Five More Opportunities


Ten years ago the challenges you face today would probably not have arisen for you: you were likely in a different role and you probably didn’t have the skills or experience to be able to do what you can do today. In the same way, situations you found challenging then are probably routine for you now.

The abilities you have today are a direct result of the challenges you faced in the past. This means the challenges you face today are actually opportunities to develop into the kind of person you want to become.

This brings you five more options for moving forward:

  1. Apply your existing skills
    Under this option you choose to apply the skills you already have, to address the situation: to fix, improve, ignore, exit, or transform it. The so-called ‘crisis’ becomes an opportunity for you to reapply or hone the skills you already have.
  2. Develop / Improve your skills
    Here you use the situation as an opportunity to expand your abilities: perhaps by developing a new skill or by applying your existing abilities to a situation that is larger or more complex than you have faced before.
  3. Transform your abilities
    This is the ultimate opportunity: to learn the skills that could have prevented the crisis from happening in the first place. As Sun Tzu said, “The greatest general is the one who defeats an enemy without fighting.”

If none of these options seem appropriate there are two more:

  1. Ignore the situation
    Even though you could apply your existing skills, you choose to ignore or live with the situation. You do this either because it is not a priority for you to address it, or so that others can learn and develop their skills and competencies. The so-called ‘crisis’ becomes an opportunity for you to develop your abilities to prioritise, delegate, or develop your team.
  2. Remove your skills to somewhere else
    Here you choose to use the event as a trigger to move to a different role: perhaps one that has more meaning for you, that better matches your needs, or that will develop or reward you better. The ‘crisis’ now becomes an opportunity for you to take a more significant decision and become better at knowing when to quit.

Together with the five types of outcome you might choose to create, this gives you a total of ten types of opportunity you might find in any situation.

Are you facing a challenge today? Are you seeing it as a problem or as an opportunity to develop or expand your skills? How many options do you have under each heading? Which way forward is best for you now?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Andrew Blight via

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