Seize the opportunity
Posted on 3rd August 2017 at 22:22
Don't miss out on the important stuff!
This is the fourth blog in the series taken from my recently published book ‘Get Happy!’ Each blog consists of the page from the book and then a bit more explanation and background to the thinking behind it.
In this blog I am joined by my Financial Director James Chisholm from Meschi Consultants and he gives a business spin on the theme as well. The blog is written as the conversation between me and James.
“Hello. I wasn’t very mindful yesterday. It happens: I am a work in progress. My eldest daughter wasn’t very well so she stayed with me instead of going to school. I took her along to one of my networking meetings, then out for lunch and we came home to do some admin work. For various reasons - probably cuddling - I didn’t finish all the work I needed to do before it was time to go and get my youngest daughter from school. So when we got back home I explained that I needed a bit of time to finish off my work. It was gorgeously sunny here yesterday and my daughters love nothing more than going outside in their swimming stuff, running through our water sprayer and paddling in their pool. I encouraged them both to go out and do just that, but my youngest daughter wanted me to go with them. I promised that I would as soon as I had finished my work. So they waited for me. Obviously my work took longer than I had planned and an hour later we finally made it outside. The sun had disappeared. It was cloudy, overcast and just a little bit chilly. We lasted about 10 minutes out there. I had assumed the sun would stay all afternoon and I missed the opportunity. There is a saying, ‘Make hay while the sun shines’ and it popped into my head at that point yesterday. Quite simply I could have found another time to do my work and enjoyed that precious fun time with my girls. I am grateful for the reminder lesson. Next time the sun is out, I’ll be the first one in the sprayer.”
So today, if you are given the opportunity to do something that will give you joy; take it. Grab it with both hands. Don’t miss out. And for me that it all about seizing the moment. What an eejit I was two years ago to miss out on a brilliant fun afternoon in the sun with my girls. Which means more to me? My work or my girls? My girls, absolutely. Which is more important? No questions asked. What did I do that day? I put my work over and above my spending time with my girls. I definitely definitely don’t do that any more. They come first in everything and I seize the opportunity because, especially in this lovely country of ours, the sun lasts for about ten minutes, doesn’t it? So, yeah, I definitely put them first now. And that day is part of the reason why. That day really taught me a massive lesson. The disappointment in my girls was matched only by mine, really.
James: When I first started networking, I was notoriously bad at following up and there are probably a lot of people out there that are very very bad at following up. It is something that you learn when you go networking to get better and better at it. So now I have put systems in place that mean every time I get a business card they go into my CRM system. Some of them will come to nothing, but I can always keep in touch with them and that is, for me, about seizing that opportunity because the amount of opportunities that I have lost by not following up with people or not following up in a timely manner must be ridiculous, in terms of when I look at my first six to twelve months of properly networking.
Jo: And from a self-employed basis it staggers me, it absolutely staggers me how many people don’t follow up, not just forgetting to follow up in a timely manner, they don’t follow up at all.
James: Yeah, and I think, for me, part of that is because a lot of the time when I don’t follow up or when I didn’t follow up because it doesn’t happen any more now, I got to a point when it was, “Oh, it’s too long now...”
Jo: Because you didn’t seize the moment.
James: Yeah, “What will they think of me?” and then you don’t do it because you think, “Oh, what are they going to think of me?” so then it never becomes a follow up opportunity at all, whereas now I aim to follow up with people on the day or the day after, with everybody that I meet so they will at least have that that first touch with me outside of a meeting and then we can keep a conversation going from that point onwards in whatever form it is. So go out there and seize those opportunities.
Jo: How many opportunities do we let slip through our fingers in life, in business? We just let them slide away and it’s absurd. I have said this several times before, but, it’s your life and it’s up to you to live it and you make decisions and you make choices all the time, every single day and that day, that I talk about in my book, for me was such a huge learning curve because I made the wrong choice. I made the wrong decision, absolutely, in terms of life I totally made the wrong decision and I don’t do it any more. I do not do it any more.
So don’t do it in life, don’t do it in business. Seize the moment, seize the opportunity, spend that time with the most important people in your life and honestly, there isn’t anything more important. There isn’t anything more important, and putting off time with the people you love is just not the right thing to do. You seize every single opportunity that you get in this life. You totally grab it, you take hold of it and you run with it because you honestly don’t know when you’ll get another. So do it.
I know following up in business can be a bit scary, it can be a bit, “Ooh what if they don’t like me and what if they don’t want to?” It’s not the end of the world, is it? The end of the world is if you don’t do it and you miss out on the opportunity in the first place. If I didn’t play with my kids and I missed that opportunity, I mean, oh my word, my kids are nine and seven already! They are going to be 18 and 16 soon and they won’t care if I am in the same house as them! They won’t be playing in the sprayer, it won’t be happening. So do it, do it do it. Do it now.
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