Open Goal

Open Goal 150 150 Ben Coker

Open Goal

You and I have often heard the phrase “it’s a no-brainer” and may even have used it ourselves.

It’s something that’s said when we perceive that an opportunity is staring us, or someone else, in the face.

The ‘low hanging fruit’ ready and waiting to be harvested.

There’s an ‘open goal’ right in front of us.

So why do people (and that includes you and I sometimes) ignore it, pass it by, disregard the ‘opportunity now here’ and continue looking for the ‘opportunity nowhere’?

It’s not that we consider the opportunity, evaluate it and decide against it, it’s that we just don’t seem to ‘see’ it – even though it can be right in front of us.

It may be that we’re looking for the ‘ideal’ opportunity – whatever that might be – which unfortunately more often than not, is the opportunity that’s nowhere.

Or it may be that we do ‘have a look’ to attempt to evaluate whether or not it is right for us.

The trouble is that most people, when doing this, ask all the wrong questions.

They want to know ‘what it will be like’ if they take this opportunity.

They want to know if it will ‘work’.

They want to know how much it will ‘cost’, not just in terms of money but also in terms of the time an energy that they might need to put into it.

And then there’s the concept of ‘opportunity cost’ – what do you and I have to ‘give up’ when we take this opportunity?

How will it impact other things we are doing or want to do?

And this goes on into a long series of ‘what if?’ questions by which time the ‘open goal’ is no longer open.

And here’s the thing –

Someone will take up that opportunity, someone will ‘steal your thunder’, someone will take advantage of your hesitation or prevarication.

While we figure out all the pros and cons and agonise over all the ‘what ifs?’ someone will take Sir Richard Branson’s advice:

“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later”

Ideas are the same.

Ideas are opportunities that come to you ‘out of the blue’ – but they don’t just come to you. ‘The Blue’ sends them to other people as well.

There are many examples of people who have an idea, fail to act on it, and then discover that someone else has implemented the exact same idea – even though they never mentioned it to anyone!

Opportunities present themselves in all sorts of ways besides ideas. They can be products that come on the market, they can be services that are offered to us.

In fact, an opportunity is really anything that you’ve not seen or heard of before or even have previously disregarded as not relevant.

The upside is, as Branson also said, that, like buses, there is always another opportunity coming along.

But why wait for the next bus when this one is ‘now here’?

It may be to do with where that particular ‘bus’ is going, where that particular opportunity is leading.

You and I may not think that the opportunity is consistent with our overall vision of the life we would love to live, or with one or more of the goals we’ve identified on the way there.

The other day I ignored the advice from my Satnav to take a longer route and continued on my usual route which is normally shorter and quicker.

Because of that rigidity in my goals I arrived at my destination 12 minutes later than I would have done if I’d taken the opportunity offered by my device.

I ignored that open goal.


Because I was locked into a closed goal – a fixed idea of what I needed to do.

You see, we need to set ‘open’ goals.

I’ve already discussed not attaching targets to goals (when, how much etc.) but now I’m going one step further.

You and I need to be more flexible with our actual goals – remembering of course that our goals are only waypoints on the road to achieving our overall vision.

Sometimes we need or want to be able to go a different ‘way’.

To change our goals when appropriate to take advantage of opportunities that are offered.

To keep our goals ‘open’.

To allow ourselves to follow up on the opportunities that are presented to us.

But that doesn’t mean taking all opportunities that come along regardless.

We still need to evaluate them for a level of consistency with our overall vision and to ensure that taking a particular opportunity wouldn’t take us in a completely ‘wrong direction’.

This can be done quickly – we don’t have to go into all the details, examine the entrails or consult the runes – just a quick check or even a ‘gut feeling’ using our intuition is all it needs.

But we must ‘check it out’ and not ignore it.

We may never get that particular opportunity again – and it could make a huge positive difference to the way and speed with which we realise our overall vision.

What opportunity is staring you in the face today?

What’s your ‘open goal’?