were held back? What if your parents had more or less money? How would your life be different?

After you’ve spent some time looking back, focus on the present. That’s harder, but it’s just as important in identifying opportunities that exist – or that need to exist – in order for you to achieve success. For me, I am very fortunate to work for one of the best companies in the world, which happens to provide a $5,000 per year tuition reimbursement program. That’s a huge opportunity that not everyone has.

In order for me to get to where I want to be in my career, I’ll need management experience. I recognize that as a needed opportunity – I need the chance to manage a team. Once I am successful in managing a team, I can manage a department, then a division, then ultimately an entire organization.

Spend some time recognizing your opportunities or the opportunities you need in order to get to where you need to go. Pick up the book Outliers and come to terms with the reality that your sheer willpower will not get you to where you want to go, unless your willpower creates the opportunities you need to be successful. Ultimately you need opportunities to surface.

Once we’ve got opportunities mastered – the recognition of the ones we have, and the acknowledgment of the ones we still need – we can work on embracing and creating opportunities so that we can realize our dreams.

Image Credit: o5com

Daniel November 29, 2012 at 12:13 am

Do I know all about that “icky” feeling. Sales has never been my forte and I always felt sort of sleazy trying to make recommendations to customers. However, like the commenter before me.

Andrew November 27, 2012 at 8:37 am

I find that the Universe is always guiding me through life and always presenting new opportunities. You just gotta to follow your instinct and accept the gifts that the Universe gives to you!

Martin Withers November 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Hi Tia, I Love Your Blog. I Am Currently Reading A Book Called Think And Grow Rich? LOL It Is More Like Thinks And Grow Poor. I Wish You Well Regards, Martin.

Jonathan October 31, 2012 at 8:07 pm

They say luck is when preparation meets opportunity. So I appreciate your thoughts regarding recognizing opportunities. And I may modify the aforementioned sentiment, finding “luck” in regards to success comes down to strong preparation and recognizing opportunity. Thanks for the insights!

@Tia, do think your network plays a bigger role in recognizing or creating opportunity?

Shandi Tan October 31, 2012 at 2:16 am

I’m somehow reminded of this one video from Nike’s #Chance. In it, Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger beckons the hordes of football’s hopefuls:

“You’re here because you’re good. Don’t miss your chance because you don’t believe in yourself… Be ruthless, be brave, be ready. Seize your CHANCE!”

Where I’m from, it’s the longest long weekend of the year. It’s a great time to catch up on football, enjoy the sun and get some reading done. I’ll be sure to check The Outliers on Kindle. 🙂

As always, great post, Tia.

Tia Peterson November 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Thanks, Shandi!

Coversure October 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Recognose, or make your opportunities?
You mention tuition. One of the best ways of bettering yourself is to learn something new.
For many years I was working dead end jobs, and then I decided to learn from my previous experiences, and gain new knowledge too while I was at it, then put it to good use. It’s helped my to work my way up the career ladder, and now I have a decent job.

Tia Peterson October 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Tuition reimbursement is a great opportunity; I hope more and more people take advantage of it.

Opportunities – the “recognize” part means noticing that we each have opportunities we are working from every day. By taking notice of them, we learn to look for them and realize their importance. Making opportunities naturally comes after that!

Steve McComish October 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm

hi Tia, nice blog! I love Outliers too – some of the examples Gladwell uses – Bill Gates, The Beatles etc are cool. The environmental factors really come down to luck through – there isn’t a lot we can do about when in the school year we were born (for instance). The thing I took awe most was probably the 10,000 hour rule – that we have to practise any skill for that long until we become truly world class at it.
So be lucky, practice hard and be focused. And there’s no such thing as a self made man / woman – we all need a little help from our friends!

Tia Peterson October 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Agreed! None of us gets to where we are with just what we were born with, although that plays a huge part. The successful have that PLUS a bunch of other random (seemingly but not always truly random) things that create an environment where success can grow in their lives.

Thanks for your comment.

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