There will be a time in your “come up” when things start to work out.
Perhaps you get that first big deal. Maybe you don’t get paid a huge amount — but it will be just enough to shift your perception of how much your time is worth.
Maybe you get that first feature in major media. Yeah, it’s Huffington Post, not the New York Times. But this is a big deal for you. You’d never been mentioned in anything before, and now you’re somewhere that everybody can see you.
These are small wins that feel like huge wins in the beginning.
Eventually, things start to compound. You graduate from teetering on the rim of failure to a cautious confidence. You’re coming into your power now.
But beware of “Opportunity Hoarding.”
As you begin to shine brighter, others will be attracted to you like a moth to light.
They’ll see that you’re doing something different than everybody else around them. They’ll see that there’s something different about you. Maybe they won’t be able to place a finger on it. But they’ll recognize it in you.
And you’ll recognize that they recognize it. All of the sudden, you’ll begin getting more opportunities than ever before.
Sometimes, the opportunities will be old “deactivated” friends who decide to activate themselves after 7 years and see if you’re available for coffee because they just remembered they happened to live in LA now too.
Sometimes, the opportunities will come in the form of others on the journey, looking for you to pull them out of a rut, or give them advice.
Sometimes, the opportunities might be legitimate business deals or partnerships to help you grow.
There will be thousands of opportunities, but not all of them are created equally. In the early stages of entrepreneurial growth, especially as you become just good enough to get noticed, you’ll begin to get a lot of offers from others to help them with their projects. They see a burgeoning superstar and want to siphon off some of that power.
In your lust to succeed, you might try to take on all opportunities that come your way. I call this “Opportunity Hoarding.”
It makes sense.
People are coming to you offering money, connections or potentially useful tools and you want to take advantage of everything you possibly can to pull yourself up from the bottom. You’re barely floating above the ground now and you’re willing to fill that void any way you can.
“Just give me work”, is the phrase that comes to mind. You’re hungry.
But beware, my friend. The more opportunities you try to take on at once, the more likely you are to lose one, or all, of them.
See, opportunities are just that. They aren’t guaranteed. They require work on your end to see them bear fruit. Opportunities are potential wins that you create for yourself through hard work. So in order to cash in on them, you’re going to have to work.
You can’t work on everything.
At least you can’t do good work on too many projects at one time without significantly decreasing the quality on the other things you’re working on.
It’s the same reason a driver loses 20-30% of their attention when using a phone while operating a vehicle. The more “programs” you have running in the background of your mind at once, the fewer resources you have to commit to whatever you’re actively thinking about in the foreground.
Opportunity Hoarding feels great because there’s this sense that the more projects we work on, the more overall potential our life has.
“I have this project running. And that side project. And that other thing.”
My question: if you took the energy from that “side project” and that “other thing” and poured it all into the main project, wouldn’t you see better results overall, much more quickly?
I think you would.
Worry less about how many things you have on your plate. You don’t get bonus points for doing a lot of things “sorta well.”
See how much you can get done if you only have one thing to focus on. And don’t worry about needing to hoard opportunities for fear that they’ll go away. The ones you’re meant to have will be there when you are ready, and you’re much more likely to do a better job if you have the time and clarity to focus on them exclusively.
And that focus will lead to even more opportunities.