Open to Opportunity

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Last week, I was attending a full-day seminar with an old friend that I hadn’t seen in quite awhile. Although I was unsure if the topic would hold my interest, I knew that I would pick up some “nuggets” that I could use in my life. I also looked forward to the training event since I thought I would see some of my old co-workers. As I scanned the room, I realized that I didn’t know a single person other than my old friend. The large room was filled with mostly empty tables and almost all of the attendees were crammed into the back half of the space.


We registered and walked to a table at the front of the room since we both decided that we would be easily distracted in the back. When I sat down, I noticed two women that were sitting together at the table behind me.


10 minutes into the seminar, the trainer started the first activity. She asked us to find a partner that we weren’t seated with and perform the first exercise. My friend jumped up and joined a woman sitting alone at a table. I turned around, stood up with a smile on my face and said to the two friends sitting together, “Would one of you like to join me at my table?”


They both stared at me and said, “NO”.


I turned back around, shocked by the tone in their voice and their firm NO response.


I didn’t personalize this NO that I received. I wasn’t hurt that they didn’t want to be with me. I instinctively knew that the NO had absolutely nothing to do with me. I knew that the NO had everything to do with them.


I was disappointed by the women’s inability to open themselves up to a new opportunity.


Now, you might be wondering why I’m making such a big deal out of this. So what, they wanted to sit together and enjoy each other’s company. However, it IS a big deal and I’m going to tell you why.


Everyday, you are bombarded with situations, problems and issues in your life. Most of the time, you handle situations in a manner that is familiar to you. You have found patterns in your life that work for you and it is easier if you stick to those patterns and habits. When you do this, you probably make life easier for you in the short-term. You feel safe in these patterns and find comfort in them.


However, you are making life harder for you in the long-term. Moving to another table and meeting someone new might seem like such a small thing. However, it might be a pattern in your life to avoid uncomfortable situations. Each time that you get the courage to move to the next table, you build a little more muscle that makes you more RESILIENT. Each time you do something uncomfortable, you develop a little more grit to tackle what gets thrown at you in life. Each time you stretch yourself personally and professionally, you open yourself up to new opportunities—some that you didn’t even know existed.


Building resilience all starts with one small move.