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Opportunity is a two-way street

OK, let me be more specific – What I mean to say is that every opportunity better be a two-way street unless the opportunity has a charitable tone to it.

When you are an opportunity for someone else, you typically do something that will move the other person from “where they are” to “where they want to be.” You bring a new possibility that didn’t exist for them before. Their journey will be easier, they might go farther than where they planned to go because you are there.

In other words, you will have to use your “capacity” (time, energy, mindshare and/or money) to increase the “capacity” of the other person.

This is where you need to realize that NOT all opportunities are EQUAL.

First things first – At almost every opportunity, one thing is common – your investment. Without making an investment of your capacity, there is no simple way to increase the capacity of the other person.

But there are only a FEW opportunities where this investment of your capacity will also increase your own capacity in that particular domain. Those are the opportunities where you give and get – both at the same time. Most often, the “get” happens later – way later and usually manifests in increased capacity that will provide you indirect benefits. These are what I call two-way opportunities – opportunities for both parties involved to grow.

If an opportunity is not a two-way opportunity, it is usually an opportunity cost for you. Yes, you can’t avoid the opportunity costs sometime but by carefully designing what projects you will get involved in as a way of helping others, you can usually create win-win arrangements.

Think about all the projects where you are playing a helping hand. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What role are you playing in these projects?
  • Are these in the area of your strengths?
  • What is your contribution to the capacity of the project? [ BTW, if your contribution is not much, then none of these discussions matter]
  • What is your contribution to your own future capacity?

If you are not happy with your answers to the above questions, the opportunities you are engaging may not be two-way opportunities. Use this feedback to refine your choices for future projects.

If the opportunities you are pursuing are not automatically increasing your capacity to pursue even bigger and better opportunities, you might really be incurring an opportunity cost. Time to revisit your projects.

While you are busy in pursuit of one or more opportunities, don’t be so busy that you will miss that ONE important moment in every opportunity.

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