Lost in Opportunity
What did you do the last time you made a wrong turn?
Are you afraid of the unknown?
What can you learn by traveling the new path?
Lost in Opportunity
Allan Smith, M.A., Certified Coach
One of my coaching tag lines is “Where are you growing?” which is of course a play on where are you going? To illustrate a point and extend the metaphor, last week I was driving in a somewhat unfamiliar part of the city, and I needed to turn right, although I was in the center lane at a stoplight. What were my options? I could have driven straight ahead and gone around the block or looked for a place to turn around, return to the intersection from the other side and turn left. Calculating the time that would take, I looked into my rear view mirror, saw there was no one behind me, the right lane was empty, and there were no cars approaching. So, I backed up, and then slid into the right lane. An observant traffic cop was not amused. Apparently, I had violated two laws, but he graciously wrote me only one ticket. This is the price I paid for impatience, or what could have been fear of going down the road unknown.
There is another price. What was down the road I did not take because it was inconvenient? Might I have found a quaint ethnic restaurant, a branch of my bank to make the deposit I’ve been carrying around for two days, a gas station that is 3 cents cheaper per gallon? Missing a turn on the road or in life is inevitable, but should not cause panic because the truth is that we have countless options; we are not limited to going in only one direction, or in the straightest path. A wrong turn may lead us to find a new way that we have never considered, in other words, Lost in Opportunity.
People tell me they are afraid of driving to a location with which they are unfamiliar. I don’t get that. I enjoy seeing new things, discovering new places that I wouldn’t have known had I not been given the opportunity to go someplace different or gotten lost.
And what is lost, anyway? One of my favorite historical figures, Daniel Boone, who spent years blazing trails, once said, “I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”
In that state of not-lost acceptance we are alert and open to seeing new things and learning new ways. If we are all hung up with fear about being “lost,” we cannot be there for those new experiences—we are too filled with anxiety to enjoy them.
Fear holds us back—fear limits our possibilities. Fear blinds us from seeing the options that are in front of us. Fear keeps us lost in our minds, rather than Lost in Opportunity.
Facing ones’ fears and limiting the power of fear over us enables us to let go, to explore, to become okay amidst the discomfort of the unknown. What risks do you take in your career, in your personal relationships, in your business?
Studies show that successful entrepreneurs are moderate risk-takers—not wild and brazen jump-with-your-eyes-closed type of people—but people who know they have at least an even chance of succeeding as failing. They go forward with the confidence that they can make success happen.
What will you do the next time life takes you down an unfamiliar road? Will you panic out of fear of being lost? Or will you open your senses, welcome new experiences, see what you can learn about yourself and the world by being Lost in Opportunity.