2nd August 2018

Don’t let opportunity pass you by

I have this quote from Winston Churchill which I love. It goes “To every man there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour”.

Perhaps we should all have this pinned up on the wall, right in our eye line, to remind us each and every day of the need to constantly be preparing ourselves for the chance to do something really very special when it presents itself. Whatever that might be.

I had the sad privilege of attending the funeral of one of my clients recently and despite the sadness and the loss there was hope and no small measure of joy in celebrating a life lived so fully. It caused me to reflect on how fully we actually live our lives. Or more specifically perhaps how fully I live my life. I have a passion for learning and development, I think I am always trying to get better but even so, I was reflecting on the extent to which I am being the best coach, father, partner, boss, friend, I could be. I suppose that is a natural reaction at a time like that. Perhaps we should all ask ourselves those questions more frequently. What about you?

Some time ago I wrote about a local business that had failed and in the detritus of that failed business when the office was being cleared out were a number of business books, largely unread. They represent opportunities untaken. More recently, again in the office of a failed executive, I saw a collection of books also unopened and unread. The story was of advice untaken and feedback shunned. How sad! What a waste of human potential and opportunity squandered.

There is a poster that has been on my wall for over ten years now that contains a quote from the athlete Steve Prefontaine which reads “To give anything other than your best is to sacrifice the gift”. It serves to remind me that no matter what our faith, no matter what our philosophy, every day presents every one of us with our own individual opportunity, a gift if you like, to be the best we can be. How disrespectful to sacrifice that particular gift. Sometimes it takes a particular event to remind us that to be the best we can be and to be of utmost service in this world we need to apply the appropriate effort and discipline. These things don’t often happen by accident.


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