Tag Archives: opportunities

Olympic Opportunities

Yes, I am an Olympic geek. Totally admit it. I like the whole thing – the spectacle of it all, the competition of course, the culture, the sob stories, the history, the international spirit and ideal, the obscure events (Modern Pentathlon), and of course the raw commercialism and pure excess. It is great entertainment for two weeks, served up in wonderful prepackaged clips and snippets.

But what I love most about the Olympics is that sometimes there is a very special someone who comes along and has “that moment”. They rise to the occasion, they not only win, but they capture the moment, they create a legacy and memory that lasts a lifetime. But it is how they then go on to literally make a business and career out of that moment –  the business side of me is always in awe.

Think about it – Bruce Jenner, Mike Eruzione, Mary Lou Retton, Nadia Comaneci – all had their moment a generation or more ago, yet they all quite literally live in our public consciousness. They have made a career out of their moment. Pitching products, reality television, motivational speaking, coaching, consulting or just flat being paid to be places, they have parlayed a moment in time, one opportunity, into a lifetime of success. Pretty amazing really.

For all of us, there is a moment of opportunity that is out there waiting to be seized. Granted, it might not be on a stage quite as vast as the Olympics, but that moment is out there.  It might not be on the track, in the gym or on the ice; it might be at work, at home, in the community, or quite literally anywhere.  The key for everyone is to be ready to seize that moment when it comes.

It is easy to poke fun and say that “they only did that one thing…once”, but there were years of toil and sweat, practice and pain, sacrifice and focus that went into earning their opportunity.  They were ready to seize their moment.  Then to parlay that moment into a lifetime of success…just amazing.  It is available to all of us if we follow their Olympic example and seize the opportunities that are out there.  Prepare, train, focus, perform, achieve…and maybe parlay that moment into a lifetime business.

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Great Moments…

…are born from great opportunities.  It is one of those great quotes and lessons, and now along comes “Linsanity” to remind us that Coach Brooks knew exactly of what he spoke.  Talk about someone earning an opportunity and maximizing it…what a week it has been.

I am not an NBA fan, not even a casual NBA fan.  I am not even a basketball fan.  Sure, March Madness is a blast, and I loved watching the Jordan era Bulls in the finals, but otherwise I am indifferent to basketball.  However, the Jeremy Lin story is absolutely amazing – it is not a Cinderella Story – it is so much more.  Lin is the overlooked grinder, the hard worker, the fighter, the one who battles insane odds clinging to the idea that maybe one day he will get a chance.  Well, he got his chance.

No college scholarship, no NBA draft, repeatedly cut by teams, and above all always discounted.  It is the Rudy story, but it is real, not just a one-off feel good play or two.  Lin is leading a team, both on and off the court.  He is making the sum of the whole greater than the individual parts…in the NBA…the land of egos, guaranteed contracts and figurehead coaches.  It is staggering really.  Who knows how long it will last, but no matter what, Jeremy Lin and “Linsanity” is proof that yes, all it takes is opportunity.

Rocky, Braveheart, The Pursuit of Happyness, Dead Poets Society and “carpe diem”.  Stories, sayings, speeches and other Hollywood sap aside, it is a fact of life – all we can ever ask for is an opportunity.  Yet asking is not enough.  The lesson of Jeremy Lin is that opportunities are not given to those who ask.  Rather, they are earned.  Lin tried, he failed, he tried again.  He practiced, he focused, he fought and he persevered.  He earned his opportunity.  We all know of it because his opportunity to perform came in Madison Square Garden for the New York Knicks, a storied franchise, on the largest stage in the largest media market.  All at a moment in time when there are literally no other sports stories – crazy!

The only thing I think any of us would ask of Jeremy Lin is to not go completely Rudy on us. Your story has been amazing, there is no need to overplay it.

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