A grad school friend named Heather firmly believed opportunity came when you least expected it. She was right about that. Where she was wrong in that belief was in thinking that fortune would come without preparation or creative help of any kind on her part. She dreamed about leaving her job as an administrative assistant. Heather was tired of the boredom of her work days and had lost interest in the job she’d had for over ten years. She didn’t know exactly what she wanted; all she knew was that she was eager for a change.

Heather felt that all she had to do was wait for the right opportunity for something better to come along. It would come in time and then she’d be happy in a new career. Now Heather had various talents and interests, any one of which she could have begun to sharpen in her quest for a new job. She was good at arranging travel plans for her boss which would have been an ideal segue into a career in the travel industry. She could even get a job working as the business travel coordinator for another company. Those positions had crossed her mind but she hadn’t acted on them or went about preparing herself to take advantage of a change. Her ability as a speaker was an asset that she could have turned into a marketing career but she hadn’t taken the time to explore that idea even though she had thought about it. And she also had a knack for teaching complicated corporate issues to new employees which could lead to a job in public or corporate education.

She mulled over the ideas in her head from time to time but did nothing to make a change. Heather stayed where she was and kept assuming a change of career would automatically and unexpectedly come her way soon. Meanwhile she was stagnating in her professional life instead of living it. Her thoughts about changing her career did nothing to make it happen. Whenever she heard about someone who had begun a new phase in their lives, she felt it was because opportunity had come knocking on their door. She never thought that anyone had actually prepared to make changes or created their own lucky breaks. It was simply a matter of having had the unexpected right opportunity.

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Heather suffered from “comfortable laziness” but she would have been shocked to hear anyone say that. She did her job and did it well, bored or not. In her personal life, she certainly wasn’t lazy. Everything that had to get done did get done. But everything she was doing in her life required no initiative or new ideas. Her job and her life had a sameness that was comfortable for her. She never had to do anything differently. Because of this she did nothing to prepare herself for the possibility of something new. No Plans, No Change, No Satisfaction.

Heather went on this way for quite a while, waiting for that “knock on the door” but making no plans for when it did come. As much as Heather wanted a change, wanting is not the same as doing. If she wasn’t ready to make changes she was saying she was content with just drifting through life. Either way, she wasn’t getting anywhere with her mindset and it went on for years.. Happily there is an antidote for the 'comfortable laziness' syndrome and it's a three-fold plan.

• Be available for opportunity

Too many times you feel hopeless that your dream will ever be realized and you stop preparing yourself for that golden opportunity. That is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. You never know where or when opportunity will come. It arrives in its own sweet time and never comes when you expect it will. Being ready to accept and follow your dream to wherever it takes you not only makes perfect sense, it is necessary to the survival of your dream.

• Olympic gold isn’t won by a mediocre performance

Every Olympic hopeful knows two things: One: You have less of a chance of winning the gold if you give a less than stellar performance. Two: To give the best performance you can, you need to put in hard work and be prepared. Most events don’t just happen in life without a considerable amount of preparation.

• Create your own opportunity

How often have you felt that life had passed you by while others seem to get opportunity after wonderful opportunity? Now ask yourself what those lucky people do that you aren’t doing. They are committed to creating their own chances for success. They leave nothing to chance.

“Who does nothing need hope for nothing.” said Friedrich von Schiller and it is true. It would be great if your life was programmed right from birth to give you everything you will ever need or desire at exactly the right time and place. That won’t happen. Sometimes you need to design the program that is best suited to you as an individual. The way to do that is by careful evaluation of what it is you want, what you will need to get it, and how you intend to get there. Dreams? Great! Planning or creating? Better! Reality needs preparation and creation. Get out of your 'comfortable laziness' and get the life you want!

© 20134 copyright Kristen Houghton

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