In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity, and Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

South African real estate titan Pam Golding says, “I have always believed that women can do anything they set their hearts on.” And I happen to agree with her.

However, achieving a goal isn’t always EASY. In fact, it is in the arduous journey of NOT QUITTING that we often find ourselves ARRIVING at the envisioned destination. Opportunity therefore lies in the difficult times.

This is the basis for ALL entrepreneurial endeavours. Finding a situation or story that doesn’t work and figuring out a way to innovate and monetize a solution is how ideas are born and businesses are made.

Just listen to the “How We Built This” podcast showcasing a variety of worldwide entrepreneurs. Every story is about someone facing a challenge in a normal situation or system, feeling a frustration, and then finding a solution. A solution that can also serve others and be monetized.

Take these businesses as examples…

Amazon

Apple

Uber

Airbnb

Southwest Airlines

Whole Foods

Sorbet Beauty

Any company that is thriving, or just starting out today, was once conceived in the face of adversity.

Personally, I have experienced this truth both in LIFE & in business – finding opportunity in the middle of difficulty.

Building & Selling my Own Business

From a business perspective I faced this in all my entrepreneurial endeavours. I first moved to South Africa in 2008 and there was NO work for me as a foreigner without a completed tertiary education or special skillset. I could’ve left the country, lost out on marrying the love of my life and building a family with him, but what I instead did was MAKE my own job. I had always worked in promotional spokes modelling and events so that is what I did. From this was born my company called Event Stars and from there I built and sold the business. I now speak to others on how to monetize their ideas and connect with their audience daily in a way that converts conversations to sales. I couldn’t have done this if I had quit in the midst of difficulty.

On a Personal Note – Childhood Trauma

On a personal note, I have overcome some pretty horrific childhood trauma. Moving around so much in my early years led to me to living in 8 cities by the time I was 15 – 8 new schools and new sets of friends. Not only that, but my biological family was riddled with dysfunction, drug and alcohol

abuse, physical and emotional abuse and eventually leading me to be fostered and then adopted by a new family when I was 10 years old. My childhood was split in half when my Dad drove me to a foster home at the age of ten, dropped me off, said goodbye and never saw me again.

Drawing a firm line down the middle of my youth, this critical moment outlined one truth for me – I had a CHOICE. This new reality paved for me a crossroads, which way was I going to turn? Down the treacherous road of anger, fear and victimhood? Or, finding the rich silver lining of opportunity & personal growth. What was I going to make of this situation? I chose to grow and move on. I also chose to see what all the trauma TAUGHT me.

A Chance Meeting: Zimbabwean Uber Driver

Because of overcoming my own adversity, I am drawn to the people who have beat the odds in their circumstances for my own ongoing inspiration. Today on my way home from giving a talk about raising confident kids by finding our own sense of selves and worthiness, I had a chat with my uber driver. His name is Shepherd and he is an expat with a traumatic child, just like me. He hails from from Zimbabwe.

Shepherd moved to South Africa on his own in 2006 with no friends, family or money, out of shear desperation. The first thing he did was the only choice he had – he stood at crossroads and begged for money. ONE person offered him a job and shelter. He took it, appreciated it, worked hard, learned more, gained more, saved, and got out of poverty.

He is now a Dad to his own son and decided long ago that the narrative from his perspective would be different then the one he inherited growing up. He is a successful uber driver who provides for his entire family and lives in a happy home. He spoke to me at length about the CHOICES we all have to thrive, despite our circumstances and past.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Time and again I find myself at a new crossroads. In life and in business. I know now well that IN THE MIDDLE OF DIFFICULTY LIES OPPORTUNITY BECAUSE WE ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE.

I also learned in life and in business that FAILING TO PLAN IS PLANNING TO FAIL. In determining our choices, we are allowed the opportunity to figure out the HOW. Many people avoid asking themselves the “how”? This is because fear and our inner critique often get in the way – disguised as self-doubt. “How can I achieve ALL THAT” we ask ourselves? Standing at the base of a huge mountain it is easy to look to the top and give up.

How do you combat this? Reverse engineer. Want to run a marathon but you’re only able to run 1 KM? Easy. Determine how many days you have available to train, build on what you know with the time you have. This is how you come up with a plan.

We all know by now that ROME wasn’t built in a day. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon himself, says “All overnight successes take about 10 years.” I bet you Pam Golding would have to agree with this also… get where I am going?

In every difficult situation you have a CHOICE and an opportunity. How you CHOOSE is the beginning of your plan. HOW you finally achieve the goal is your plan reverse engineered in a way that works for your trajectory.

Decide today to find opportunity in the face of difficulty and establish a plan to get you to your goal.

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Christina Masureik

Christina Masureik

Originally from the states, I moved to Cape Town in 2008 with my South African husband. Still very happy and content in Cape Town, we now have two kids together and are both desirous entrepreneurs, passionate about creating jobs and helping others.