“We need a replacement speaker for the conference Saturday, the guy who was supposed to do it isn't going to be able to make it. Can you help?”
“Sure,” was my reply.
“Thank you so much!!!”
Years of Preparation
When I first joined Toastmasters eight years ago, I would have never considered giving an hour-long workshop for a large group, much less putting that together in a few days.
Yet I barely gave this one a second thought. It would bail my friend out of a tight spot, I was going to be at the conference anyway, and I knew I could do it since I had done things like this many times before. As a bonus, every speaking opportunity helps get my name out there as a business coach.
I was able to take advantage of the opportunity because I had started practicing years ago. Instead of coming back empty-handed from the conference as I likely would have from merely attending, I came back with a list of prospects that I gathered as a result of presenting.
Eight years ago, I didn't know that I'd be interviewed on TV, radio, and podcasts. I didn't know that I would be asked to speak at various conferences, need to talk in front of my entire company regularly, or even deliver a short thank you speech at a retirement party.
I was once a horrible speaker who couldn't stand up in front of an audience without my hands shaking, but I prepared, and when opportunities knocked, I was ready.
Prepare Today for Tomorrow's Opportunities
If I had not spent the last several years practicing speaking, no one would have even considered asking me to fill in. Even if they had, I wouldn't have been able to capitalize on the opportunity because I wouldn't have been ready.
Are you doing things regularly that will set you up to take advantage of future opportunities?
Are you practicing speaking so that you can get your ideas heard or getting your finances in order so that you can invest in opportunities as they come up? Or are you sitting back thinking that you'll make up for years of preparation in two days when an opportunity comes along?
Don't wait until an opportunity comes knocking. It'll be too late then, and it might not even present itself if you're not ready. Start preparing today.