Opportunity knocks - but not always on the front door

There is a degree of trending in life - in so much as heightened awareness and confirmation bias mean that we pick up on strands in our existence. I think that's probably born of an evolutionary survival mechanism but that's not the point of today's thought.

In both spheres of my "working" life I find myself presented with discussion and implementation of opportunity and fairness. As a coach my passion is to help people realise their potential, as best I can. As a coach my job is to present the best possible opportunity for my charges to develop. The bigger the group, the less tailored to the needs of the individual my interventions can be. That's just an economic approach - getting the most for the most from the dwindling resource. That said, I can scale workouts and exercises to open the door for as many as possible.

And here's the thing, I am holding a door open for people. I encourage and occasionally cajole but the step over the threshold is the choice of the individual. It is not my role to stand behind and push them forward. I will show you the way and I will help you over the step but the motor impulse, the drive has to being with the individual. Without that we face a long, hard, uphill slog in the face of overwhelmingly high odds of failure (which sounds like a bad marriage!).

On a one-to-one basis I can, and have, helped individuals discover, or narrow down what they want but this could not be any further removed from the idea of telling them what they want to do. Frankly, I have enough of a challenge keeping myself and those who want to be helped on the straight and narrow without pushing the unwilling - Heinlein comes to mind: "never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig" 

[Occasionally I owe a duty to my charge to say - I know you want to but your goal is beyond challenging and in the realms of downright destructive e.g. I want to run a marathon in six weeks but I am currently sedentary... just because you only have six weeks to prepare does not mean that it only takes six weeks to prepare].

Opportunities exist everywhere, all the time but they will not come looking for us. This does not speak to whether they are right for us, just that they are there to be taken - if we want them. Yes, that old chestnut again!

Think about this: somebody leaves their (nice) car parked by the roadside, unlocked, unattended and engine running every morning. I could quickly and easily procure for myself a new car. Frankly, I never will because it jars with my code and even if it did not the attendant trouble would be more than I can be bothered with. (I am pretty confident that somebody will take up that invitation one day - folks, this is a stupid idea and your insurers may not indemnify you for any loss - do not leave your car running with keys in the ignition!).

OK, so it's a silly example but it illustrates the point. Opportunities exist but people not taking them may just be telling you as much about how they view themselves as it does about about how they view you or the opportunity. And that is a very different subject altogether.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I will help anybody try to fulfil their potential, regardless of their individual starting point. In return I will need them to
  • acknowledge their starting point as their own, not anybody else's;
  • stop worrying about what others think or do, it is far, far less important than their own thoughts and deeds, and
  • want so see how far they can get under their own steam. No excuses, no compromises.
In short, I treat everybody as adults. Occasionally they will repay me by wetting the bed and messing their pants, but that's their issue. Others will respond and flourish - and the rewards will be their own. No question. What more could either of us want?

So the next time you are thinking "woe is me", look around, there will be something you can change to make things better. Cannot find anything to change? Change yourself!

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