ELEVATE: Creating An Opportunity Filter
“Building a successful life is more about what we don’t do than what we do.”
An Opportunity Filter works exactly the way it sounds – it provides a clear system for vetting any perceived “opportunities” or life decisions to make sure they are actually going to get us where we want to go. They work based off what we define as important and a priority in our life, where we are now and the lives we envision for us. Here is a visual overview of how it works:
Most people completely miss this. They leave their lives to “chance” or “gut feelings”. Opportunities are taken based on the loudest need in that movement – money, time, etc.
A bullet that is fired one inch off it’s target ends up 6 feet off it’s target at 300 yards. If we are aiming for the wrong things with the wrong motives – we will always end up in the wrong place – always far away from where we want to be.
I’ve started many, many businesses that have failed. I hadn’t yet learned to build and use a filter and it was such an exhausting phase in my life. I used my “gut” and went after anything and everything that I felt could deliver what I wanted – money, stuff, etc. I completely ignored everything else including understanding the impact on my family, energy levels, financial resources, etc.
I can remember one entire year where I worked from home with trying to close giant real estate deals. I literally brought in no income, strained our finances, relationships and couldn’t even pay rent. All I did was talk on the phone every day with other wishful real estate people trying to close multimillion dollar deals. I even called the bank a couple time asking they could receive million dollar wires because I was so sure my ship would come in. Nope. They were all bogus deals. I just wasted a lot of time.
The point – if I had actually applied my opportunity filter, I wouldn’t have even considered this as an “opportunity”. Yes it looked sexy with big potential payouts that could feed the biggest ego but it almost destroyed my marriage, caused financial chaos for us and sunk me into a pretty deep depression.
An opportunity filter is critical because it provides instant clarity when built correctly and applied. It is like the guardrail that keeps us from going off the cliff. On top of that it removes a ton of mental and emotional energy exhausted in evaluating opportunities. We tend to look for change when we are in emotionally, mentally and physically altered states – like we need change NOW. Conserving our energy is very important since change will require an investment in those resources.