It is one thing having access to opportunities and it is quite another thing to utilize them.
The asymmetrical demand for opportunities that are very sought after means that the process to access them is often very different from the process to utilize them. The US presidential election is a great example – getting elected and doing well as a President require two different skill sets.
While this could easily be a post on whether selection processes are aligned to performance processes, I’d like to focus on our own psychology. Too often, we spend the bulk of our time focusing on access to opportunities. There is always a next opportunity to access and, left to our own devices, life can feel like a race to move from one opportunity to the next faster than our perceived competitors.
The alternative approach is to focus on utilizing the opportunity we have right now and on being worthy of utilizing the next one. Focusing on access inevitably involves figuring out ways to play the system well and, in many cases, market yourself better. There is no way to “game” your own worth, though. This stuff is hard earned and requires focus and grit.
Inevitably, I’ve found that utilizing your current opportunity typically opens doors to the next one. Just focus on being better.. and better things follow.
Or, thinking about it in a different context – relatively, there is more of a dearth of competence than there is of opportunities. And, scarcity is the real opportunity.