Our lives are really full of countless opportunities. When opportunity knocks, we get to choose whether or not we open the door. Some of us welcome new opportunities, and even thrive on them. While others let them come and go without a thought, holding tightly to the familiar, the comfortable, the known. As we step forward into the New Reality, and take part in creating a new way of living, now is a great time to consciously become more open and receptive to new opportunities.
I think most of us would say that we are always open to opportunity, right? But the key word I am pointing to here is “open.” The opportunity we are talking about is simply about opening ourselves to the flow of energy, information, and guidance that supports us. Are we open to it? Secondly, the opportunity is about allowing ourselves to be exposed and vulnerable. (Oh no, not that!) Are we open to that? Vulnerability can be a very powerful opportunity in our life, and scary at the same time!
So, let’s talk about the openness to opportunity. What does it mean? One dictionary defines openness as, the free expression of one’s true feelings and opinions. Another source defines it as, an undisguised or unconcealed state. Wikipedia says, Openness is an overarching concept or philosophy that is characterized by an emphasis on transparency and free unrestricted access to knowledge and information as well as collaborative or cooperative management and decision making rather than a central authority. Openness can be said to be the opposite of secrecy.
“Opening” also equates to vulnerability. Being vulnerable is part of being an authentic person. We are vulnerable and authentic when we wear our heart on our sleeve, so to speak. We don’t let ourselves hide behind conventional societal mores or personal conditioning about what and how much to reveal to others about how we are feeling, thinking, or being. Opening ourselves is a balancing act.
I remember long ago when I realized I wanted to be the real me and to just be who I am, doing what I do. I decided that people would either like me or not. And if folks did like me, they would like ME, not my pretenses, not my affectations, not my ego or personality, but me, for who I am as a human being. Now that is being open and vulnerable, because anyone can get to you. At least that is our fear. So, let’s analyze it a bit.
Why would we want to be more open and how can that help us, particularly in our professional world?
It could be quite risky to express how we truly feel. However, as the old saying goes, people like to do business with people they know. It is the way we share ourselves with others, either open or closed, that lets people get a feel for who we are.
Yes, we do business with many people we don’t know well, as often as not in another location, many miles from us. There are many tasks that theoretically do not require people skills. However, eventually, there is some kind of contact with another human being. Are you able to get out of your head and beyond your opinions to interact with that person? Are you able to sidestep your disagreement with an operational or system process, challenging client or fellow employee, and be open to seeing the situation another way?
Being open, authentic, and vulnerable offers us many opportunities to contribute to the success of our business, as well as the success and growth of our personal relationships.
As we become more open and authentic, others feel that from us and tend to respond in kind, thereby creating more honest and open communication. Also, when we are motivated and open to seeking new experiences, as well as engaging in self-examination, we are able to express more authenticity. This authenticity creates a fluid style of consciousness that allows us to make novel associations between remotely connected ideas. Closed people by contrast are more comfortable with familiar and traditional experiences. Basically, brilliant ideas and strokes of genius come to those who are open.
When we function as openly and authentically as possible, we offer everyone around us the opportunity to contribute to the overall success of any relationship or project or business deal. We boost trust and engagement.
Being open, authentic, and receptive creates opportunity, both personally and professionally. Sometimes one simple opportunity taken can change the course of our entire lives, in wonderful and unexpected ways.