Endless Opportunities

All too often, I hear people complaining about their current situations, especially in the business world. What strikes me at those times is that the individual is simply missing out on opportunities that are available to them in whatever those supposedly dire circumstances might be. Sure, hard times often make those opportunities more difficult to see. Trust me, I understand.

My father worked every day and there was never a time that he didn’t provide for his family. He hadn’t, however, planned for the contingency that a day might come in which I wouldn’t be able to make my way through college on my own by playing football. Without my football scholarship, the dollars and cents of my education became an immediate concern. And while I walked away with a degree in political science (the first one in my family to graduate college), I recognized that the education I actually received was far greater than my collegiate coursework. The financial struggles taught me more about the real-world workings of life than anything I picked up in my economics class. The need to forge another workable life plan, to transform what might have been my ultimate defeat into just another rung on the ladder to success, had schooled me in a difficult life lesson that exposed who I really was.

Whatever your circumstances may be—whether you’re worried about making it through the day or busy forging an empire— there are opportunities all around you now. Right now.

While I was working for BFI as one of the top sales managers in Southern California, I still wasn’t satisfied. I wanted something more. And because I wasn’t sure just exactly what that was, I settled on graduate school. Whatever I did or didn’t do with it, getting an MBA was just one of those boxes that I wanted to check. I spent three years working 60 hours plus at BFI. Attending night classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Weekends trying to herd my classmates into an endless series of oral presentations and partnered papers. I knew that whatever I eventually used my MBA for, there was a distinct possibility that not having the degree might be a significant obstacle in reaching the places I wanted to go and achieving the sort of ends I had roughly in mind.

Hardship is no excuse to give up. Success is no reason to let up. Every day, you have to make the most of what you’ve got and then use that as a foundation to build on.

Preparing yourself for your future should be a constant consideration in your present state. Whether or not you arrived at a specific goal, you should always be working to better yourself. You should always take advantage of all the opportunities around you.

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First featured on Forbes.com