Great opportunities are never labeled as us such!
This is something that I have always believed but it was really brought home to me again yesterday when I was watching my son perform his music in a local bar.
Dan has been staying with me for 3 weeks, and we have looked to find him opportunities to play, and up to yesterday he’s had a couple of well attended shows, where he was well received and he got great feedback.
A good friend had gotten her friend to give him the opportunity to play a 1 hour show in her local sports bar, which sounded like a great opportunity. So Dan accepted and was really looking forward to it. He even wrote a new song which he would premier at the gig, as he was excited at the opportunity to play.
All that evaporated when we arrived, the bar was empty, there was just the staff, and us, even worse they had no microphone, as there was a mix up over who was supposed to bring what.
To say Dan was disappointed would be an understatement. He told us that as it was only us and there was no microphone, he didn’t think he would go on.
We tried to make light of it, joking given that as the audience would only be 6 people, the staff and the three people who came with him, there wouldn’t really be much need of a microphone so that wasn’t a good enough excuse not to perform.
Finally, Dan decided to play, he performed for around 50 minutes he gave it his all, sang with passion and power, and each of his songs was well received.
At the end of the show, one of the people who we thought was one of the staff came up to him, and said thanks for performing I really enjoyed it, and the song you finished with was awesome, it was my favourite.
Then he told us that he didn’t work here, he ran another local bar and he would love for Dan to come and play the next day at his place, and he told Dan he would look to recommend him to some of the other bars in the area.
In addition, the owner of the bar apologised, she said she didn’t realise it would be so dead, it was probably due the fair being in town which was a big attraction, and she offered Dan the chance to come back and play on the Saturday, her busiest, and she also said that she had videoed a couple of his songs and she would also send it to friends of hers who ran bars in the region who would be interested in having him play, and she would recommend him.
This turned out to be a great opportunity, and Dan now has several new opportunities to play.
Yet when he arrived, he felt that it was going to be anything but a good opportunity, just a handful of people and missing equipment. Had he chosen not to go on, not only would he have missed these new opportunities, but it would have also potentially damaged his reputation, and would be seen as someone who commits to play and then refuses when things are not to their liking.
As I mentioned at the start saying Great opportunities are never labeled as such, is something that I truly believe and have experienced myself, and as leaders it is often how we perform in these situations which define us.
It’s easy to do a great job, or look committed, when everything is going well, but it’s how we handle adversity, and difficult situations, that shows people what we are truly made of, shows our authentic selves, which can then lead to further, better, opportunities.
Often it’s the tough jobs, the dirty jobs, the jobs that look like they will fail, that are the great opportunities.
Certainly in my career taking on these jobs has helped me to build a great reputation and also develop FAST. They don’t always result in success, but they help people see what you are made of, something which taking the easy jobs never really does.
So my challenge to you, if you want to be a FAST Leader then volunteer for these less glamorous, or more difficult challenges, they will be the making of you, and will bring greater opportunities.