“I’m here to apply for the job you’re advertising,” said my friend.
Standing just inside the door of a local newspaper, he was short of money and looking for a job to help him pay the bills. Young, he and his wife had just relocated to a small town in central Kentucky. Any money would help them get on their feet.
The listing he’d read the back of the classified section mentioned an opening for a carrier (or delivery driver) to go around in the middle of the night – regardless of weather – and deliver newspapers to homes. Part-time and unusual hours for him, but he was game and he needed the cash.
“Oh,” said the receptionist, “you mean the graphic artist job?”
Without hesitation, my friend stepped forward and confidently answered.
“Why yes I am,” he said – knowing all along he’d been there for a much different job.
And so, like so many others in the world, his life took a dramatic turn because of his courage to recognize and seize an opportunity before him. Today, after years of hard work and self-learning, this very same young man is now is now the publisher of his very own newspaper.
My friend is cut from a very special piece of cloth – but he is not alone.
A book I recently read talked about how a many of people see opportunities in life – but only a very few act on them. And that, according to the author, makes all the difference in the world. Learning to spot opportunities is many times a learned skill. But getting off your butt and apply your talents and efforts is something much more rare.
You see my friend wasn’t looking for a graphic artist job – but he did know enough to get himself in the door and successfully gain an interview. Once on the inside, he became a quick study of all things related – design, computers, and eventually managing people. He also knew if he was going to continue to grow and find new opportunities in life he’d have grow far beyond the guy who’d waked in the door looking for a delivery job.
Then one day he chose to move out of his comfort zone – the one he’d built a solid reputation – and into another field where he knew next to nothing. And in a short time, found success there as well.
I think about this process often. The more I go along in life, the more clearly see pathways successful people have blazed. Many have failed repeatedly only to get back up on their feet, brush off the dirt and dust, and go back to chasing opportunities. To them, this self-taught trait has become as natural to them as breathing.
Success in life – whether in business, love, or relationships – is grounded in our ability to move in and out of our comfort zones. Reward is almost always accompanied by risk. But in the end, we must always be open to the opportunities around us and have the courage to step through those doors. Get uncomfortable.
– 30 –