5 Questions to ask of any Opportunity

Opportunity knocks but doesn’t always answer to its name.
Mason Cooley

What can I learn from this opportunity?

Anytime an opportunity presents itself you should think about what things you could learn it. For instance, you may not be looking for a job but if someone asks you to apply, perhaps you should. I was recently traveling back from a speaking engagement and began to talk to the women next to me. We spoke about where we were both traveling to. She had a professional acquaintance strongly suggest she apply for a job. This was a great opportunity and she had the right outlook, “What do I have to lose and I think I will learn a lot from the process.”

Is this going to take me off course?

We have talked a few times before about how important it is to have goals and priorities outlined. When an opportunity presents itself look at it through the lens of these. If the opportunity is one that could help you achieve your goals then the answer is quite easy. If you are not sure, then perhaps ask the additional question about could it help you grow? Sometimes we think things are challenging that really can teach us a lot and help us grow.
Remember some of our failures can help us learn a great deal. If you make mistakes in judging an opportunity don’t be too harsh on yourself. Chances are you probably just learned a bit and furthered your education at the school of hard knocks. Just remember the next time a similar opportunity comes about you can make a better judgment then.

What is the best that can happen?

Generally, we all immediately assume the worse scenario, we also need to consider what are the upsides to any course of action. The question I have heard use is, “what does success look like?” Working with people in coaching and in business situations I find this question powerful. Everyone has a different idea of what success would look like. Some of us set the bar lower than others. Overall I find most of us need to raise our expectations of what is possible.

What is the worst that can happen?

Similar to the question before we often overdramatize the downside risk in our minds. Catastrophic failures are thought about more often than they actually take place. Our minds do a poor job of judging risk, the classic example is air flight. We can all recall a news story about an airline crash. When statistically air flight is the safest mode of travel. So next time an opportunity comes up think about the realistic worst case scenarios, not the Hollywood catastrophe.

Who can ask  for advice?

Having someone to ask for advice in any situation can be helpful. Who has done this before? Or maybe you need some professional advice to guide you. I know having friends that are an attorney and an accountant can be valuable. A few years ago I had some issues filing my taxes, my accountant friend was able to put to rest any concerns and offer help.

Of course, when I wanted to write a book having my good friend Tony, who owns a publishing company guide me through the process was critical. People are often more willing to help than we give them credit for. Many of us believe that we shouldn’t bother others with your hopes. How do you know to ask them for advice and I think you will get all the help you need.

What other questions do you ask?

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2 Responses to 5 Questions to ask of any Opportunity

  1. Joseph Lalonde August 16, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    Great thoughts on opportunity. I think another one we could add to the list is how will this impact my family? Being married, a lot of people forget to assess the cost of an opportunity to our family.

    • tom.henricksen@gmail.com August 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

      You are right Joseph, our family life has a big impact on all other aspects of our life. Thanks for commenting!

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