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Challenging Times

Would we all agree that it is easy to label the economic and social environment in which we exist “Challenging Times”?

As I witness the level of distress that so many people are feeling these days, I find myself torn between participating in the upset, and not. I find that it serves me not at all to participate in and perpetuate the idea that the circumstances we face limit opportunity.

Clearly, it could be said that opportunity is not what it once was or where it once was. And that alone is for many, evidence that opportunity is either limited or missing entirely. I do not concur. I will add that this evidence, taken as proof, prevents us from seeing alternative approaches that may yield new and interesting projects, goals, solutions, achievements and successes.

Consider the concept of infinity. I think back to elementary school mathematics where we learned first of the concept of infinity. The set “whole numbers” included the numbers: 0, 1, 2, 3 and so on forever and the set, “natural numbers” as we were taught in Mrs. Ueda’s 3rd grade class included the numbers: 1, 2, 3, and so on, forever. When we were asked, “which set has more numbers?”, it gave me great joy to recognize that the answer was neither. They are both infinite. And infinite has no limits even if it starts in a different place. So the set, “whole numbers over 5000”, still has the same number of elements as “whole numbers”: it is infinite.

So what if the same is true for opportunity? If there was infinite opportunity under the old set of circumstances, then consider that there always will be infinite opportunity for those who are creative enough to find it.

Consider that the shared belief in infinite opportunity gave us support as we forged ahead and created value. Consider the almost certain outcome of a lack of belief and imagination. Consider the power of commitment: we have within us the capacity, with faith and imagination, to choose our commitments; being fully committed means that we ourselves can create the circumstances of opportunity.

We are in a moment in time where many familiar avenues for success personally and for the organizations we lead are closed. And others may or may not be. I suggest forging ahead with your exploration and discovering your own version of today’s world of opportunity.

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