You are up. What are you going to do?
Life expects things of you. People expect things from you. YOU expect things from you. There are moments each and every day where the spotlight shines on you. Little windows open and then they shut. Windows of opportunity. It’s your moment. It’s your split second to make a decision. Everything = Opportunity.
What are you going to do?
Did you recognize that moment in the first place?
Did you take action?
I remember being at the supermarket during a busy holiday shopping rush.
All but a few lanes were full, there were a few dormant lanes that were not attended or lit up. I was stuck in the back of a line as each of the active lanes waited for 30+ minutes to get rung up. Everyone else, stuck in their lines, looked down at their phones.
As I was looking around, I saw a supermarket employee walk towards an unattended lane. I got the sense they were being sent to work the register to help alleviate the long backups. I took a risk and started pushing my cart to that register. The people in my line were thrilled that I was leaving, they thought I was crazy abandoning my position. Sure enough, the supermarket employee turned on the light above the empty cash register and yelled out “I can help the next person”.
I was already 90% there with speed and momentum built up. No one could get there before me. I glided my cart in with ease, smiled at the cashier, and was out of there in 3 minutes.
Did you catch that?
I could have stayed in my original line, it was safer.
I could have killed time by looking at my phone.
I could have assumed that everyone around me was doing the smart thing by staying put.
Instead, the window opened, I saw it, I took action. I gave up my safe position in favor of a new opportunity. We have to condition ourselves to look out for these opportunities every day.
There was another time I was in NYC with a mentor friend of mine.
This guy is one of the smartest and most successful people I know. I loved being around him. I soaked everything he said and did up like a sponge. That night, I suggested we go to a very popular and busy restaurant for dinner that did not take reservations. Can you see where this is going?
We arrived to a 2-hour wait, jam packed with a sea of people clamoring for an empty seat or some miracle to occur. We started doing the math, looking out at the dining room, seeing what tables were finishing up, looking into the waiting area, and counting the number in each group that was waiting to sit.
The place was so busy, so crammed with people, the environment so chaotic. Noise levels were high. We were caught in the sea of people, trying to get to the host station, bumping shoulder to shoulder with guests to get in and out.
In a split second, both my friend and I noticed a few things happening.
- The host denied the last people in the waiting area: “the wait is 2 hours, would you like for me to put your name down on the list?”.
- The phone rang at the host station, this caused the host to stop the denial process, and pick up the phone.
- Discouraged by the wait, several people decided to leave, creating a progression in the queue.
- Four people just paid their tab and were leaving.
We noticed that the party of four was sitting at two 2-tops pushed together. Recalling that there was one other party of two in the waiting area, my friend looked at me in silence, turned his shoulders as if to create an easier path for me, and gestured his open palm towards the host station. I knew exactly what he was saying.
I made my way to the host, timing my arrival with the termination of his phone call, and said to him:
“We’re a party of four, we are ready to sit now.”
“I had you down as two.”, he said, “I have a four top that just opened but I can’t sit two at a four top…”
“No, we are four, not two.”
The host paused for a moment before saying, “Ok, get your party and follow me.”
I went and grabbed my friend along with the other party of two that I noticed was waiting for a table. They were total strangers. I looked at them and said, “If you want to sit, follow me”. The four of us went over to the table, sat down, and then separated the two 2 tops by a couple of feet and…
Each of us was seated with our parties and embarking on our meal, at separate 2-tops.
Want a seat at the table? You first have to recognize that the table exists.
And no, I’m no longer talking about the restaurant now.
In business, we sometimes think that, in order to be successful, it’s enough to just show up, do the job, and go home. But whenever we show up to work or when we start a business of our own, THAT is an opportunity to go above and beyond.
With everything you do, go the extra mile with it. Think about all of the times you were pleased by a business recently. Making a travel reservation, ordering food, purchasing a gift. It’s likely that someone on the delivery side of the equation went the extra mile.
Need to get a $60,000 guitar into NYC so that you don’t lose the sale?
Send it in a $500 limo with a bottle of Dom and a handwritten card.
You want to sell a $20,000 Rolex and a customer comes in wanting to see a $50 swiss army knife? Drop everything and focus on the swiss army knife, get it engraved, drive it to their home to complete the impossible on-time delivery. You’ve just invested in a customer for life that may be interested in that Rolex or know someone who is.
You have to add value to every moment, every step of your day, every day of your life. Everyone else is doing things regularly. You have the OPPORTUNITY to do things extraordinarily. Develop this mindset early on and have it set into your DNA so that it happens without you even having to think about it.
There are these moments that occur every day in our lives like the ones I just mentioned.
They could be supermarket moments, restaurant moments, relationship moments, or business moments. Everything is an Opportunity. It’s our job to identify these moments and seize them. What opportunities are waiting for you today?
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