Friday, July 17, 2009

The First Step to Find the Hidden Opportunity

Today's post is my response to a reader's question, "How exactly do you find the positive spin when things look so negative?" I'm delighted to answer.

(Feel free to email me a question anytime, and I will fashion my answer into a blog post.)

To begin to answer today's question, you have to accept that there IS an opportunity in a situation, whether or not you see it. I love what Napoleon Hill wrote on this topic:

Inside every diversity lies the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

But before you find the benefit, or the opportunity, you have to really think it's there.

To help you accept this truth, recall an unfortunate event from your past. It can be personal or business. See if you can see that some good came out of that situation, even though it looked like a total failure at one point.

Here is one my favorite examples, even though it's not from my own life.

In March, my brother, the one who lives in Houston, stopped by for a visit on his way to training at UNC-CH. This brother of mine is the top technology person at several billion dollar company. This company is in the funeral home business. So, right away I made some comment about his industry being recession-proof. I mean, how can you stop the death rate, right?

Imagine my surprise when he told me that things were so bad he was expecting an across-the-board pay cut. It turns out that not only are people spending less on funerals these days, but that PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY LIVING LONGER.

One way people are reacting to our economic adjustment is by engaging in fewer riskier behaviors. We're eating out less, staying home more. And living longer. Who knew?

If you accept that whatever ickiness you're facing contains an opportunity for good, you will find it.