“I will provide you opportunity, but…”

“I will provide you opportunity, but you’re going to have to work it.”

The 27-year old district manager for the Jersey Mike’s Subs in my area smiled when he finished the sentence, and nodded an exclamation point to the statement.  Cole had been describing his approach to management and mentoring new team members when that nugget of wisdom concluded his views.  His well-chosen words should be engraved in every classroom, office environment and household, and not just for the beneficiaries of opportunity.  It applies to all who provide and who benefit from opportunity.

Managers, friends, partners and spouses find many chances to provide opportunity to those near them.  Opportunity is the open door; it is not carrying the other person across the threshold.  It is incumbent on each person, no matter what their role or status is, to provide opportunity to others.  That responsibility, that obligation, that opportunity should be taken seriously and with intentionality.

For those who receive opportunity, again, don’t expect to be carried across the threshold. Work it, as Cole so succinctly put it.  Don’t work it for a minute, or for a week, or for a 30-day self-improvement period.  Work it…as a way of life.

Sure there are benefits to providing opportunity:  good karma, pay it forward, “givers are gainers.”  Yeah, yeah.  Blah, blah.  Provide opportunity when you can and work opportunity as part of life and living.  Period.  The country you live in:  land of opportunity.  Your community—opportunity.  Your family and friends—opportunity.  Each morning you wake up—opportunity.  Opportunity for creating, laughing, healing, loving, feeling, sensing:  work it.

Thank you, Cole for the poignant reminder.

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