5 Ways To Be Ready for Opportunity

Elizabeth Jarvis smiling and sitting in a chair  at home.

I believe our greatest dreams and desires will be lived out in Heaven. In the meantime, though, how can we live lives that will prepare us for chances to enhance our skills, our wisdom and even our joy? This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I do have a few ideas that might help shape our perspective in order that we use our time wisely, living ready, this side of eternity.

1. Be open-minded. Right thoughts precede right actions, so there’s no need to be skeptical about stepping into something new just because it’s unfamiliar. Don’t let Satan twist your perspective and lead you to question what God puts in your path. Remember how sneaky Satan was in the garden? Adam and Eve lived in a perfect place with perfect harmony, walking intimately with God. They got to see so much, up close, about God’s person and personality just by the beauty they were able to observe and experience. He even gave them explicit instructions about what they could NOT have. He’s not a God of confusion. Satan, however, blasted their whole perspective simply by making them mildly skeptical about God’s love.

2. Be authentic. I know this is a tired phrase these days, but it doesn’t make it any less true. I have a saying on my team: “Never trade your authenticity for approval.” Essentially, this is a reminder that we don’t have to change who we are simply to appease someone else’s negative opinion. “You are beautiful for you are fearfully and wonderfully made,” says Psalm 139:14. Grow, by all means. But, never abandon who you are.

Speaking of growing …

3. Be willing to make the right kinds of mistakes. I’ve heard it said that you’re not living if you’re not failing. Learning requires risk. What if Christopher Columbus had been afraid to lose sight of the shore? He may have “failed” at discovering the water route he desired from Europe, west toward Asia; but his stumbling on the Americas began centuries of further world exploration. I’d rather fail trying something new or challenging than sitting around being afraid to try.

4. Have a value mindset. Create something worthwhile with your time and energy. Be productive. No matter what activities fill your day, as long as they are in alignment with your goals, being productive will keep you moving ever closer to the opportunities on the horizon.

5. Stop complaining and/or blaming. Philippians 2:14 exhorts us to “do all things without grumbling” so that others may see us as “lights in the world.” If we find ourselves blaming others a lot — for our lack, for our expectations not being met, for our hurt — it might help to make a list of ways we feel violated. Then, as an act of turning back toward God, surrender that list to him. This helps clear the path for better vision, humility and less turmoil. Maybe then, we’ll have the capacity to be more open-minded. [See #1 ☺️]

My entire immediate household has long been filled with high achievers, so I’ve witnessed my fair share of pursuing, evaluating and maximizing opportunity. Additionally, some of my favorite conversations have been with immigrant business owners who moved to America solely for the purpose of experiencing the opportunities we have here in this country. There’s a certain practicality (even among my pro athlete fellas) that you’ll hear emerge. What’s the next best step? Do I have the courage to take it? Do I have the patience to prepare, and be on the lookout for, the next step after that? Am I grateful for the steps that have led to this point?

In my brief list, I’ve left plenty of room for other ways to be ready for opportunity. Now that you’ve tuned your mind to what SOME of them are, I’d love to hear what your ideas are. Comment here, or drop me a note to let me know! And, of course, I can’t leave you without my NUMBER ONE piece of advice when presented with a new opportunity, PRAY.