By Daniel Jacob, MSW
Op-por-tu-ni-ty– a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal,a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success. This is the definition that comes straight out of the dictionary. However, the meaning can have different references, understanding, and attachments depending on how we see it. This is exactly what has been in my thoughts as I strive to empower, support, and instruct. It has come up in recent discussion as I am currently working with several MSW students who are at the end of their program requirements, set to transition into opportunity. What will this transition look like? What opportunities will present themselves? How can I cope with the uncertain and unknown? Will I be ready? These are just some of the questions that come up as one prepares to transition into opportunity. A process that can provide challenge, learning, and much needed growth!
It is important to recognize that there are two different processes going on here. One would be transition (the idea of change) and the other would be the opportunity that will present itself. You have to be able to respect the change, and the various forces that come with it, while being open to the idea of the possibilities and learning that can present themselves, this is opportunity. The difficult part here is that change and the uncertain/unknown are often factors that produce fear, anxiety, and other stressors that can (and do) impact us in a challenging manner. Therefore, what I speak to, and what I believe is often lost when we are immersed into the idea of transition (change) are the opportunities that we don’t plan for or expect. How many times have you heard “I never thought this would happen, but I am so grateful/happy/excited/ that it did.” What this means is that the expectation that you felt was necessary, had to be in place, and hoped for was not the one that presented itself. What this means is that what you wished for, what you thought you needed to have, and what may have been causing some undue pressure didn’t even make it off the ground. You see, no matter what the opportunity is, the unknown or predicted, they are both opportunities. I point this out to all of my students, and to any and all that can hear me, embrace the change, welcome the opportunity, whatever that may be, and use it in a manner that will empower you, support you, and move you forward to that place that will allow you to thrive! As I have come to learn, through many of life’ lessons, there are opportunities that may not always equate to success or achievement (in the traditional sense) but these are the opportunities that will provide you with many rewards. These are the opportunities that will enhance your development, empower you, and give you that wisdom that allows you to walk through life with your head up and heart open. There is much to experience when you transition into opportunity, as long as you can see it. I encourage you to be available and present when you are in this place and space, because when you are, you will more than likely be given opportunities that will change the quality of your life long term. The short term may seem like the most important at the time, my hope is it that you will be able to recognize and appreciate the difference, while you learn and grow in the process.
Until we meet again, be well to yourself as you move into the upcoming holiday. May you be mindful of and thankful for all the wonderful gifts that life affords, the ones that don’t cost anything other than your time and availability…