I realize that when it comes to the topic of opportunity you and I may not agree—that is okay. I simply want to share my experience, encouragement, and outlook on what it means to be self-motivated, take opportunities, and how to make yourself available to opportunities that may be given to you.
There are so many great resources available to get motivated. Visit your local bookstore (online or in real life) and you can browse for hours through self-help, "build a better you" books that will give you the ten steps to maximize your potential. I think some of these can be helpful at the right time in your life, but often I think they quickly become a distraction and a crutch.
At the root level, I think the only person that will motivate you to action is you. Sure others that you trust will influence you through life decisions and you may submit yourself to a higher power, but part of being an independent, healthy person in society is making decisions for yourself. Whether you realize it or not, you are the only person in control of the immediate world you live in as it results to your daily decisions.
Know this, accept this, understand this—once you do, new perspectives and opportunities start to become much more available.
For a long time it was believed that if you go to school, put in the time, and show up every day you would eventually be rewarded for your efforts. Culturally this was a very A plus B equals C formula. Our grandparents worked hard to get just about any job they could, our parents worked harder to make sure to provide stability for their families, and in the United States there was growth and prosperity during the mid-century—for the majority opportunity was plentiful. You went to school, received a degree, and joined the workforce. This was the way it worked and it was what you had to do to get anywhere. Today, this is not the case.
Now you can get a degree online, you can start a web-store with little to no overhead, if you want to open a non-profit to promote global sustainability Kickstarter will help fund your initiative.
The barrier for entry to just about any business venture has become virtually invisible. Because the barrier to entry is so small, excuses like lack of funds, lack of an audience, and lack of interest are no longer valid. The only thing that is going to keep you from turning your ideas into reality is you.
If you're anything like me, this is exciting. The opportunity is there, it's available, and we are all waiting to see what you do with it.
Just as important as it is to be self-motivated and make your own initiatives, it is equally as important to know how to make yourself available opportunities that could come your way. It requires time, patience, and observational skills—you must be aware of your own skills as well as the skills of others around you. I was taught at a young age that if you want to become better, you must play with the best. Surround yourself with people that are currently doing what it is you dream of—learn as much as you can from them.
Once you place yourself among the masters of your trade the worst thing you can do is wait to be noticed. Because of the proliferation of resources, skills, and talented people just like you, waiting to be picked by the captain, the boss, or the company is just not the way to go. To be frank there are ten other photographers/designers/writers just as good as you and if they speak up first they're most likely to be picked.
A good leader is aware of the skills and talents that you have to offer and will help put you into situations where you can grow further, but unfortunately we don't all have the opportunity of having someone in our life that can do that.
Do your best now, work hard, pay your dues, and don't be afraid to speak humbly about your successes, your abilities, and your talents. Tell the world who you are, what you can offer, and how it can be mutually beneficial for both of you and you'll go far.
In closing, I think we all have to realize that sometimes no matter how hard we try, things don't always work out. I'm sure many of you have taken great risks to do something your passionate about and it hasn't been easy. I want to encourage you to not quit. You have come so far and worked so hard to get to where you are now and even though it may feel as though the ceiling is caving in, there is still hope.
Stay motivated, don't be afraid to take your own opportunities, and make sure to be available to outside opportunities that may come your way.
If you have any questions or comments about opportunity, getting motivated, or simply feeling like you've pushed so hard and are uncertain about what's next—email me firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd love to chat!