Despite all the effort that goes into forward planning there are times when something comes along that is totally unexpected. It’s no use blaming people for not anticipating everything that could happen, that’s just not possible. No, surprises can occur at any time and it’s how we respond to them that counts.
It’s very much down to an individual or a business mindset. What can be a pleasant surprise to someone can knock someone else completely out of their stride. Either way, surprises are an opportunity to be quickly evaluated and a decision made on what to do about them.
Say you’re waiting for someone at a meeting and for whatever reason that person doesn’t turn up but a different individual arrives instead. Do you consider it a disappointment and a failure that who you had expected to arrive didn’t show? Or do you put that to one side momentarily and take the opportunity to find out more about your new acquaintance?
Taking this a step further it’s possible to keep a constant eye open for opportunities. Again, this is keeping an open mindset, staying aware of the environment and remaining curious as to ‘what could be’ as opposed to ‘what is’. This works at an individual and business level in equal measures.
Consider the individual who would really like a new challenge but doesn’t look at anything outside of what they already do. The same goes for any business. If it stays doing what it has always done then chances are it won’t last long term, especially in today’s business environment.
Opportunities don’t just pop up unexpectedly, we can cultivate them ourselves. By deliberately putting ourselves ‘out there’, doing something we wouldn’t normally do (outside our comfort zone) we will be disrupting the environment we inhabit and who knows what can come of that. We just have to be ready to recognize any opportunity that comes our way and be prepared to act on it.
So the next time something surprises you, something comes at you out of the blue, don’t dismiss it because it doesn’t fit with what you expected – think what it could mean to you if you followed it up. And if it’s worth pursuing, go for it.
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© Paul Slater and Reflect & Lead, 2015.