The Principle of Opportunity
Your greatest opportunities are cleverly disguised as insurmountable problems. The principle of opportunity says that life is a series of obstacles and that these obstacles hold the key to your greatest opportunities if you only discipline yourself to see opportunities everywhere.
Anyone can make a mistake. That takes no genius. You should learn from your blunders. Convert them to unexpected benefits. To put the principle of opportunity into practice, you need to learn how to handle mistakes and how to profit from blunders.
First, admit the blunder the moment you know about it. You can never correct a situation if you don’t admit it exists. And if mistakes are uncorrected, they multiply and grow worse.
Second, assume accountability for the blunder. Unless you assume accountability both for your own mistakes and those of the people in your group, you cannot correct them and profit from them.
Third, evaluate the damage. Ask yourself such questions as: What effects will the blunder have by upsetting deadlines? How will this blunder interfere with the work of others? Will it adversely affect the “big picture”? How will it affect the testimony I have?
Fourth, do an in-depth study of the possible causes of the blunder. Blunders are the result of 1) an error in judgment, 2) poor planning, 3) insufficient information, or 4) defective follow-up. Examine all these areas in depth.
Fifth, immediately eliminate the causes for the blunder. Take action. Write down your plan. Work this into your goals program.
Sixth, salvage what you can. Make the most of the assets you have.
Seventh, revise your modus operandi so that the blunder won’t be repeated. Constantly evaluate what you do to see if it can be improved, not just in relation to this one blunder, but in relation to all your activities. This requires constant questioning and study.
Eighth, begin to execute the new program immediately. Procrastination will only make the situation worse. Begin your correction right away.
Ninth, use blunders as road signs as they mark both where you have been in the past, as well as where you should go in the future. Learn from your mistakes.
Tenth, remember that obstacles enhance leadership by 1) the credibility you develop with others who realize you have experienced what they are experiencing 2) the conditioning of your own spirit for service, and 3) the opportunity to demonstrate love, humility, and self-control.
There need to be two words of warning: first, a leader neither attempts to shine or whine. He or she must not complain that he or she is sacrificing. Second, it’s unrealistic and dishonoring to God to treat obstacles as though they don’t exist. They do.
The leader, under God, will develop the habit of creatively converting obstacles into opportunities. This habit will enhance one’s leadership by inspiring those who follow their leadership.
Adapted from Lead On, by John Edmund Haggai