I’ve often been advised to “make the most of opportunities” – I’m sure you’ve been there, too. Sometimes an opportunity presents itself out of nowhere – maybe it’s an extra time commitment, maybe it’s out of your comfort zone and just when you’ve convinced yourself to pass it by, suddenly the opposing voice in your head says, “Wouldn’t this be a great experience?” In my case, the opposing voice usually wins.
I recently had a conversation with my dad about this very thing. In fact, he even quoted my opening statement. As we continued our conversation, we talked about the importance of making opportunities happen. It’s great when opportunities just pop up in front of you (Hi! I’m Mr. Opportunity!) but let’s face it – sometimes the opportunities just aren’t there. The economy struggles, organizations lose funding, no one is hiring. Have you experienced this? How do you respond?
It starts with a problem. Problems are everywhere! Pick one and figure out how you can solve it with your given skillset.
Problem: I moved to a town with no community music programs. Solution: open a piano studio (I have nine students after four months) and start two children’s choirs (I have fourteen enrolled this year). I had to think beyond my comfort zone (i.e. teaching in an established organization where marketing and administration is taken care of by someone else) but as a result of thinking entrepreneurially, I now have the flexibility to set my own schedule and create my own teaching environment.
Problem: there are no opportunities for amateur musicians to come together to play or listen to chamber music in town. Solution: start a summer chamber music workshop. I give you the Westminster Chamber Music Workshop – a week-long series of coachings, rehearsals, and special events for amateur players and choral singers in the area to come together to network, learn, and make music. Special events each night will feature guest artists in performance and lecture – free and open to the public!
It’s not always about making the most of opportunities… sometimes it’s just about making the opportunities happen.