About a year ago, I watched an opportunity slip through my fingers. This was not a small matter. You see, I had been working towards this opportunity at my job for quite some time. It was a chance for international travel that would look amazing on my future resume and give me a sneak-peak into relations with clientele. At the time, most of my interactions were with consumers, doing customer service type of work: smile, agree, empathize, solve. I wanted to learn more about how to present myself in a business partnership, how to converse with business owners, and how to sell a product. Instead, I heard the words, “We’ve decided to go with someone else.” Instant insecurity set in, but I thanked them for even considering me.
Then (and this is important) I asked for suggestions about what I could do in the future to work towards similar opportunities.
A year has passed since, and I have taken on many more responsibilities for the company. This year, my name came up for another international travel opportunity, and they did choose me. In April, I flew to London with our team to attend an international convention, and present our product to a multitude of business owners and consumers.
The convention itself was really hard work, but I learned so much about the industry that I work in. It was an absolute delight to talk to business owners from around the world and proudly present a product that I believe in. Furthermore, the interaction with consumers who were excited about our product completely re-vitalized the way I look at the importance of consumer satisfaction, even in a company that deals directly with businesses and retailers only.
I had plenty of time in between work events to explore the city. I checked out Big Ben, visited Buckingham Palace and told jokes to the guards. I rode the Underground and shopped in Leicester Square. I even took a night-time Jack the Ripper walking tour, and an open double-decker bus tour.
On March 22nd of 2017, a man attacked Westminster Bridge by driving his car onto the pavement full of pedestrians. In the weeks that passed before I found myself on Westminster Bridge, a memorial had been set up outside the Palace of Westminster. I walked amongst the innumerable bouquets of flowers and heartfelt messages, and reflected. It was a beautiful and heart-wrenching display of grief, love, and solidarity.
After seeing most of London from street level, I took my asthma plagued lungs, and my infuriatingly short legs to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral. FIVE. HUNDRED. AND. TWENTY. EIGHT. STEPS. I know this doesn’t seem like a lot, however, the stairs are literal steep, winding, death traps, and I was certain that I was going to plummet to my death at any moment. Nevertheless, I finally made it to the top of Golden Gallery, and yes, it was worth every huff, puff, and dizzy spell.
Travelling for work was absolutely amazing. It was exhausting, demanding, and quite the learning experience. Most importantly, I realized that I wasn’t ready for an opportunity like this a year ago. I can imagine myself, one year ago, most likely in a self-induced panic attack after not getting any sleep due to the time change, and being away from my routine for so long. I needed this last year to gain important life experiences, and grow, so that I could do my absolute best, and make the company that I work for proud.
Missed opportunities are rough. There is no denying that. I challenge you to believe that if fate denies you of an opportunity, accept that you may not be ready for it, YET. Instead of throwing yourself an insecurity pity-party, as I have done on many occasions (trust me, I have the ice cream and Alanis Morissette playlist on deck), ask yourself, “How can I grow from this? What can I do to prepare for future opportunities?” So often we envision the word “no” as the end to our story. I assure you, it is just the end to a chapter. Keep reading. For me, the next chapter was surely an adventure.