My name is Andrew and I am a recovering addict. My weakness: Opportunities. For more years than I care to remember, I have been addicted to chasing opportunities.
This is a problem for many entrepreneurs. You chase every opportunity that comes your way--like a dog chasing a butterfly, with the same result. A 12-step program could help, though I suspect most entrepreneurs would lose interest with that many steps. Instead, I have = developed a six-step program designed to cross all language, cultural, political, and geographical borders to help opportunity junkies everywhere find their way to recovery.
STEP 1: Create an “Opportunity List”
One of the biggest fears that opportunity addicts share is the fear of missing out. A common, obsessive question: “What if I have the best idea in the world and I forget it?” So every time a great idea comes your way, the first thing you must do is add it to your opportunity list. Then, do absolutely nothing further about it. This way it is recorded and you don’t have to worry about losing it.
STEP 2: Develop your own “Opportunity Evaluation Process”
In other words, devise a checklist of criteria that any opportunity must meet before it can graduate from the wish list to the potential list. Make sure your checklist is rigorous and honest. That way, the opportunities you pursue will truly be worth the effort.
STEP 3: Dismiss any opportunity that requires you to act immediately
If I had a dollar for every time I dropped everything to chase a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity… let’s just say I would be a very wealthy man. I have since learned that most time-sensitive opportunities are a waste of time. In fact, you’ll be surprised how often these opportunities come around again (and again).
STEP 4: One opportunity at a time
Get into the habit of having just one opportunity as your priority at any one time. This means you have to choose wisely and be disciplined enough to stay focused. Don’t worry, the others are still there, but you are not allowed to move on those until you nail the one at the top of your list.
STEP 5: Find yourself a brutal opportunity gatekeeper
Your job is to pitch every opportunity to this individual for approval. Their job is to push back, in order to make sure you aren’t just chasing butterflies. If you can’t sell the opportunity to the gatekeeper, then it doesn’t make the cut.
STEP 6: Avoid the places where opportunities lurk
They might not be down darkened taverns or red light districts, but rest assured, opportunities lurk all the same. You need to know the places where we tend to get piles of ideas and avoid them. Don’t worry, when you are running low on opportunities (as if) you can revisit some of these locales, but do not go there to chase butterflies.
Rest assured, the world will never run out of opportunities, there are new ones being created every minute.