Excuse vs Opportunity
Coker Tires is the world’s largest supplier of vintage tires, but it wasn’t always that way. Career coach Dan Miller tells the story of how this company, which started as a traditional service center in Chattanooga in 1958, saw their business gradually erode as the big-box retailers began dominating the competition. In 1974 the owner’s son Corky took over the division of the company that produced vintage tires and saw an opportunity. At that time, only 5% of the company revenues came from the sale of vintage tires, but today the vintage division makes up 95% of the total business. Coker Tire distributes in 40 countries and has made period tires and wheels for countless movies including “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
When life knocks on your door, do you find opportunity or make excuses?
Do you allow your mind to soar into possibility thinking or do you get bogged down in the immediate and mundane?
A Refused Dinner Invitaion
I recently read of a man who turned down a dinner invitation from the president of an international organization. His excuse? “I just don’t have time…I recently purchased some investment property and I need to go look it over.” Lame? You bet. Especially when he later realized the opportunities that he passed up:
- Partnering with the owner in helping needy people throughout the world.
- Using his talents to change the world for the better.
- The promise of payment many times greater than that recent business acquisition.
- A guarantee that he would never be laid off from this job.
His excuse became even more lame when he later learned that his missed opportunity would not be offered again. If this story has a ring of familiarity to it, perhaps it is because you recognize this man from the parable in the Bible of the wedding banquet (Luke 14:15-24). “That guy really blew it” you are thinking.
You are right, of course, but the story demands introspection…is it possible that you are that man?
Opportunity or Excuses
Sometimes opportunity will be loud with much fanfare. Other times it will be subtle and shadowed. But the lesson is clear: he who approaches life looking for opportunities will find them. The excuse makers, on the other hand, will be so self absorbed in their excuses that they wouldn’t recognize opportunity if it was a flashing beacon in a dark room.
My guess is that if Corky Coker was invited to that special dinner, he would have shown up early, eager for whatever opportunities were to avail themselves.
I therefore leave you with a challenge: listen to yourself. When you hear excuses coming from your mouth, stop whatever you are doing and re-assess what you are saying. You could be passing up the opportunity of a lifetime.
Fear is often the driving force behind our excuses, so acknowledge it and refuse to let fear stop you!
Readers: Do you consider yourself more of an opportunity seeker or an excuse maker? What opportunities have you seized? When have your excuses caused you to miss out on an opportunity?