Deb Sofield


Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities…

Share This!

Listen to Deb's Podcasts on


Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.

A few weeks ago my show was about if you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way, and, although I thought I was done with that thought, in my mind and in my quiet time I kept coming back to the BIG idea that anyone can take the steps in the right direction to do what they are called to do. What may seem impossible to others is not impossible for you. If you will, just put forth the effort to make it happen. (Remember my theme for these past few weeks: Excellence, Commitment and Action.)

And it doesn’t matter what others say or think or opine about you, you (and I) have to push past the chatter, the questioning and snarky comments and do great things within our purview—our ability or our dreams. Friends, that’s the action part that I keep talking about.

I came across the cutest cartoon—my photo for the newsletter this week—of a young kid who was taking a bath in the tub, but in his imagination he was an underwater explorer looking for great treasure. As I was writing for my show for the week, I was also speaking at a conference on the South Carolina coast and the ocean was right outside my window, so it all came together for me as I am an explorer at-heart of shells and artifacts and objects of curiosity.

My quote today is from someone who I consider to be the father of the self-help motivation movement, Dr. Orison Swett Marden. If you don’t know who he is, let me introduce you to the original publisher of Success magazine, which he started back in 1897. He is also the author of a great number of books that were the foundation of what I will refer to as the self-help motivation phenomenon.

Wikipedia sums up his big life story best when they say “Marden believed that our thoughts influence our lives and our life circumstances.”

Marden believed, “We make the world we live in and shape our own environment.”

Although he is best known for his books on financial success, he always emphasized that this would come as a result of cultivating one’s personal development, saying, “The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment; it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.” (I’m going to get back to those thoughts in a minute.)

 Marden was famous for the “frequent use of metaphors and similes in conveying ethical principles and moral lessons.” And I’ll add that “his simplicity of words and language brought his ideas home. Objects or scenes observable in nature such as rocks, marbles, streams, trees, snows, and tempests imparted a sublime, poetic depth to his writing:

The frost, the snows, the tempests, the lightnings, are the rough teachers that bring the tiny acorn to the sturdy oak…Obstacles, hardships are the chisel and mallet which shape the strong life into beauty.”

I love his quote, There are two essential requirements for success. The first is “go-at-it-iveness” and the second is “stick-to-it-iveness. Dr. Marden is my kind of guy…someone who truly understands that, within the opportunities that we are given daily, we have to do the work until it is done.

So now that you know the author of my quote for today, let’s put it into practical steps for your success. Let’s go back to his other quote,

The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment;it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.

What is the golden opportunity you are seeking? A lot of you listening today will most likely say, I want to be rich, I want to be happy or I want good health, and while those are all great goals to work for, let me add a few that most of you instinctively know or are working for in your own life.

Tony Robbins, the guy who took Orison Swett Marden’s philosophy to the 21st century, says that there are 6 human needs:

1) The need for Certainty—to feel in control and to know what is coming next.

2) The need for Uncertainty—in life we need variety or surprises. The idea is that you need something to push against to grow muscle.

3) The need for Significance—we all have a need to feel important, special, unique or needed.

4) The need for Love and connection—whether with a life partner or with friends or prayer or walking on the beach, and if none of those suit you, you can always get a dog.

5) The need for Growth—if you’re not growing you’re dying…and

6) The need for Contribution—the secret to living is giving. Life is not about me; it’s about we.

(Excerpted from T. Robbins, MONEY Master the Game)

You’ve probably been working on securing some of the human needs that I just mentioned, and I think that is great, and, by the way, if you’re not, please go back and let’s secure the basics so your foundation will be built on stone and not sand.

Now, let’s take it to the next level and choose a few big ideas that you’re working on. In your mind, can you see your big idea in completion? Can you see more than one of them or do you need to take this activity one at a time? Now that you’ve committed to making something happen in the area of your life that you’re working to grow, let’s figure out how we go about making it not only grow but make it great!

So tell me, what golden opportunity are you seeking? Assuming you’re continuing to build on the six basic human needs, what’s next?

(Radio Silence…)

I ask that because I meet so many people who have no clue what is next for them; they haven’t even thought about it. They are so focused on not only the basic human needs, but also just getting through today, that they haven’t really thought about tomorrow or a year from now or five or ten years from now. And I’ll tell you what concerns me past the next step, and that is that some today are not purposefully working towards anything because all you are doing is working to fill today. I understand that life is full and busy, but, if you are hoping for more opportunity, you have to put yourself out there to be found. It is rare that someone finds you, so, as you are contemplating the golden opportunity that you’re seeking, you need to be able to tell me what it is and then give me some sort of an idea on how you plan to get there.

I said you because you are the one who can make the changes in your life to make enough space for the new opportunities to find a home. What I love about today’s simple quote is the reminder that it is not on the outside of your life, friend, it is on the inside; it is who you really are—your core; your being; your belief in yourself. It is not luck, or chance or even the helping hand of others (as nice as that is), but it is all on you to do the work, to make the plan…to push though against all odds. Now here is where I don’t want you to stumble; it’s my quote for today.

Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.

You see so many people get caught up in wanting to do the big, showy, extraordinary things that make other people notice and you think that if it isn’t big enough no one will care (or worse yet, will not notice). We’re conditioned by the media and Hollywood and Wall Street to think that big is the only worthy path forward, but the truth is you don’t have to wait one more minute, one more hour or one more day or any timeline that you have; what you have to do is seize the daycarpe diem, my friend—and then be smart enough, wise enough, bold enough to take the common and make it great.

It is human nature to hope that some outside source will solve your internal problems. I have a friend who moves from one city to another in hopes of making it big, and over the course of time he has paid the financial, emotional and physical piper for the empty, hollow hope that in the next town someone will provide for him… or his luck will change or maybe he can find a chance to start over, and when he comes back to our town from his wasted time on the road he is further behind than when he started. Why? Because he has failed to realize that the opportunity for success comes from inside; rarely does it happen just by being in the right place at the right time. Those odds are for the lottery. (You have a one-in-175-million chance of winning Powerball lottery jackpot.) I fundamentally believe that the other reason my friend can never seem to get ahead is that deep in his heart and mind he think he is too good for common occasions—he only wants to deal in the extraordinary, and that’s a tough call. I love the extraordinary and wish it would fall out of the sky and land in your bank account, but, until it does, you’ve got to keep working, and in your work—your amazing work—find and seize common occasions and with your skills, your smarts and your story make something great.

Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

Leave a Reply


    Recently Added


    Featured On

    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap