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The definition of “opportunity” is a set of circumstances that make it possible to do something.

However, that definition leaves out something crucial: your thoughts.

There are people with extraordinary circumstances all around them, but they will never turn those circumstances into opportunities without thoughts that bring awareness to them.

You currently have opportunities waiting to be presented to you and opportunities waiting to be created.

You also have opportunities in your past that you missed.

In this episode, learn how to bring awareness to the opportunities available to you and how to take action on them. I share the three different types of opportunities, why you might not be seeing all of them in your life, and how to change that.

If you are interested in becoming a Certified Life Coach and becoming your own example of awesome, there is no better time than now. Check out our Coach Certification Program today!

What you will discover

  • The three categories of opportunities.
  • The power of looking back at the opportunities you missed in the past.
  • Why you might not see all the opportunities available to you.
  • How to make the most of all the opportunities around you.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo episode 479.

Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Hey beautiful friends. I am so happy to talk to you today. As we speak, it is a beautiful morning for me in Bora Bora in French Polynesia. And it has been a dream of mine to come here for years. I have wanted to come and get one of these little huts and sit on the ocean and be in a plunge pool and look at the view for literally as long as I can remember. Really, such a treat to be here.

And I came here to work and be inspired by all of the beauty, and it’s been amazing because I have this little area where I can set up my computer and work on my business and work on content and do recordings, and also have a gorgeous view and enjoy being able to have a job where I can literally work from anywhere. It’s so exciting.

So today, I want to talk to you about opportunities. I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about opportunities that I’ve had in my own life, and also thinking about opportunities that my clients have, and the opportunities that I have created for people and for myself.

And I hadn’t ever really thought about opportunity in quite this way, and it was interesting because we took a boat to this restaurant and while I was on the boat, I’m getting podcast ideas, which is super fun and inspiring. And I got this podcast idea when we were on a boat on the way to a restaurant called Bloody Mary’s which was around the island and one of the coolest places I’ve ever been.

It was just a really funky island restaurant where basically you saw all your food that they had just caught that day on plates before they were going to cook it and you just picked what you wanted them to cook and it was fantastic. So this is the Bloody Mary inspired podcast on opportunities.

So when I think about all the opportunities that I’ve had in my own life, and all the opportunities that I’ve helped create for other people, and all the opportunities that I have yet to take advantage of or utilize in my own life, I get excited. I get excited when I think about the abundance of what is available to me.

And many of you have heard me talk many times before about how I feel like so many of the opportunities that have been created for me in my life are created and have been created by the people that went before me, especially women who have created the rights and opportunities that I have as a woman to be living in the way that I am living.

And so I looked up the definition of opportunity because you know I love going to the Googles and seeing what they say, and it basically said an occasion or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. And I can’t help but think it’s more than that. It’s a set of opportunities and circumstances and thought patterns that make it possible to do something.

And there are a lot of people with some extraordinary circumstances and extraordinary occasions that do not make them into opportunities because of the way that they think about those circumstances and occasions.

So I think we have to add that thought piece in order for something to become a true opportunity for us. And I broke opportunities down into three possible categories, and hopefully this will help you think about your own opportunities maybe in a new way.

So the first one is presented opportunities. So opportunities that are presented to us by other people. And I think many of our opportunities, especially when we’re young are presented to us by other people. You have an opportunity to go to school, you have an opportunity to go to college, you have an opportunity to meet certain people, to play certain sports, to learn certain things. And these are opportunities that are kind of put in front of you as options of opportunities that you can choose to do or not.

The second category is found opportunities. So these aren’t opportunities that are necessarily presented to you, but they’re opportunities that you find out about and you create for yourself.

The example that comes to mind immediately for me is when I was a child. I really loved horses and I wanted to ride horses and be on a ranch and be around horses, and a friend of mine had told me about Buck Norred Ranch, this ranch that she had gone to and rented horses and was able to ride horses.

And I went to my mom and I said, “Hey, I found this opportunity to ride horses, I want to go and ride horses,” and so I was able to then go to Buck Norred Ranch and actually ended up working there for years as a trail guide and a hand to the horses and the trail program that they had over there.

And I later became a student of three-day events and did lots of really cool horseback trips and horse riding trips and horse shows and all sorts of things because I found that opportunity for myself.

And then the third one is really created opportunities where maybe the opportunity doesn’t already exist and maybe it’s not presented to you, but it’s one that you create for yourself. A great example of that for me would be The Life Coach School, my career as a life coach that I really put together in a way that was unique and provided myself with the opportunity of something that has been extraordinary for me.

So when you think about your life and when you think about the opportunities that maybe you seized in your own life, think about how many of those opportunities were presented to you, how many did you discover and find, and how many of those did you create through your own mind and through interacting with possibilities that you then created into opportunities for yourself?

I am new to thinking about it in these three categories, but as I sit here, I wonder if the created opportunities or the ones that we discover for ourselves are ultimately going to be the ones that we will have found most satisfying, versus the ones that maybe were presented to us, that we took advantage of.

I will say that I think there are so many people that I run into, my clients and my friends, just acquaintances who don’t really understand the power of found and created opportunities. They simply wait to see what is presented to them as something they may or may not be able to do.

And I think many times, people are lucky in that they happen to be presented with the opportunities that are true want matches for their life and they end up having a very satisfying, amazing, abundant life with an opportunity that was presented to them.

But I always wonder, but are there opportunities that they could have put effort into finding that may have been better or different or more aligned? Or even better yet, could they have created an opportunity for themselves?

And if we think about our opportunities in this way, I think we can look into our past and kind of see our patterns on how we’ve interacted with the world and how we’ve used the opportunities that have been available to us to evolve or not.

And the other piece of this that I find an incredible tool for awareness is what are the opportunities that maybe you denied. They were maybe presented to you and you denied them, or even more interestingly, what are the opportunities that were maybe available to you that you didn’t even see.

You didn’t find them or you didn’t create them, but now in retrospect, when you look back, you can see, “Oh my gosh, there were so many different opportunities that I just couldn’t see because I wasn’t conscious, I wasn’t aware, I didn’t know to go discover them, I didn’t know to take those chances.”

I know for me, there are many opportunities that I think I denied myself when I was younger because I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t have the thinking to help me interact with taking advantage of some of the amazing options that I had, invitations that I had in my life because I was too afraid of failing or I was too afraid of maybe overspending money, or too afraid that I wasn’t good enough for.

And I think sometimes when we go back and we look at the opportunities that we missed, it can help us be more preventative moving forward, maybe really opening up our consciousness to consider the opportunities that we have in our lives to have the most extraordinary, different type of experience in this one life that we live.

I think a lot of shows that show despair, they show people in tremendous despair that kind of lose the will to live and they lose the connection that they had with their identity, a lot of times these tragic shows that I watch, I always want these people to just completely reinvent themselves.

It’s like, okay, so you lost all your money in the stock market, but why don’t you just move to a completely different country now and restart your life in a completely different way? There are so many opportunities for us as humans on this planet that if something doesn’t work out in one little area, there’s just the options, the opportunities that you can create and discover are tremendous.

And oftentimes I think we’re very narrow-minded in what we see our opportunities for our lives because we’re very focused on only the opportunities that are right in front of us that are presented to us.

I did a course called Reinvention and one of the exercises that we did in this course that was really profound for a lot of people was to really understand the limited possibilities that were kind of in our viewfinder when we made choices about our lives.

And how I asked people like, “What is your favorite color?” One of the examples was what is your favorite color, and how many options do you consider when you’re thinking about what your favorite color might be?

And for most people, it’s a dozen colors. It’s not a lot of colors. It’s just a very limited amount of options that we give ourselves to consider. So I had looked up how many total options are there to choose from and it was a decillion options, the number of colors that there are in the world.

And I feel like it’s kind of the same for us with the options of possibilities, the opportunities that we look at in our own lives is how many options do we actually give ourselves? How many opportunities have we considered to find or to create for ourselves?

And I do think doing the exploration of our past to see maybe the ways we could have gone, the people we could have met, the trips we could have gone on, the things we could have studied. One that comes to mind for me right now is I feel like I missed out on the opportunity when my kids were young to have them be bilingual.

I have friends that their children are easily bilingual because it’s easy for small children to learn languages. Much easier than it is for older people like us to learn languages because of the brain development. And so I wonder if that was an opportunity that I had there that I didn’t know about, and what could I have done when I was younger?

Are there things that I could have done when I was younger, when I was learning, when I was studying, when I was considering majors for school, what are the opportunities that I didn’t even consider to consider?

And as I talk to my children now, I talk to Christian and Connor, my sons, about their lives. They’re in their early 20s. What are the possibilities that maybe they could consider? Have I done my job as a parent to really open their mind to the opportunities there are in this world?

Not just limited to what most people are doing, or to how most people see their life, but what could they create as an opportunity that maybe no one else has ever presented to them that they haven’t considered, that they’re literally creating from the creativity of their own mind?

And what about that for us? For whatever age we are, for wherever we are in our life, and especially for how much sunk cost we might have into a current trajectory or direction, are we willing to consider exploring different opportunities within maybe the life we’ve created for ourselves but also outside of it in brand new ways?

And I think sometimes it’s scary for us to explore. I could move to Bora Bora and I could start a company here, or I could travel the world for the rest of my life. Or I could live in a hotel, which I’ve heard is possible and sounds amazing.

Or I could buy a house in a state that I’ve never lived before. That’s an opportunity for me. And I think for me, one of the considerations that has been really - since I turned 50, one of the considerations that I have been really thinking about in terms of the opportunities that I have available in my life is doing very different things.

And that’s one of the reasons why I have been doing a lot of traveling. If you listened to the podcast, the 5 Questions to Ask Yourself, what are some of the things you want to start doing in your life?

And one of them has been for me, traveling and seeing different parts of the world and how different people live, and how different people approach their lives, and how they think about happiness, and how they think about pain, and how they think about their own relationships, and how in so many different countries and different places, it’s so different than the way I think. And what can I learn and how can I evolve from just having the opportunity to meet different people?

So when you think about what are the opportunities in this life for you, how many opportunities have you considered? And how many of those opportunities are created? How many of them could you find? And how many have to be presented to you?

If you’ve ever heard me talk about the concept of an idea baby where you kind of take two unrelated ideas and put them together and it comes up with a brand new idea, brand new perspective, I think about that a lot with my opportunities in my life as a woman right now. To live a completely different identity within this one life.

So all of us do, right? We identify, many of us, as students, and then we identify maybe as a daughter, as part of a family. And then we maybe identify as a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, or a wife, or a partner, and then maybe a mother or a father, a parent. And then we kind of re-identify ourselves as we go through those phases.

And I think when we’re only looking for opportunities that are presented to us in our society, the way that it is set up, we may feel like the older we get the more limited our opportunities are. But I have actually felt the opposite to be true. I can’t have more kids but I already have two kids. I don’t want any more kids.

So I’m able to kind of go into what can I do from here? What can I do that’s brand new, that is an incredible experience? What are the opportunities that I have?

Now, there may be thousands of opportunities and I think brainstorming those opportunities that I have is really cool. And it will depend on how your health is. It’ll depend on your energy level. It’ll depend on how much money you have. It’ll depend on your experience, on what opportunities there may be for you.

And then what I recommend that you do is once you’ve explored all the different opportunities, maybe give yourself an hour to just brainstorm opportunities in your life. And be outrageous. Be exciting. What we did in the Reinvention program is we’re like, maybe you can become a realtor, maybe you can become a school teacher, maybe you can become a fitness coach. All the different things that you could possibly do.

And then accessing within you what lights you up, where is your desire, where do you feel that ignition happen. I think one of the fascinating things for me that has happened over the past couple years are certain things that used to - I used to be so passionate about. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Certain types of books and certain types of reading and certain walks and certain hikes, I’ve lost interest in some of those things. And those passions have kind of run their course in my life, and I think it can be discombobulating when maybe something that used to ignite your ambition or ignite your excitement and you thought was such a part of you all of a sudden isn’t there anymore. It isn’t interesting to you anymore.

Then it’s like, who am I now? And I’ve lost those things, and therefore I’m depleted, I’m less than, versus thinking, “Oh my gosh, what are the next opportunities? What is the next evolution? What are the things that light me up now that maybe I didn’t even think about as opportunities before?”

I never even thought that maybe I’d want to do this, or that, or have this career, or have this other career, or start this kind of business. I think most of you who listen to this podcast, I didn’t even know to think about pickleball being a passion. I didn’t even know about it. I didn’t have any idea that I was going to identify myself as somebody that loves to play pickleball, and if I could play every single day, I would, and I would like to have a house that has a pickleball court in it. Who knew?

There’s an opportunity for me. And the opportunities to meet different people, and to practice this sport, and to go to pickleball camps and pickleball classes, and the opportunity to injure myself in seven different new ways that I didn’t even know you could injure yourself in. And the number of people I’m following on pickleball Instagram things.

And that was one that I kind of found. It wasn’t presented to me. I found that. And then to find that passion and then to create the opportunity to be able to play so much more, and to kind of build time around something that is so fun and exciting for me to do.

So this is something that I think we have to have a little bit of courage around when we’re looking at new versus old, familiar opportunities. It’s kind of like that idea of if you’re only doing what you’re comfortable at, you’re only doing what you’re good at, you may miss out on an opportunity because of the way that you’re thinking about it.

And so a lot of times we’ll wait until there’s an opportunity for a job promotion. We’ll wait until someone says, “Oh okay, this position has opened up,” versus creating a position within the company and presenting that position and creating that opportunity for yourself.

One last thing that I think is pretty powerful for me as I reflect back on creating opportunity for myself is also seeing that I can create opportunities for other people in the work that I do and in the process of creating opportunity for myself, I can create it for people that I love around me.

For example, creating positions in my business for money and contracted money and employee money and opportunities within my organization that wouldn’t have existed for the employees in my organization had I not created that opportunity for myself.

Being able to create the opportunity for my kids and their friends to be able to travel all over the world and fly on private jets if they haven’t done that before, and stay in really amazing, exotic locations. I just sent Connor and all of his friends to Japan for his graduation gift. Being able to create that opportunity for them.

But I think most importantly, the opportunities that I’ve created are opportunities to think in a different way. That’s one of the things that I've done on this podcast. I’ve created an opportunity for you to maybe think about yourself and your life in a way that you hadn’t before.

You hadn’t thought about maybe liking yourself as much as you do, or you hadn’t thought about creating new opportunities for yourself. And I think finally, it’s creating my own pathway that has shown other people that they have the opportunity to have a similar life in some ways to mine, and being an example of what is possible has really I think been one of the joys of my life.

And so if you think about creating opportunities as not just something that you’re doing for yourself but also something that gives back to the world, I think it makes us think in much more creative, interesting, and shall I say, opportunistic ways, in really looking at how limited we may have been thinking about our own lives and that there are opportunities all around us.

And there’s more opportunity than there has ever been at any other time in history for more people than there’s ever been, and that isn’t perfect yet and not everyone has the same opportunities and equal opportunities that they should have, but it’s way better than it’s ever been in so many ways for women like me who want to work at home and want to have the freedom to choose the life that we want to live.

So as we keep working on creating more freedoms for everyone and more equality for everyone, I also don’t want us to forget the opportunities that were created for us, that are available to us now to explore and to really decide and take advantage of.

So enjoy this process of considering your own opportunities for your own life. Appreciating the opportunities that maybe have been presented to you, the ones that you have found, and also the ones that you have created.

Have an amazing week everyone. I’ll talk to you from my next location, which isn’t Bora Bora. Talk to you then. Bye.

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