In her book, A Woman of No Importance, the author, Sonia Purnell, cites the heroine as an example of “How women can step out of the construct of conventional femininity to defy all the stereotypes, if only they are given the chance.[italics added]
First, I want to remove gender, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs and any other categorization from this message. When I read the phrase “if only they are given the chance” my mind pictured countless people I’ve met of various ages, both genders and various socio-economic backgrounds, who have expressed to me their feelings that they could accomplish a great deal more if only they were given a chance.
This is a universal emotion…a thought that the vast majority of us has experienced at some time in our lives. I know that it’s true of me. But I’ve always reached the same conclusion, no one is responsible for giving me a chance, for creating opportunities for me, other than me.
I was fortunate to have parents who valued independence, who taught my brothers and me that if we wanted something to go for it. They not only encouraged us, they demonstrated by their actions that they were willing to do the work to get what they wanted from life. I realize that not everyone is so fortunate which is one of the reasons why Ms. Purnell’s phraseology prompted me to write this post.
We create opportunities for ourselves by pursuing what we want in life. The more people we tell about what we want to accomplish the more we attract people with like aspirations. These people are as happy to help us achieve our goals as we are to help them achieve theirs. It’s this reciprocity, born of common interests, that propels us to attain what we desire.
It’s my experience that none of us accomplishes anything on our own, others always contribute to our success. That doesn’t mean that they’ve given us a chance. We created the chance by publicly stating our goals and taking action to move toward their attainment. That’s how we create chances (opportunities) for ourselves.
In my second level of confidence book, Stand Out From The Crowd…without having people point and laugh, I take things one step further. I show how to overcome six tendencies we all possess by virtue of our humanity…tendencies that once overcome, help us attract chances (opportunities) instead of pursuing them.
You’ll know that you’ve overcome these tendencies when people begin to say to you:
- “You don’t think like other people do.”
- “You look at the world differently than other people do.”
- “You see things others don’t see.”
- “Yet what you say makes perfect sense.”
When people recognize these attributes in you, two things happen. They seek your counsel which affords you great influence. They also invite you into their initiatives. Who wouldn’t want to involve someone who sees things that they themselves can’t see? Every time someone seeks your counsel or invites you into their initiative, you’ve created an opportunity for yourself.
Sounds easy, but as my parents taught my brothers and me, you have to earn what you want in life. You have to work for it. Developing the attributes listed above requires work. But I can tell you from experience, the payback is huge in relation to the time and effort invested. Having learned these lessons has made life easy for me…even in turbulent times.
The next time you find yourself thinking “If only I were given the chance…,” remind yourself that the sole responsibility for “getting a chance” is yours. Everyone else is responsible for creating opportunities for themselves. You shouldn’t be burdened with the responsibility of creating theirs any more than they should be responsible for yours.
Of course, you’ll receive others’ help along the way just as you’ll extend help to others who share similar interests and values. But the creation of chances is your responsibility.
For our kids
When your kids, grandkids nieces and nephews are waiting for “a chance,” share with them the reality that they alone are responsible for creating their own chances. Teach them that they can do that by working toward their goal and telling others what they want to achieve. That way they’ll attract like-minded people with whom they can join forces in pursuing what they want.
Also, teach them what you’ve learned about gaining influence and how that helps you attract opportunities instead of pursuing them. Armed with these tools they’ll no longer waste time waiting for someone to give them a chance, they’ll create chances for themselves.
I originally wrote this blog post after having read only the prologue in which the quote appeared. Since then I’ve finished reading the book. The heroine, Virginia Hall, repeatedly demonstrates the importance of not waiting for someone else to provide what you need or want.
The author provided countless examples of how Virginia didn’t receive the support she needed or, in some instances, had to defy instructions from her superiors to achieve what was essential to the French Resistance during World War II. Had she waited for others to do what she needed, much of what she accomplished would never have occurred.
By not waiting for someone to give her a chance, she acknowledged that it was her responsibility, and hers alone, to create the chances she needed to accomplish her goals.
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your wisdom in a comment below.
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