Debono’s research on opportunity suggests that everyone is surrounded by opportunities, but those opportunities only exist once they have been seen, and they will only be seen once they are looked for.
What’s needed, he says, is a systematic approach to opportunity seeking. A formal exercise designed to sanction initiative. Without such a formal framework, the opportunity search will always remain a matter of mood, chance and individual motivation.
The first step is creating a working definition. A simple understanding of what the word opportunity means to you. Belsky once defined opportunity as anything that brings your one step closer to your genuine interest.
I’ll agree with that. Perfect starting point. The second step is creating a filter. A tool that evaluates the asset value of a potential new opportunity.
Now, this filter can be as simple as asking yourself a penetrating question, i.e., is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used? Personally, that question has saved me tons of heartache, money and pain over the years. I ask it on a weekly basis.
However, for larger, more expensive and more complex opportunities, you might want to use a more sophisticated framework. I recently launched a web application called Opportunity Junkie. This calculator takes into consideration the creative, existential, strategic and financial implications of any given opportunity. It allows you assign a numerical value to a variety of interesting variables.
Then, the filter populates a opportunity score out of one hundred. And based on how high or low that number is, you can effectively decide whether or not to proceed with your project.
The point is, it doesn’t matter which tools you use to evaluate the asset value of a new opportunity. What’s important is training your brain to execute against your own value system. What’s important is choosing projects that are worthy of the person you are.
Remember, opportunity is as real an ingredient in business as raw material, labor or finance, but it only exists when you can see it.
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