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  • 25 Aug 2020 12:15 | Simona Patap (Administrator)

    I would like to share with you some key points I have picked from Mark Cole's (CEO of John C. Maxwell companies) speech on becoming a better Opportunity Optimizer.

    An opportunity optimizer is someone who sees opportunities others could see but they don't, and maximizes these opportunities more than other people!!

    The question is: How does one who is driven to create a plan from A to B puts the plan aside and begins to envision with opportunities? How do you turn those opportunities into results?

    Winston Churchill said: "To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour."

    Here we are, today's crises are tapping us on our shoulders. It's our time. It is time to make things better and brighter.

    but ...

    How do you then prepare for something that you can't see coming?


    You have to know how an opportunity looks like

    Let's go back 8 months ago, did anybody forecast that we will be staying at home, that our businesses would be looking differently?

    If Mark would have the option to go back to January 2020 with the piece of knowledge that he had learned today he wouldn't change a thing because these crises have empowered him to optimize opportunities! There was no way he could have learned how to pivot in better times than now and take his leadership to the next level.

    And these are the times where leaders have the options to either:

    • see crises, find excuses, feel discouragement, and therefore unable to discover hidden opportunities
    • or can take a leap of faith and face the crises, accept the challenge, confront the problem, and find the hidden opportunity in that difficulty! These leaders will see the opportunities in distractions others won't see!

    Opportunity optimizers see More More and More before others!

    An opportunity optimizer:

    • see things others don't see,
    • hear things others don't hear,
    • believe things others do not believe,
    • say things others do not say.

    What separates the opportunity optimizer from the rest?

    Here you have 10 elements which make an Opportunity Optimizer:

    1. sees opportunity in Problem - are you focusing on the problem or are looking for the opportunity?
    2. sees opportunities in Crises - most crises are opportunities either to advance or to stay where you are.
    3. sees opportunities in Challenges - if you have a flight or fight mentality you are not going to see opportunities! Statistically, during hard times most people are thinking of security more than seeking opportunities. The toilet paper rush this year in Germany was all about this.
    4. see opportunities in Change - There is no normal anymore. Today assessment of new normal is already outdated tomorrow! If you do not believe it, think that the most quoted statement of 2020 leaders is "I do not know": When shall we get back to work? - I do not know, Shall we wear a mask or no? - I do not know, Is this a crisis or no? - I do not know. Are you ready to embrace change, are you ready to do things differently?
    5. see opportunities in Excuses - for John C. Maxwell, this is the best time to be a leader: "Mark you have to try everything. (...) I'm envious of you leading right now" - Why? - "Because you can try everything and get away with it!" So what John sais is if you need an excuse for why something did not work or why something did not bring a return - now is your time! An opportunity optimizer does not let reasons (budget cuts, traveling ban, contract cancelations ...) become excuses. There are many reasons to feel uncertain - when you let the excuse to struggle become an excuse to struggle, you settle on the excuse and do not reach for the opportunity.
    6. see opportunities in Rejection - rejection breeds rejection and rejected people rejects people. None of us like rejection but a lot of us when we feel unwanted we do not look for opportunities. But if you and I are waiting for acceptance to look for opportunities we will never gain the ground and produce the results we were intended to produce, because you cannot allow rejection to stop you from pursuing an opportunity. If somebody is rejecting you and what you are bringing to the table is a good chance that your opportunity is somewhere else.
    7. the opportunity lies in Hard Work - opportunities are usually disguised in hard work that's why many people do not see them.
    8. sees opportunities in Obstacles - there is little difference between obstacles and opportunities. Do not focus on obstacles instead look for the opportunity.
    9. sees opportunity in Failure - Do you take failure as final or do you take failure as an opportunity to start over smarter?
    10. See opportunities despite the wrongdoing - forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Elbert Hubbard once wrote: "A retirement memory may be a good thing but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness. Successful people forget they know the past is irrevocable they are running a race, they cannot afford to look behind, there eye is on the finish line. The nominos people forget, they put it behind they are too big to let little things disturb them. They forget easily. Even if anyone does them wrong they consider the source and keep their cool. Is only with small people who cherish revenge. Be a good forgetter. Business dictates it and our success demands it.” If we can understand that forgiveness releases from the nightmare of the past, it will help us reclaim the opportunities of our future.

    Now go back to the 10 rules and identify 2 or 3 and improve them in the next weeks. You cannot focus on distractions and challenges, there is too much work to be done in these times. Change the way you see things and the things you see will change!

    The ability to see opportunities in challenging times is a muscle and like every other muscle of the body has to be worked out otherwise it atrophies.

    What is the mindset of an Opportunity Optimizer?

    1. Boldness and Courage - decide what you want and act as if is impossible to fail
    2. Understand the magic of Advanced Attraction - when you know who you are and what you want then you know what type of people you will attract and the things you will discover! You need to see success before you experience success. With your mind, you have to think things that will help you get where you want to go, with your eyes, you have to see things that will get you what you want, with your heart you will feel the things you will get, with your life you will attract things and people that will get you where you want to go.
    3. The power of Yes - by saying yes to opportunities when you get them rather than focusing on the distractions you get a head start. It increases your capacity, pushes us outside our comfort zone.
    4. The necessity of Building a Door - Are you surviving in this crisis waiting for the magic door to open? Are you for eliminating distractions and building doors of opportunities? Where do you want a door? Where do you want to put in your life a door that will open an opportunity for your future? A mindset should be - I am not waiting for doors to open for me, I will open doors for me!

    The past is yours - learn from it

    The present is yours - Fulfill it

    The future is yours - Preserve it

    Knowledge is yours - Use it

    Injustice is yours - banish it

    Ignorance is yours - eliminate it

    War is yours - stop it

    Hope is yours- affirm it

    Your country, your community is yours - transform it

    The world is yours - serve it

    Truth is yours - know it

    The dream is yours - claim it

    Injustice is yours - banish it

    Take the opportunities and inherit the world!


    The information is a summary of Mark Coles's speech for the Mentoring team at Think Tank Day - JMT


  • 28 Aug 2018 11:21 | caroline Dreier (Administrator)

    There is Nothing Permanent Except Change. - Heraclitus

    With the PWN Munich Annual General Meeting (AGM) coming in November, change is on my mind.

    Today, I walked against a hard steady wind. It was rough going, even sometimes causing me to break a sweat to forge ahead. I’ve faced forceful winds before, I know there are ripping blasts and patches of quiet before another gust. I know that at the end of this walk in the wind I will feel triumphant to reach my destination.

    The walk today reminds me how I’ve pushed adversity away to reach my goal of helping women grow, lead the way and develop into the leaders we really truly are.

    Wind represents the pushback and resistance to change which most leaders and managers feel when driving new behavior. Leaders are people, we feel our own internal battle to resist change but like any strong-willed person knows – once you revoke the power of resistance, the real transformation can kick-in.

    It’s feeling that has been with me since becoming PWN President over a year ago. From the beginning I felt it: PWN Munich need to change. From the very first time I said those words aloud, there have been those who embraced it, but far more who rejected it.

    It’s Time to Do or Die

    This year we’ve re-shaped the network, our Board, the way we operate. It was something we had to do and at each step we’ve met opposition and doubts: “We’ve always done it this way. Let’s accept the way we do things otherwise we risk setting ourselves apart.”

    I’ll admit that I pushed against the storm and it exhausted me. At the moment when I was most tired and ready to give in, inspiration hit—I learned something crucial: the key to overcoming wind isn’t to push harder against it, but find a way to make it work for you.

    In this moment of struggle, one of our Volunteer Members, Julia Alsua asked, “How can we make friction work for us?” For me, the answer to using resistance in your favor is to determine why people are adverse to it in the first place and then understand how to overcome adversity, start moving and realizing, “Hey it is challenging but I CAN handle it!”.

    Resistance is “muscle memory”, we instinctually know the pain associated with shaking things up, the backlash and resulting consequences of doing so. The simple process of thinking about achieving something new, creates a mental construct. We need proactivity—to recall the feeling of achievement and success to spur us on.

    I wake up every day believing I CAN do it, that failure is not an option. If I’m feeling weak, I leverage a strong network structure like PWN to provide an environment for me to practice, train and test my ability to catch the wind and use it for our benefit at work, home, anywhere.

    Force Multipliers and a Different Approach

    I’m using wind to work for us, changing the approach to challenges, listening to PWN Member voices and sharing the future vision of this network.  A future which considers Member needs, aspirations and challenges; personal and professional. The results are resounding, we have gathered a growing cast of supportive Members, Volunteers and PWN Board.

    Our supporters are growing, becoming multiplied by their network, who share our vision and push for change positively affecting their work and life. Our interactions and engagements, are enabling us to pick up steam, add members and make positive, sustainable changes.

    Annual General Meeting

    On 4 Nov, we will host the AGM. This is our moment of truth + transparency where we architect the new reality of our network. Members are invited to have their voices heard.

    We will review initiatives, direction and financials status giving our Members a view into the inner-workings and preview into upcoming milestones.

    WE NEED YOU THERE. It’s imperative that we have at least 75% of our member base in attendance in person or via proxy.  Be sure to register with us for the AGM and stay for networking afterwards.

    Using the Wind to Drive Us

    On 11th November 2017, we adopted a “less is more” strategy:  becoming an interlocked team focused on delivering objectives to Members and transforming to one of most influential international, professional networks in Munich.

    • Grew 56 members to 120 Premium Members and 15 Corporate Members
    • Hosted sold out networking (5), inspirational speakers (5) and development workshops
    • Developed cross functional relationships with WiBD and supported the FiDAR petition for equal pay in Germany
    • Started a Mentorship Program pilot with 8 Mentor / Mentee pairs in 2017 and grew to 80+ participants in 2018 editions,  representing all industries and levels up to C-Suite to support our expanding successful Program
    • Established Leadership Program pilot for our volunteers who take responsibilities in running, growing and structuring our network
    • Continue to deploy a digital roadmap and facilitate Membership Services with a new website
    • Signed Corporate Partnerships with European Business School, TE and Gemalto.

    I’m proud of our successes and our learnings. I feel stronger everyday as we continue on our path, aware that the wind is always there and that together we will strive for change, progress and diversity. Each of you are empowered and encouraged to keep moving forward and stay focused—be leaders who know how to use wind to speed ahead!

    Looking forward to seeing you at the AGM in November!

    All the best,



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