Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Seneca

Last night I had a dream that Oprah and I were at the same social event. The event was moving to another venue and somehow I missed a cue that she wanted to give me a ride to the new location.

One of her executives at Harpo said he would read my novel over the summer if I could get a copy to him. I had a copy with me on the trip, and I was thinking I would go get it and pass it on to him. I did not get his email, phone number or address to get in touch with him to forward my novel. As if he would still be sitting where I left him after I took taxis and got the copy I’d brought.

The dream is telling me I am not prepared for the opportunities that may present themselves. The work is mostly done, what is holding me back from doing the last editing? I have a copy to send to a cousin I’ve been waffling on. Why? What if she doesn’t like it, what if…

There comes a point when we have to release our creativity to the world. At a Writers Group, the head of an Arts Council asked me what my novel was about. I stammered and stuttered and came up with something. He told me I have to develop an “elevator pitch” that encapsulates the story.

I still haven’t developed an elevator pitch. What am I waiting for? All I need to do is put together a one-minute speech that says…

Once upon a time (introduce character and context)

Every day, (establish the way things were)

One day (introduce problem/inciting incident)

Because of that (challenge)

Because of that (search for solution)

Until finally (finds solution)

Now (establish the way things are better now)

There is more going on than meets the eye. There are other things that take priority over my novel. One of those things is this blog. I’ve been neglecting my husband I tell myself, so we go for a coffee instead of sitting down and finalizing my editing. It will cost too much to pay a professional editor so I work on doing more editing myself.  There is always an excuse if we want an excuse. I’m afraid to put my work out because…

I saw a book called You’re Broke Because You Want to Be by Larry Winget. Note he didn’t say poor. Broke is when we spend more than we earn, but if we spent it differently we wouldn’t be broke. That is so much different from being poor when we don’t actually have enough to buy the essentials.

Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortunes expensive smile is earned. Emily Dickenson

What if I am doing the same thing in different areas of my life? What if I am the one holding me back? What am I afraid of? What is the payoff? What am I afraid of losing? What am I afraid of gaining?

We will all make mistakes. We will not be prepared for every opportunity. I found these 20 ways to be prepared for opportunity from The Simply Luxurious Life blog.

1. Mind your money manners, but know when to take risks. When you have control of your finances, you can take risks knowing that you have the savings or income to weather the storm should your risk fail.

2. For your health’s sake, eat well. An added benefit is that you’ll look great too. Who knows when the opportunities will be ready for you to find them. It could be when you’re twenty or it could be when you’re nearing middle age and beyond. Remain healthy so that no matter when it arrives, you can enjoy it to the fullest.

3. Make the right type of mistakes – made while being courageous and ambitious, rather than defensive, lazy or ignorant. Mistakes will happen to us all, but make them while striving forward toward something new or challenging, rather than sitting around doing nothing afraid of everything.

4. Look for opportunities, seek them out. Open your eyes. Say yes. Do something new. Ask why. Never stop learning.

5. Be kind and helpful. Helping others out when you can simply because you can and not to gain anything in return creates an environment of support and positive rapport. By creating an environment that is welcoming and uplifting, more of that energy is created. Pay forward what you wish to see more of, even if you don’t see a lot of it at the present moment.

6. Strengthen your self-discipline muscle. Stop spending frivolously. Put down that second helping. Stop engaging with people who are not good for you or your self-esteem.

7. Pay yourself first.  Start saving for retirement and a rainy day today. Create a monthly EFT and forget about it.

8. Wake up early. Don’t waste a minute. The early bird really does get the worm.

9. Continually strive for excellence, not perfection. Never stop learning about the world you live in. Continually try to better understand yourself, your emotions, your job, your passions, your strengths, etc. The answers will come if you keep searching.

10. Simplify and focus. You can’t do everything, but what you choose to focus on can be done well if you let go of those things that aren’t at the top of your priority list.

11. Keep a clean home. Limit your stress, free your mind, create room for opportunities to be found.

12. Master your mind. Freedom lies in choosing your thoughts and not being a slave to anything that crosses your mind’s path.

13. Meditate.  A simple practice that builds mind control, lowers stress and builds appreciation.

14. Create specific goals. If you don’t know where you’re going or what you want, your life will never change and you’ll never know what to look for regarding opportunities.

15. Be authentic. Do not apologize for being yourself. Ignore the laughter, walk away and walk toward those and a world that is appreciative of the gifts you have to offer.

16. Be productive, create something of value. No matter what you choose to do with your day, so long as it is in alignment with your goals, being productive will inch you one step closer to the opportunities you seek.

17. Stop blaming or complaining.  Energy and time and most importantly the ability to see the opportunity is tossed aside immediately when we blame others or complain about something we don’t like or understand.

18. Stop being a follower. There’s already enough sheep in this world. Become conscious of which direction you are going and why. What type of life are you trying to lead? Are your actions and decisions today in line with the life you just described?

19. Choose to initiate rather than react. By choosing to initiate, you are taking the reins and directing life. You may not know how today’s particular scene will play out, but at least you are choosing to lead rather than to follow or be a spectator.

20. Make your own rules. If the rules aren’t working for you and the opportunities are not revealing themselves, do something different. And keep your eyes open.

“Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along.” –Hugh Allen

We need to give up thinking we are too old, uneducated, poor, broke, and unlucky or whatever we tell ourselves that keep us from going after what we want in life. Maybe we have to ask ourselves some questions about what we really want. Most of all we have to be brave enough to risk failure to risk success.

When opportunity knocks, will we be prepared?

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. Arthur Ashe

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, opportunity, and love.

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The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness Hardcover – Jan 1 2019

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