“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.” — Orison Swett Marden
SME’s Chat with with Phillip Chichoni
Oprah Winfrey was once fired from her television reporting job because they told her she was not fit to be on screen.
When she was starting out as an evening news anchor for a television station in Baltimore, USA, she was fired for becoming too emotionally involved in the stories. However, Oprah rebounded to become not only the undisputed queen of television talk shows, but to also have her own media companies and is the only black billionaire in America.
The daughter of a poor unmarried teenage housemaid, Oprah grew up with her grandmother, who taught her to read even before she turned three. With a gift for talking, Oprah joined her high school speech team. She won an oratory contest which secured her a university scholarship to study communication. Thereafter, she worked in radio and television until she was fired by WJZ-TV.
Instead of giving up, she moved to another television station to host a lowly rated 30-minute talk show. The first episode aired on January 2 1984. Within months after Winfrey took over, the show went from last place in the ratings to become the highest rated talk show in Chicago. Soon Oprah was given her own full hour show, the Oprah Winfrey Show, which became the number-one daytime talk show in all of America.
Although she came from a very poor background, Oprah used her God-given talent of speaking to create opportunities. Are you using your talents to create opportunities? It is a basic truth of life that there will always be opportunities for those who recognise and pursue them. The lucky people are simply those who have taken more chances than most people.
Be on the lookout for chances
To be able to see areas where you can create your opportunities, you must have the right mindset. Take charge of your life. One of my favourite motivational writers, Stephen Covey, stated this in his best selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
His first habit is being proactive and taking responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow. Most things that we spend our thoughts and conversations on, like politics, Cuthbert Dube’s salary or the poor state of the economy, have little bearing on our effectiveness and on what we can achieve in pursuing opportunities.
With an abundance mentality you will believe there are enough resources and successes to share with others. This is unlike the scarcity mindset, which is the idea that if someone else wins in a situation, that means you lose.
To give yourself the right mindset to be able to create opportunities, focus on the positive and not on the lots of negative things we see and hear daily.
Opportunities are often created by people who are experts in their fields. Oprah was best orator at her high school, which opened up the door for her to pursue communication at university. Likewise, you have to be the best in your field and know more than anyone else in your chosen industry.
Good knowledge of yourself first is necessary. Know your talents, values, skills, strengths and weaknesses, and your passion. Once you know which area you want to create opportunities in, start acquiring a lot of knowledge and skills that will make you stand out.
With the internet giving us access to unlimited resources of information, you can learn a lot from specialised websites, blogs, online magazines as well as expert papers and researches carried out all over the world.
It is a good idea to attend local classes and workshops as well as to network with people in the field you want to pursue. Networking is particularly important as it allows you to know the latest trends, problems and opportunities from people who are right in the field of your interest. Don’t delay taking action when you see an opportunity.
You are most likely not the only one who has seen that opportunity.
Success rarely comes immediately. You need to be self-driven in order to keep going, even when things are difficult. Be resilient and resolve not to abandon your pursuit.
Remember, opportunities are everywhere and unlimited. It is up to you to create your own opportunities instead of waiting for someone to give it to you or for the economy to get better. Like Oprah, who wore potato sacks when her grandmother could not afford to buy her a dress and other little girls laughed at her, don’t dwell on the negatives that might be afflicting you now, create your own opportunities, fully use your talents and work hard.
Please feel free to send me your feedback. To join my mailing list and receive my free weekly newsletter, please send me an email at the address shown below. Until next week, best wishes in accelerating your growth.
Phillip Chichoni is a business development consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs.