When your opportunity comes you have to be prepared to jump.

Every opportunity has a time constraint. If you don’t jump, you miss out. You have to be ready and willing to act when the chance comes along. Which means that before the opportunity arrives you have to prepare yourself.

The Start-Up Opportunity

I had thought a lot about starting my own business over the course of my career. Then one day an opportunity came my way. A former client called me and encouraged me to start my own advertising agency so that we could work together again. Two hours later another former client called me with the same conversation.

After checking my office for candid cameras and Ashton Kutcher, I realized I wasn’t being punked. The opportunity to start my own business had arrived. I quickly arranged phone calls and meetups with other former-and-potential-future clients. I discovered there was great interest in what I was planning to do. And Morris Day told me this was the time.

So I jumped. I launched The Weaponry. I have been growing and improving it, and preparing for new opportunities ever since. The key was that I was ready to roll when the opportunity pulled up and asked if I wanted to get in.

The Opportunity Party

The COVID-19 crises and the economic fallout have created unprecedented opportunities. Great businesses in many categories have disappeared during these unusual times because they weren’t prepared for this storm. But the storm will pass.

For the vast majority of the businesses that have failed the issue was a short term demand issue. And those ready and willing to step in and fill the demand on the other side will find the opportunity of a lifetime. And I don’t mean television for women.

The health and economic crisis of 2020 has also created amazing new opportunities. Did you own a face mask before this year?  Have you ever seen so much plexiglass? Or hand sanitizer? Or stickers on the ground saying stand here?

There are new needs that are not being met yet (like perhaps the 2-Yard Stick). There are also new wants. Like the want to be connected to others. To socialize. To get away from home and still feel safe. To exercise in a non-frightening way. To laugh more. To watch sports with a community. Take on any of these opportunities now before someone else does.

Hot & Cold

Remember that hot coffee and hot chocolate are only hot for a short time. The same holds true for ice-cold beer and ice-cold lemonade. If you don’t drink them quickly the opportunity to enjoy their perfect state passes you by.

Key Takeaway

Prepare yourself to take action before opportunities come along. Read, train, learn, network, save, and build up your confidence so you are ready to take action when your time comes. Then don’t dilly or dally. Don’t miss your opportunity. Jump. Make things happened. Find your happiness, your money, your purpose, your calling. And do it quickly. Before the opportunity slips away.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

This is a great time if you are great.

I know that right now the COVID-19 crisis feels terrible. It certainly feels bad If you lost your job. It feels bad if you are worried that your business may run out of money before the shutdown runs out of days. It feels bad if your life and career have been disrupted. And it feels bad if you were a high school or college senior during the Lost Spring of 2020.

Great Things Ahead

However, in the next phase things are going to be very interesting and exciting for great people. People like you, Gatsby and Tony The Tiger. There has been so much disruption and so much change that things won’t simply go back to the way they were before. For great people, things will become much better.

The job losses have surged past 30 million people. That’s not good. But it means millions of roles will need to be filled when the giant economic machine turns on again. Which is great, if you are great.

It’s Showtime For Rockstars

There are rockstars who felt stuck in their jobs who have suddenly been lodged free. You may be one of them. Your best chapter is still ahead. And this just freed you up to prepare for it.

man in blue suit
If you are a rockstar it’s time to take the stage.

The Replacements

This is going to be exciting. Companies that weren’t well-positioned to survive the COVID-19 crisis will be replaced by better companies who are smarter, more innovative, and more prepared. Many of these next-gen companies will be owned by the same people who owned the last-gen companies that failed. Except the great leaders will come back better for what they have learned.

Falling Into Favor

Entire industries will be disrupted. New opportunities will spring like, well, spring. And skills, locations and employee-types who had fallen out of favor, like Suzy Favor, will be favored once again. Companies will make big bets on on-shoring before they take on the risks of off-shoring or Pauly Shoring again. This means more opportunity for you, buddy…

There will be millions of people who have nothing to lose by starting their own businesses. Many of them will become wildly successful. This may be you, Wild Thang.

woman in yellow shirt sitting on brown wooden floor
If you are great, the future is so bright, you’ve gotta wear shades. And yellow.

The Dickinsonian Twist

Great stories will emerge about how this great disruption, which looked like the bleakest of times, turned out to be a blessing to so many. This could be your story. This should be your story.

Restacking The Deck

We are about to enter the great reshuffling. Prepare now. Because those great people who position themselves well during this timeout will be the winners. You simply have to be willing to make a move. Take a chance. Start something new. Or simply make a few phone calls. As JFK once said, ‘Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.’ And now is the time to make things happen, captain!

When we begin hearing the success stories that come out of the COVID-19 crisis, many people will kick themselves, or smack themselves, V-8 style, and think, I should have thought of that. Or,  I should have done that. Or worse, I thought of that, but didn’t do that. And now I see what I missed out on. Please, don’t be that kid.

Key Takeaway

Position yourself well for the opportunities to come. They will be transformative for those prepared to catch the wave. Greatness will be rewarded. Boldness will be rewarded. So will open-mindedness, creativity and innovation. So raise your hand now. And make sure the greatest opportunity of your lifetime doesn’t pass you by.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Want amazing success? Do what long jumpers do.

The long jump is one of my favorite track and field events. Not only is it one of the most entertaining, aside from the 100-meter dash, it is the easiest for a non-participant to relate to.

Real Life Applications

Long jumping may also be one of the most useful skills in track and field. Imagine you are visiting Hawaii on vacation and a crack in the Earth opens up between you and your coconut drink. It would be really useful to be able to jump over the fissure and save your drink. I think that happened to Carl Lewis once.

My Rockstar Jumpers

I was lucky to be a part of the track and field team at the University of Wisconsin. And I had some teammates who were really good at the long jump. Here is a list of the notable Badger long jump marks when I was in school.

  • Sonya Jenson: 19 feet 11 inches
  • Heather Hyland: 20 feet 5 inches
  • Jeremy Fischer: 24 feet 8 inches
  • Maxwell Seales: 25 feet 2 inches
  • Reggie Torian: 26 feet 2 inches.

To fully appreciate how good these marks are simply go out in your yard and see how far you can long jump today.

There are 4 things to love about the long jump.

1. The crowd clap.  The crowd watching a meet will often start clapping in unison to motive a jumper. The claps get faster and faster as they speed down the runway. I wish someone did this for me at work as I filled out my time sheets.

2. The run: It is fun watching a jumper accelerate towards the takeoff board. It’s kind of like the countdown for a rocket launch.

3. The jump itself: There is something primal and childlike about watching a human fly through the air self-propelled. It is pure fun. It reminds me of my adventures as a kid, jumping over creeks and jumping into piles of hay, hay, hay, like Fat Albert.

4. The landing (or what I would have called the sanding): What goes up must come down. Watching the jumper hit the ground again, usually in a spray of sand, is good dirty fun.

Will+Claye+Paris+Diamond+League+August+2019
Will Claye is one of the best long jumpers and triple jumpers on the planet. He is coached by my college teammate at the University of Wisconsin, and very close friend, Jeremy ‘Shakes’ Fischer.

The Part Most People Overlook.

My favorite part of the long jump actually happens before any of that. It happens as a part of the competition day preparation that most people pay no attention to at all.

A long  jumper doesn’t just show up at the track, walk onto the runway, and start jumping. Instead, they have to find their starting point. To do that they have to start at the end. They go to the takeoff board, and then work their way back from there to determine where they should actually begin their approach.

Finding The First Step

Some jumpers will stand on the takeoff board itself, with their back to the sandpit, and then run down the track, away from the takeoff point, counting their steps, to find their starting point.

Other jumpers use a tape measure. They set the end of the tape at the takeoff board and unreel it until they get to their preordained measurement. Then they mark that point on the runway as their starting point.

Jeremy Fischer.png
Former Badger jumper, Jeremy ‘Shakes’ Fischer now teaches athletes to jump at an Olympic level.

Know Where You Want To End

There is magic in that process that everyone can benefit from. Because the long jumper starts at the end of the run, the most critical point in the process, and then figures out, to the inch, where they need to start to hit that point perfectly. In long jumping, if you step past the board your jump is no good. And every millimeter you are short of the board doesn’t count towards your jump. (Notice how I mixed English and metric measurement systems? That because I am bi-numeric. Which is like being bi-lingual, but not with linguals).

My Entrepreneurial Leap

Before I launched my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, I did the same thing long jumpers do. I put myself at the launch, imagining in great detail what my flight would look like once I finally jumped. Then I determined all the of the steps I would need to take in order to launch myself properly.

I figured out how much time it would take me to create everything I needed to create. I put a mark down. Then I started running, accelerating towards the launch point the whole time.

Purposeful Steps

All of my steps have been purposeful to get me the results I am after. It took me 8 months of planning from the time I decided to launch The Weaponry until I was open for business. 3 years later, The Weaponry is a multi-million dollar business and climbing rapidly. Just like I planned.

Key Takeaway

To achieve great things, start with the end in mind. Then work backwards from there. Because when you know your direction, your steps, and your takeoff point, you’ll go as far as you can possibly go. It’s all in the preparation. So put yourself in the best position to succeed. Start today by focusing on the end first. I’ll be clapping for you the whole way.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this story, please share it with them.