Have you ever found a 4 Leaf Clover? There are countless of people alive today in the United States who have never seen a 4 Leaf Clover. What do you think would be the reason that they haven’t seen one? The truth is they haven’t been looking.
I have a good friend that is always finding them. Sometimes he will find 3 or 4 in the same small yard. I tell him he is the luckiest guy alive. One day we were talking and I said, “Brian, how do you find so many 4 Leaf Clovers?” He said, “Eddie, I look for them.” Isn’t that a simple answer? He just looks for them. If we apply that thinking to opportunities it might just be life-changing. Remember the movie Field of Dreams? “If you build it they will come.” Allow me to delight you in a small business that I had the opportunity to build. Many of my readers know I’m also a photographer and several years ago I wanted to photograph the area schools. The price the students were paying was too high, I had all of the equipment to do the job and I just wanted to try my hand at it. I set a goal for myself, and bought a huge white erase board and wrote my plans on it. I went to all of the local schools and gave my ideas to them about lowering costs and fast service and local business. It seemed that no one wanted to hear my offer.
Then at one of the local Graduation days, which was outside, the rain was pouring on the event. Students were getting soaked, the speakers were drenched, and the school photographers wouldn’t get their equipment out in the rain. I was there with my camera, in the rain with a hood over my lens. The Principal saw me in the crowd and our eyes met. With a small nod and subtle direction of her hand, she silently told me to move in place to get the diploma shots for the students. I did this and posted the photographs on my website for all to purchase. (Of course at a Great price).
Later that summer I received a phone call from that same Principal and asked if we could meet concerning the next years school pictures. Wow, I had the opportunity that I had asked for. When we met, she asked me if I could give the school back a little more on a commission. I took a deep breath because I really wanted to do that job but I explained to her that I had lowered the price much lower than the regular school photographers because their price was too high, and I didn’t have the room to give the school more back. She asked if I had thought about raising the price a bit for the students, and I had to tell her I couldn’t do that. As I began to exit the room she said this, “Eddie, I just wanted to see if you were serious about helping the students, you’ve got the contract.!” Did you see that? I got what I asked for and there were several things that played a key role in this chain of events.
- I set a goal and wrote it down.
- I went into action and offered my services to the target audience.
- I found where I may be needed. (By mistake of course) and made myself available.
- I performed a good deed with taking the photographs in the rain.
- I offered a fair price.
- I stood up for what I believed.
- I was honest, and showed integrity.
- I received the contract that I asked for.
- I followed through with that contract for several years and had great response.
The research shows that 4 Leaf Clovers are 1 in 10,000. That sounds like a far fetched chance of finding one but that area is only about a 10 foot by 10 foot area. That is an area about as large as a small tent. So if you just go out and walk around for about 5 minutes the chances are that you will find 3 or 4 in no time flat. Opportunities are everywhere if we are only willing to work for them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “God hides things by putting them near us.”
Oh yea, what about the photography business? That year was a great year. The students were all very happy with their School Portraits. The prices were the best in 20 years, the teachers were happy, the parents were happy and after that year was over we received the contract the next year along with two more schools in the region. I had found a 4 Leaf Clover in my photography business.
What does it take to see opportunity? It takes a willingness to open your eyes to what is there and an attitude of helping others. I like what my mentor Zig Ziglar says, “You can have everything that you want if you help enough others get what they want.”