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How to Prepare for Unexpected Opportunities
Do you dread the thought of being put on the spot without notice? Have you ever experienced being tongue tied or at a total loss for words in unexpected situations? Have you ever thought of all the things you could have or would have said after an opportunity passed or felt that what you did say probably sounded unintelligent or scattered to the listener? If so, I offer some suggestions on how to be ready for the unexpected.
I confess that I have not been at my best when placed in unfamiliar on the spot situations that require me to speak, especially about myself, and on at least two occasions experienced the 20-20 hindsight of what I should have said or did, as well as felt that what I did say was all over the place. Which is why after the last experience, I made a decision to define and practice my “30 second elevator speech” (verbally selling self, products and or services in 30 seconds- the time it takes to seize a networking opportunity in an elevator with the person getting off at the next floor), which brings me to my first suggestion:
1. Expect the unexpected! If you have an idea of what you want to do, or you are working towards doing it, or you are already doing it, examine and be clear about your motives (the why behind the what). When your what and why are in place, believe and expect that your how will show up because ready or not it will!
2. View the unexpected encounters and occurrences as opportunities. Everything that transpires in our lives, whether perceived as good or bad, is an opportunity to learn and grow in various ways such as character, endurance, and skill. They are opportunities that can shift you to new levels.
3. Prepare for opportunity. Write down what you desire to experience, expressing all five senses (describe what it looks, sounds, feels, tastes, and smells like); visualize it and make it live. Define in detail what you want it to look like at different phases – today, next year, five years from now. Expect that the opportunities will present themselves and be prepared.
An Action Step
After my last experience of feeling unprepared at the Harlem Book Fair, I set an intention to be ready for the next opportunity that I knew would eventually come. I watched a video interview that led me to register for Maria Andros’ 10-week Social Media Traffic Blueprint program (SMTB) that teaches how to build a business foundation through video and social media. This represented another example of when you know the why and what, the how will show up. I still have a lot to learn, but a whole new venue that I never considered opened up for me and has stimulated new creativity and excitement around the possibilities; especially since I am not the book signing, street fair vendor aggressive type and have been seeking to enhance my online presence and learn more about internet marketing.
An Unexpected Opportunity
The Monday after I became a member of SMTB another unexpected opportunity presented itself. I dialed into Boost In Your Bathrobe, the 6:00 am weekday morning inspiration conference call facilitated by Rev. Valerie Love. Unbeknown to me at the time, Rev. Val had scheduled a guest speaker, who shared my first name, on the call that morning. Now I was at a place in life where I had embraced God’s call and strove to walk in it daily and although not a licensed minister, considered all of God’s professing people ministers in some form or fashion. So along with the fact that I had been a guest on the call twice before, when Rev. Valerie asked was Min. Jo Anne on the call and no one else responded, I uttered a slow hesitant “Yes.” At which point, Rev. Val stated that she was referring to Min. Jo Ann Lee, but since I had spoken up and answered the call it must be for a reason and she told me to share with the group whatever was on my heart. Even though I wasn’t prepared or expecting to share, I knew that God has proven faithful and always shows up. It was not an option for me to not share or speak up and acknowledge that a Min. Jo Anne was indeed on the call, so I began to share from my experience and what was present with me at the time:
1. Have No Fear Nor Doubt – Be fully persuaded and confident that God will perform His good work through us if we just make ourselves available. Fear is not of God!
(Phil 1:6) “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”; (2Tim 1:7) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2. Say Yes – Be prepared for any and all opportunities in and out of season, knowing it is not about us. It is God who does the work and works out His will for our lives.
(2 Tim 4:2) “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction”; (Phil 2:13)”For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
3. Trust God – Believe that He who promised is faithful to do it. The more He increases in us, the less room there is for fear or doubt. I believe what He says in His word and hold Him accountable to perform it.
(Hebrews 10:23) “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
Mind Issues – Min. Val asked me to speak to those of us dealing with mind issues. My response was, "Take every thought captive". Anything that is not of God and no longer serves us to function or reach our destination and achieve our goals needs to be countered with positive affirmations and the word of God. It takes making a conscious choice daily to focus on the positive and not entertain the negative.
(2 Cor 10:4-5) “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”; (Phil 4: 8-9) “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Hindsight - Closing Thoughts
In hindsight partially due to the limited time I had to share and the unexpected opportunity, I would like to add the following thoughts:
Emotional Issues – Praise your way happy – sing, dance, pray, and or read. Do whatever it takes to shift your energy, mind set, attitude, and feelings that are hindering you. Resist the enemy (inner me) and he has to flee. Stand on God’s word; speak it over your life. It is powerful, alive and transformative.
1. Wait Right! – In action and attitude. Release control, trust God and surrender to the process. Work in excellence preparing your environment (work and home) for the opportunity that will come; be ready to seize it and walk through the open door at God’s appointed time!
2. Breathe Deeply - Taking deep breaths help you to center yourself, stop the anxiety, and tap into your inner power to think and speak more clearly. The basics of everything you need to know is already within you waiting to be brought forth. Breathe in (inhale) clarity, peace, and confidence. Breathe out (exhale) negative thoughts, stress, and fear. Be still and breathe your way through the process, it will calm and ground you.
Stay positive, be encouraged and fearless. Believe what God says about you and wait expectantly with enthusiasm for the amazing things that God promises and wants to do in the lives of those who love Him and are obedient to His call.
God has a plan and purpose for our lives, plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future. Work towards your life’s purpose as He leads and guides. Remember that God is faithful! All we have to do is show up – available and willing; God will do the work in and through us.