“Opportunity comes but once,” was a phrase I heard a lot when I was younger.
My parents told me. My teachers preached it. I heard it in church. I read it in books.
And it kind of built a fear in me that made me feel like if I miss out on something good once, I will never get it again.
Now I know I must have misunderstood the meaning or the people who said it didn’t explain it well to me.
When I first started freelancing, I got a lot of rejections. I still get them.
I also got job opportunities I didn’t handle well and I ended up losing.
For a long time, I beat myself up that since I lost those opportunities I will never get something that good or an opportunity like that again.
Well, that’s not true because now I’m thankful I lost those opportunities. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have gotten the better ones I have now.
This brings me to an understanding of what “opportunity comes but once” really means.
It means, “if you want an opportunity but you don’t prepare for the opportunity, when it finally comes, your lack of preparation will make you lose it and it will take a long time before you get another one or a better one.”
I hope you understand my explanation.
So, it’s not that the opportunity will never come again, it’s that it will take a long time for another opportunity to come and it might as well be that it never came.
But, another opportunity will surely come.
In this article, I will be talking about how to prepare yourself for an opportunity.
Many people have lost the opportunity they desperately wanted because they didn’t prepare for it.
And if you don’t prepare for the next one, you might still lose it or worse, not be able to keep it.
This is why preparation is important.
Before we go into how to prepare for an opportunity, let’s look at the common areas people expect opportunities.
Common areas of expected opportunity
- Business opportunity
- Career or Job opportunity
All the opportunities we will be talking about in this article are embedded in these two.
How Do You Prepare For an Opportunity?
Learn from missed opportunity
Many times we beat ourselves up for missing an opportunity because we were not prepared for it.
But we don’t realize that while wasting time on regrets, the next opportunity is on the way and if we are not careful, we will miss it.
So, instead of wasting time regretting past opportunities, why not use this time to learn about what you did wrong the last time and how you can do better.
There was an opportunity I got one time that I was not prepared for at all. I didn’t have half the skills that were required for me to do a good job.
So, I lost it.
One of the things that made me lose this opportunity was not just lack of skills but also my attitude to taking action.
I will explain.
Whenever I was told that I didn’t do well on a project and I needed to do better, I felt bad, weighed down, sad, and unenthusiastic.
Just one comment about a mistake I made would make me sad and cause me to berate myself and feel incompetent.
I didn’t know all I was supposed to do was work on the areas I was corrected and do better on the next project.
So I lost the opportunity.
After a long time, another opportunity came along.
When I started working with the client, my first design was bad because I didn’t thoroughly understand what the client wanted or what they preferred.
So, the client said they were unimpressed with my work.
Former me would go into depression and start beating myself up for not being good at anything, but new me did something different.
I realized the way I was feeling was similar to the way I felt with the past client, so instead of beating myself up (I actually did—but), I took action.
The client had informed me to stop designing for a while and that they would attend to the designs themselves until I could learn their design style—but I didn’t stop.
Because, what is the point of being hired when your client has to do the job themselves?
I saw the changes they made to the former design I did, then I implemented it in the next design.
I told the client to give me another chance and check out the design.
They did and liked it. The client then decided that I will keep doing the design and they’d review it.
Some weeks later, the client told me they were impressed with my work.
The same client who had been unimpressed became impressed.
And this was because I learned from my past mistakes.
Another thing to note is that some of the skills I had acquired (unknowingly) while working with my former client are now helping me stand out with my new clients now.
So, instead of beating yourself up about your missed opportunity, this is the time to turn it into a lesson that will prepare you for the next opportunity.
Be Intentional about the expected opportunity
When you’re expecting an opportunity, you must not act nonchalant or cold towards things concerning the opportunity.
Let the people in charge of the opportunity see how much you want it.
Do all it takes to show them you are the best fit for it.
Chances favors the prepared mindLouis Pasteur
There’s no such thing as luck, it’s preparation meets opportunity.
So, if you want that thing so bad, you must show it.
Show it in your emails, your social media, your daily routine, what you say to your friends, etc.
Let the opportunity know that you’re seeking it.
And when you do get it, don’t act like you don’t want it.
Especially in terms of career, employers or clients don’t want to work with someone who doesn’t like their job or someone who is not passionate about the job.
They need to see your enthusiasm and passion.
Let them see it. Let them know that you are the right fit for the opportunity.
Learn ahead of the questions (Stay Informed)
You don’t know how to write a business plan and you need an investor for your business, learn how to write one or get someone to write it for you.
Imagine meeting a prospective investor and you don’t have one of the most important business documents: Your business plan.
They will not even consider speaking with you.
If it’s a job interview, learn about the company, research, and know even the things you’re not expected to know.
Research intelligent questions and answers that will make you stand out.
And when they see how interested you are in their company, they will automatically see you as a strong candidate because they see your passion for their work.
If it’s an opportunity you’re seeking in your field, learn new things about it.
Don’t see yourself as a professional or a know-it-all.
Learn new trends about your field.
So that when you’re presented with an opportunity to show that you’re deserving of what you want, there will be no reason to disqualify you.
Take actions relating to the opportunity
What are you doing concerning the opportunity you desire?
Are you just sitting down and waiting for the opportunity to come one day?
That is not the attitude of an opportunity taker.
Start taking actions now. Start planning and foreseeing what you want.
Is it your dream to get enough money to move out of your parents house and live alone one day?
Don’t wait till you have all the money or don’t expect the money to come at once.
- Save up towards your goal.
- Plan what kind of home you want and how you want it to look.
- Check out pinterest boards for home decor ideas.
- Speak it into existence.
- Put it at the back of your mind that this is what you want and you will get it.
- Write out a budget of how much you need for the rent and how much you need to get furniture, groceries, and decorations in your home.
- Pray about it.
- And work towards it.
No matter what your goal may be, start taking action now. Take action now as if you have already gotten it.
Because if you don’t, when the opportunity comes, you might feel overwhelmed by how much you need to do and you might not be well coordinated by that time.
But now that you’re still expecting, take action.
Your mind is not in overdrive now, so use this opportunity of time to prepare yourself.
I added this because it’s a common phenomenon when preparing for opportunities; procrastination.
You keep telling yourself “The opportunity is not coming anytime soon, I can wait.”
“The opportunity is not here yet I don’t have to do so much.”
But Whitney M. Young, Jr. has something to say about that:
“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”
Start preparing now so that when the opportunity comes you will be the most suitable person for it.
Bring the opportunity to you
This is one of the greatest tips of all time. If you can, go and bring the opportunity to you.
How can you do this:
- Meet the prospective investor you want for your business.
- If a brand is not reaching out to you, reach out to them first.
- If you are not getting employed, create a job and employ people.
- If a company is not open for vacancy, write them a cold pitch.
- If no one knows about your skills, create a social media platform, a blog, or a website, and publish your skills there.
Build your portfolio
If you’re seeking a career opportunity, you must have a portfolio.
I’m sure you don’t expect clients and people who want to work with you to employ you just because you want it! No!
You need to convince them that you’re the right person for the job, and you can do this by building a portfolio.
Let me tell you something interesting.
All of the freelance gigs I’ve ever gotten and all the clients I’ve worked for, they all hired me after seeing my blog.
Whenever a client or prospective client asks me for writing samples, I send out one of my blog articles to them and if it fits what they want, they hire me.
The uninteresting part is that there was a time I had no portfolio and I lost a prospective client because I couldn’t show them a portfolio.
Now I do and you can check it out to create your own.
One thing I’ve learned about portfolios is that clients might not even check the articles there, they just want to know that you have one and that it looks professional.
Most clients just want to see your resume or one or two of your writing samples.
If you want a client to notice you, build a social media platform.
If you want to get a job, build a professional resume.
Whatever opportunity you need, you can get them by building a portfolio.
Especially if you’re a writer, designer, photographer, content creator, etc.
You need a portfolio.
If you also don’t have anything to add to your portfolio, it’s time to start volunteering, applying for internships, etc.
They might not pay as much or at all, but because you’re just starting out, it will be a great way to learn and also add to your portfolio.
After a while, you can then start applying for paid opportunities.
If you have a business and you need customers, it’s time to create a business social media account.
Provide value to your prospective customers in terms of information, education, and even entertainment.
And after doing that, watch people trust your expertise and patronize you.
Wait for the opportunity
I will tell you the truth as an avid opportunity seeker, you must learn how to wait.
Great and lasting opportunities don’t come easily.
You must wait for it.
And be patient while waiting.
Don’t be in a hurry to get the opportunity and end up missing the important things.
Wait patiently, because if you’re doing the right things, the opportunity will surely come.
And don’t just wait idly.
While waiting, prepare, work, take actions, be grateful, be expectant, and remain hopeful.
Opportunity comes many times but once in a season, this is why you must prepare yourself so that you won’t miss the opportunity for that season.
I hope the tips I shared above help you prepare for the opportunity on the way.
What to do when the opportunity comes
And when the opportunity comes, don’t sabotage yourself.
Waiting for an opportunity for a long time has a tendency to affect your mind.
You might feel like you don’t deserve the opportunity because you have received so many rejections.
Or you might feel like the opportunity might not last because you have lost many opportunities in the past. This can affect your attitude to the opportunity.
Don’t allow fear in your heart rather open your heart to receive the opportunity.
Do your best at it and have a mindset that you deserve it.
Remember how much work you put in and how much learning you did to get it and do your best at it.
If you utilize this opportunity well, this will prepare you for a better, bigger, and more deserving opportunity.
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