How Good Are YOU at Spotting Opportunity?

My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.

Mizuta Masahide

My friend Sue is Director of College Counseling at a private high school here in LA. Way before the college application had hit the news, she arranged for me to speak with the Junior class on “how to prepare for college.” While I presume most of you have put your college years behind you, I think the advice I offered the juniors might still be helpful. Here’s the gist of what I told them:

When I was seven I landed in the hospital for four months with a heart ailment. The day after I returned home, an elderly neighbor dropped off two shopping bags filled with National Geographic magazines. I soon was devouring the stash, dreaming of a day when I’d have my own exotic adventure.

That opportunity came when I was a senior at Fordham University in NYC. Bill McGary, director of Xavier High School in Chuuk, Micronesia (island grouping 700 miles south of Guam) came to my service organization looking for volunteer teachers. I had no idea where Chuuk was located. I only knew it was in the South Pacific, home to many of my National Geographic fantasies.

Turns out, the three years I spent teaching at XHS were the happiest of my life. They shaped me into the man I’ve become.

Life is funny – had I not gone to Fordham I wouldn’t have met Bill McGary and if I hadn’t met Bill I wouldn’t have gone to Chuuk and if I hadn’t gone to Chuuk, my life would have been the poorer for it.

But here’s the kicker – I hated Fordham U!  Yes, it’s a wonderful school, but I’d gone to Fordham Prep and so had already spent four years on the campus. I wanted to get away from my overly protective parents, but they’d have none of it. Fordham was the only school they were willing to pay for.

What I have learned and re-learned in my life is that opportunity is everywhere –

if only we have the eyes and ears and heart to recognize opportunity when it bumps into us. 

I told the juniors that the best way to prepare for college is by learning how to recognize opportunity in unlikely places. 

Isn’t that the best preparation for life?

In recent years my friend Ava (name changed) has developed an interest in wines. Last Thanksgiving we went wine tasting in Los Olivos. At one winery Ava shared with the woman serving us how she wished she had her job. Turns out, the woman was in charge of staffing and she was looking for people to add to the roster.

While Ava isn’t going to be quitting her full time job, she is spending weekends working at the winery – and having an utter blast!

Opportunity – it’s everywhere.  Hidden – waiting – unexpected.

What about you – are you ready for when opportunity knocks you over the head?!

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from recognizing all the ways opportunity is manifesting in your life?

To explore how life coaching can help you “see” more clearly, please contact me:


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