Through The Lens of Opportunity

Friends,

You can fight the recession by looking through the lens of opportunity!

Over the last 4 days I conducted retreats through which people gave themselves the opportunity to step away from their work, home, and all the demands of everyday life to ask: Where do I really deeply want to be in five years, and how do I make this year the best I’ve ever had?* The comments of one woman broke open possibility for many of us. She seemed to have affixed an “opportunity lens” to her perspective, as she took in the great variety of goals on which people sought feedback.

For instance, one woman’s goal was to take her interior design business to the next level – to be featured in magazines and to secure work that was more comprehensive and allowed fuller creativity. We gave this woman many ideas about networks, marketing, and her work. The woman with the “opportunity lens” though caught all of our attention, as she said something to the effect of “if people can’t move, then help them improve?” Where others saw shuttered homes and frozen markets, she saw windows opening and light pouring in to existing home design possibilities.

A second person was discussing their spouse’s financial advising business. This person was evoking in all of us, the sense of how dark and gloomy it must be for someone in financial advising – what with their clients seeing portfolios shrinking, worrying about retirement, wondering what to do. You could almost hear us all thinking, “Gosh, that must be tough.” But then our woman with the opportunity lens turned us to opportunities in the crisis. She noted that the crisis offered a great time to educate people, to share information, and to be with clients during this crisis. People remember when you are candid and caring in their really hard times (and they also notice when you go dark, abandoning them during a scary time). The woman with the opportunity lens also pointed out that this was a great time for outreach. People are frustrated with their advisors, so this may be a great time for that person’s spouse to reach out and educate people about the current climate, risks and options. Who knows what investors might not be very ready to make a switch.

What was striking to me was that though we all were generating ideas and good ones, her application of the opportunity lens was consistent and it was illuminating. How many people – out of your groups of six or seven or eight – are consistently asking, “Where’s the opportunity here?” I suspect it’s not half, and I’d say, “Now, there’s an opportunity…for you to

Lead with your best self!

Dan

* I have led 7

Friends,

You can fight the recession by looking through the lens of opportunity!

Over the last 4 days I conducted retreats through which people gave themselves the opportunity to step away from their work, home, and all the demands of everyday life to ask: Where do I really deeply want to be in five years, and how do I make this year the best I’ve ever had?* The comments of one woman broke open possibility for many of us. She seemed to have affixed an “opportunity lens” to her perspective, as she took in the great variety of goals on which people sought feedback.

For instance, one woman’s goal was to take her interior design business to the next level – to be featured in magazines and to secure work that was more comprehensive and allowed fuller creativity. We gave this woman many ideas about networks, marketing, and her work. The woman with the “opportunity lens” though caught all of our attention, as she said something to the effect of “if people can’t move, then help them improve?” Where others saw shuttered homes and frozen markets, she saw windows opening and light pouring in to existing home design possibilities.

A second person was discussing their spouse’s financial advising business. This person was evoking in all of us, the sense of how dark and gloomy it must be for someone in financial advising – what with their clients seeing portfolios shrinking, worrying about retirement, wondering what to do. You could almost hear us all thinking, “Gosh, that must be tough.” But then our woman with the opportunity lens turned us to opportunities in the crisis. She noted that the crisis offered a great time to educate people, to share information, and to be with clients during this crisis. People remember when you are candid and caring in their really hard times (and they also notice when you go dark, abandoning them during a scary time). The woman with the opportunity lens also pointed out that this was a great time for outreach. People are frustrated with their advisors, so this may be a great time for that person’s spouse to reach out and educate people about the current climate, risks and options. Who knows what investors might not be very ready to make a switch.

What was striking to me was that though we all were generating ideas and good ones, her application of the opportunity lens was consistent and it was illuminating. How many people – out of your groups of six or seven or eight – are consistently asking, “Where’s the opportunity here? I suspect it’s not half, and I’d say, “Now, there’s an opportunity…for you to

Lead with your best self!

Dan

* I have led 70-some people through these retreats in the last 15 months, and universally they’ve said, “I have never given myself such a great opportunity to focus on where I’m going.” They’ve come away aligned and excited. I’d encourage you to watch for future retreats to see what they’re talking about.

 

7 responses to “Through The Lens of Opportunity

  1. One of my favorite expressions, which I have borrowed from a forward-looking friend (and I do not know if it was original with her) is, “We are continually confronted with wonderful opportunities that are cleverly disguised as insolvable problems.” She has made me look for the positive in the otherwise negative. Lead on.

  2. After working for a lot of years to extoll Spring travel and tourism IN MICHIGAN, rather than the mass exodus of travel dollars South on Spring Break, the current economy might provide the impetus to “make it happen”. While many are sitting at home agonizing because they can’t afford that junket to Florida, Carolinas, Mexico, etc. this Spring, we should be letting them know they are in for a huge treat. Spring is an exciting, exhilirating season to explore what we have surrounding us. I GUARANTEE the pace and lack of stress, the weather, the vast savings, coupled with the historical, cultural and recreational venues & options available everywhere, will result in many new fans that will forget about that “trip South” in the future. If you like the crowds take in one of the many Festivals & Events throughout Michigan in the Spring. If you are a”foodie”, you’ll love the Chef’s Challenge event in late April (www.chefs-challenge.com). So much to see and do, you’ll wish Spring never ended. And remember, “There’s No Bad Weather, Just Bad Clothes”. Your vacation isn’t dependant on the weather, it’s all perfect if you’re prepared – just bring along a couple t-shirts & a sweater, shorts & some khakis, sun glasses and a rain slick and extra socks – – you’re ready for anything.
    Everyone can afford a couple tanks of gas to explore, and the deep discounts everywhere make Spring in Michigan something we can all look forward to.

  3. Dan,

    It is my deepest wish that folks who look through the lens of opportunity aim that lens at Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Born in Detroit, I have lived up here since 1967 — a long love story with a place that still echoes in many ways what the world was like when it was new and unspoiled. Age 59 and once again out of work due to economics, I still have hope that the secret treasures of Michigan and especially the U.P. will be discovered. In that vein, I offer the following, which streamed from my virtual pen this morning as part of my daily exercises in keeping a positive attitude.

    You want bright blue waters to see –
    Clean beaches to run safe and free?
    You want a place your kids can thrive –
    To celebrate that you’re alive?
    You want great country, sweet and green –
    With vistas like you’ve never seen?
    You want vast forests, strong and tall –
    With resources enough for all?
    You want great people, friendly, fair –
    And oceans of clean sparkling air?
    Don’t say you can’t find these things, man –
    Say, “Yes I can…in Michigan!”

    And please, don’t stop with just the mitt –
    Don’t think that’s the extent of it.
    Look up to find the things I saw –
    Beyond the straits of Mackinaw.
    Beyond the Mighty Mac you’ll find
    A treasure of the richest kind:
    Untapped riches wait your sight –
    Often dressed in winter white,
    Or in summer’s velvet green,
    With deepest blue you’ve ever seen!
    The friendly folk who fill that place,
    Are blessed with heart and health and grace.
    Come find these things, you know you can…
    Come UP to Upper Michigan!

    Mick McKellar
    February 2009

  4. Dan, Your retreats sounded stimulating.

    For some life is an opportunity that is a result of overcoming obstacles that gives them strength to deftly focus on creating a disciplined approach to establish objectives. In dealing with difficult and negative changes at work, home, social, or political environment, a leader in the world of today has few options but to draw on the experiences he or she encountered in challenging situations and search for opportunities that minimize unintended consequences of change for the leader and the group. A person who focuses on opportunity in a positive and unselfish manner suggests a leader who is not only proactive and structured but also a visionary who is flexible enough to react to unexpected circumstances.

  5. I liked this response to Dan’s blog entity. However, it is easy to look at opportunity in light of the outrageous amount of money that is about to be wasted on special interest capital ‘investments’ that the USSA government is about to embark on. The pork in the ‘stimulus’ package is equal to the egregiousness of Bush and Cheney with their privision of giving the keys to the treasury vault to their cronies at Halliburton and all the others who feed from the trough of war munitions funding (Don’t forget about the energy corps also, as they are included in the money grab). The only aspect of “change” that was Obama’s theme is that the power to provide the same old ways of special interest fed greed has been provided to the Democrat Party. It will be interesting to see how quickly, with bloated pay scales created from this ‘freebie’ funding, the ‘stimulus’ gets used up and nothing to show for it relative to stabilizing Main Street America……leaving a few with ties to the Democratic Party lining their pockets similar to how Wall Street was rewarded for failure by both the Republicans and Democrats.

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