blog 76About 12 months ago I was at a conference for entrepreneurs and investors and the speaker at the conference had a copy of the classic book Acres of Diamonds in his hand… He shared a bit of the story and then he asked a room full of 250+ people “Who wants a copy?” As you can imagine just about every hand in the room shot up!

He stood there and waved the book around and asked again… “Who wants a copy of this book?” And all the out stretched arms got taller and some started to bounce up and down in their seat as voices started to call out “Me… me…pick me… pick me…” And then, all of a sudden, this woman jumped up from the third row and snatched it from his hand! How rude I thought to myself.  But then the weirdest thing happened…. Just when I thought he would ‘tell her off’ for being greedy and snatching, he congratulated her for seizing the opportunity and grabbing the book! She saw an opportunity and she acted on it rather than sitting there waiting for it to be handed to her… And that was his point!

Everyday we let hundreds of opportunities pass us by because of our self-imposed restrictions… you know the things we tell ourselves like:

  • I’m not allowed
  • I’ll get told off
  • People will judge me
  • It’s not my place, my job, my fault… and so on!

These things all relate to waiting for permission, we fear what others will think of us if we step up, stand out and ‘snatch the book’ or we worry that we might ‘get told off’. Imagine what we would achieve if we removed the fear more often and gave ourselves permission to grab the book!

Later that day we were all given a second chance and I grabbed my own a copy of the book Acres of Diamonds. The risk paid off… Not only is it a wonderful story about focusing on what you have instead of constantly chasing what you don’t, the lesson I received when I got that free little book is completely priceless!

What leadership opportunities are you letting pass you by because of self-imposed restrictions? Remember leaders do not wait for permission or position to take the lead, they seize the day by stepping up and grabbing the opportunity.