The verb seize has many different definitions.  One definition of seize is to make instant use of something (such as a situation, chance, or opportunity) to one’s advantage.  Another definition of seize, which is more commonly used to refer to the movement of mechanical parts, is to become locked or bound together and stop moving as a result of excessive heat, pressure, or friction.  Now consider yourself.  When it comes to seizing opportunities in your life, which of these definitions better characterizes you?

Carpe Diem or Can’t Do It:  Leveling Common Roadblocks to Seizing Opportunity

One of the biggest reasons people “miss their shots” in life is simply because they cannot clearly see the target.  A lack of vision can cripple your ability to capitalize on opportunities that may be right in front of you.  Inexperience or a deficiency in knowledge may be factors that lead to this lack of awareness.  Therefore, you must learn to train yourself to be sensitive and alert to opportunities that come along, and you can start by taking stock of your current situation, setting achievable goals for yourself in the present, and developing visionary long-term goals for your future.  Doing so should enhance your ability to evaluate potentially advantageous situations and make you more keenly aware of opportunities that may truly be right for you.  Additionally, while evaluating situations and circumstances on their merits is a prudent course of action, avoid the urge to be inflexible and closed-minded; opportunities can present themselves in completely unexpected ways.   

Fear is another huge obstacle that keeps people from seizing opportunities.  Fear can come from many different sources:  past failures, lack of self-confidence, overestimation of possible problems, uncertainty or concern about taking a loss, etc.  However, sometimes in life chances need to be taken if you are ever to progress, so fear must be overcome regardless the source.  Having vision and ambition may not be enough if you do not have the willingness to persevere.  Hence, work at bravely meeting challenges and fostering confidence in yourself.  Adhere to your convictions with constancy, and behave in a positive, proactive manner.  If you do these things, you will likely find fear easier to overcome and opportunities more accessible.  And remember, failure is not necessarily an ending; it may just result in a new beginning.  Many extraordinarily accomplished people experienced failure before ultimately achieving success.

Seizing the Moment Once Roadblocks Have Been Eliminated

Now that you are mentally prepared to seize the moment, what should you do next?  When you perceive an opportunity, evaluate its potential benefits and drawbacks.  Judge whether or not it really is the right opportunity for you and/or your family.  Perhaps make a list of pros and cons and weigh the items on your list against your short-term and long-term goals.  Determine if you have the means to take advantage of the opportunity, and consider what may happen if you take the opportunity without having the ability to make it work.  You do not want to make these considerations under a cloud of fear, but at the same time you do not want excessive exuberance to lead you into a difficult situation.  Objectively and soberly consider your options. 

Once you have determined that the opportunity is worthy of pursuit, pursue it with purpose and passion.  Act boldly and in a timely manner.  Hesitation has cost countless individuals countless opportunities.  If you are reaching out to others for your desired opportunity, follow up on initial encounters or inquiries to demonstrate your level of enthusiasm to your prospective partners and to keep yourself in the forefront of their minds.  The passion and commitment you display will likely impress others and make them more eager and willing to work with you.

Employing these strategies should make it easier for you to recognize and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves in your life.  Be the person who makes things happen by turning situations and circumstances to your favor.  Don’t be like the machine that seizes up and stops functioning under pressure.

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