Learning. Growth. Opportunities. Challenges. Experience. 

These are all words that you will encounter on the road to success.  Takeaways and learning come with each opportunity; and with time, this leads with a plethora of experiences.  This, in turn, increases the likelihood of more opportunities which come with challenges during the process of applying what you know and quickly learning what you don’t know.  Ultimately, a mixture of these opportunities and experiences lead to growth and make you a better version of yourself.

So how do you make this all happen?  Will the opportunities come to you?  How do you know when you’re experiencing growth?

“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” – E. Nightingale

A very important starting point is knowing what you want.  Once you figure out whether you want to get to point B, C, or D then you can start plotting a route.  This has to be driven by you and what you want for yourself.  It can’t be what your parents visualize for you or how outsiders perceive you.  All influences aside, nobody knows your deepest aspirations better than you.

“Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity.” – Henry Hartmann

You have to be ready.  Being ready means taking the necessary steps ahead of time.  This means obtaining certain skills, experience, expertise, performance record, etc.  This also means being mentally prepared.  Again, this readiness has to come from within.  The exterior component will be the opportunities that come your way once you’re prepared.  The universe has a mysterious way of coordinating itself with you once you decide you’re ready for big things to happen.

“The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it.” – Ray Kroc

Action is key.  And each action you take makes seemingly lofty goals come to life and make your goals more real.  So once you’ve plotted out your action plan and prepared, the next step is to put in the work.  Goals and aspirations do not manifest themselves without work and effort.  As you work hard and position yourself strategically, opportunities will come your way which you must then assess before you make moves.

When you add action to the equation, this process becomes more difficult as uncertainty and changes emerge.  However, there are practices that can be put in place to ease any transition and alleviate the fear of the unknown.

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

This gets you out of your comfort zone.  The more comfortable you are, the least likely you’ll be to embrace major changes.  But the more you implement this habit, the more you’ll realize that in retrospect, what was seemingly a mountain was only a molehill.

Be open to change

You never truly know or understand something until you’ve tried it.  So break out of your usual routine and try something different.  This could be taking a different route as you walk home or trying something exotic on a restaurant menu.  Small changes may accumulate and change your life so be open to spreading your wings a bit.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

Stay active.  Pick up a new activity, read an article on a different subject matter, or step up to the plate for additional responsibilities.  Be fluid because if you’re not moving along, you’re being left behind.

Trust your gut

There is no better tool for feeling things out than your own innate ability.  You gut feeling will not steer you wrong.  If you find yourself needing to ask for reassurance after you’ve made up your mind and know what your gut feeling says, then you probably already know the answer.  Don’t fight it.

Take risks.  Take calculated risks.  Be spontaneous.

Being flexible and adaptable is essential for surviving in a world full of changes.  Think about how quickly thing happen in these times.  Information is shared in a matter of seconds, communication happens across borders instantly and technology has made our lives mobile.  If for no other reason, being spontaneous and taking risks has become a matter of survival.

With self-awareness, strategy, and action, growth and opportunity can be attracted and created.  Start with the big picture, map it out, and execute.  Simultaneously, put systems in place that make your major moves feel like ordinary exercises.

 Have you done anything to change your situation?  How have you created opportunities for yourself?  How do take ownership of your growth? 

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