Creating Opportunities in 2014

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”Thomas A. Edison

Happy New Year! May this New Year for you be filled with immense happiness, peace and prosperity.
For me 2014, is all about creating opportunities. For a start for the month of January, I am running a special free offer to deliver one of my presentations or speeches to groups and associations of no more than thirty (30) participants around the Greater Toronto Area. At the same time, I will also make the effort to volunteer my time and skills at the Regeneration Outreach Community in Brampton.
My friends and relatives believe I am lucky. However, I don’t believe I am lucky but rather I tend to create opportunities for myself and the people around me. Sometimes I just happen to be the right place at the right time. For example, once I answered my manager’s phone and the next thing I knew he made me special project manager. Some may call it luck but I don’t. I answered my manager phone because I don’t like calling places of business that allow the phones to go unanswered. What others may call luck I call it creating opportunities.
Please allow me to share my thoughts about creating opportunities in 2014. There are five things for you to take into consideration in order to create opportunities for yourself and others in 2014:

1. What are you core values and priorities?
In order to create opportunities in 2014 you have to assess your core values and determine the most important things in your life. One my core values is compassion and being charitable. As a child I observed my grandmother and mother being charitable and caring to others. Looking back now I believe they created miracles as they had very little yet they were able to share so much with others around them. They were very generous.
In 2014 one of primary goals is to continue to be charitable. At the same time my main priority is to provide for my family. Armed with clear core values and priorities I intend to create opportunities in 2014 for myself and others around me. What are your core values? What are your priorities for 2014?
2. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone
In order to create opportunities you have to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. In 2014, I am stepping outside of my comfort zone of working primarily in financial services and will explore opportunities in corporate training, social media engagement and product review just to name a few. I will continue on my of self-education, networking and asking for help in order to know where to look for new opportunities. By pushing myself beyond my comfort zone I intend to create new opportunities and move forward in 2014. I will be keeping my eyes open for new opportunities in areas where I would not typically. What will you do in 2014 to step outside of your comfort zone?
3. Don’t fail because of inaction
Failure is never an option for me but if I fail it will not be as a result of inaction. Propelled by the level of satisfaction and contentment I experience from my Holiday Season Food Drive, I will be carrying forward that same drive and passion in my charitable work in 2014. In 2013, I committed to be a source of inspiration to you and others and I intend to continue doing so in 2014. Think of it this way, I could have opted not write this post and not to share my thoughts with you about creating opportunities in 2014. However, as you all know by now I have taken action and I am fearless in my endeavour. If I fail in my commitment to you it will not be as result of failure to act. What actions will you take in 2014 to create opportunities?
4. Be in a constant state of alert or military boot camp
To be fearless does not mean to be careless and reckless. I have made mistakes in the past but they were not as result of fear but rather due to my fierce ambition and courage. You have to train yourself to create or look out for new opportunities. As I mention about commit to constant training and education to develop your core competencies. Life is about taking risk and you have to be adequately prepare to take risks and pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone to create or exploit new opportunities.
Think about your constant state of alert as being in a military boot camp. You have to create rigid routines, structure and control over every aspect of your life. You have to be goal oriented, purposeful and focus. You have to be always ready to take advantage of the next opportunity. The truth is you may not know when, where or how such opportunity will arise. In order to create or identify new opportunities you have to adjust your attitude in a militaristic way. It requires self-discipline, sacrifice, determine and focus. You have to be mentality prepare to exploit opportunities when they present themselves. Will you be ready in 2014 to take advantages of new opportunities?
5. Have a plan for 2014
It is start of New Year and you will be hearing a lot about New Year’s resolutions. You will be hearing a lot about having a plan and writing it down. Create opportunities in 2014 by having your own plan. A plan is a framework or a roadmap that guides you to where you would like to go in 2014.
In 2014, create opportunities for yourself and others. How will you create opportunities in 2014?
Happy New Year
Mark McKenzie is a leading Subject Matter Expert in financial services regulation and supervision as well as a professional motivational speaker, corporate trainer and youth mentor.  He can be contacted by email or by telephone 647-406-4622. Read my blog and always write me a comment and share. Follow me on Twitter @mackynacky. Connect with me on, Google+, Facebook and Linkedin.

5 Tips for Facing Challenges in 2014

My heartfelt condolences and prayer goes out to the families and friends of those who died in the fire at Résidence du Havre in L’Isle-Verte in Quebec last week. Whenever tragedies such as this occur I usually question the existence of God. Ultimately I accept that there are realities that lie beyond my comprehension and accept such inexplicable mysteries with trustful humility. In the end I respond to such tragedies with composure, quietness, respect and honour. May the souls of the senior citizens who perished in the fire rest in peace and blessing shine on the survivors, families, friends, love ones and first responders.
Last week I faced my own challenges too but it cannot be compared with the losses experienced by those affected by the fire in Quebec. Few days ago I was hit with the bombshell news that I had loss an important client that represented a large part of my consulting practice revenue. For the past three years I supported the client providing advice on technical matters and policy development. The client has decided that they have now built sufficient capacity to fill the role internally. The client was awesome as a primary source of revenue and the work was extremely stimulating.
I knew from the beginning that my practice was overexposed due to the significant level of dependence on the client. The brutal truth is my greatest fear is now a reality and I will now have to intensive my search for other opportunities to replace the revenue hit. The departure of the client comes at the same time when I am also feeling the negative effects of a rapidly declining Canadian dollar. In fact I was speaking with a friend about my experience and he said to me “damn man you might be worth more dead today than alive.” I strongly disagreed with him and since then I have taken some time to reflect on how I will face challenges in 2014 which I will share with you today.
Challenges, setbacks and adversities are a part of our existence. Here are five tips to facing challenges in 2014:
Change negative into positive
In 2014, I will endeavour to change negative into positive. I will continue to pursue other areas of interest to diversify my business. As I have posted in previous blogs in 2014 you have to make the impossible possible, creating opportunities, discover new talents and exceed your potential. In my case I am not going to over-analyse the loss of my client or other setbacks I might face this year. Rather than trying to figure out why and see despair I am going to see opportunities and possibilities. I will strive to be happy and I will remain calm and optimistic.
This week for example I will participate in two debates at the Mississauga Central Library on Thursday January 30, 2014 at 6.30PM. I will be on side opposing the following motions Newspapers are a thing of the past and Cell phones should be banned from schools. By participating in these two debates I am hoping to rekindle my passion for debating and develop my persuasive speaking skills. You too can seek out ways to change a negative into a positive. Don’t dwell on the challenges you face instead look for the positive and seek out new opportunities.
Rather than being in denial, accept your situation, let go and move forward
The reality is I cannot change the fact that the client has decided to move on. I also cannot be in denial but rather I have to accept it, let go and move forward. I have to see this as an opportunity to truly diversify my practice. I have to press forward with my plans to develop new products and services as well as breaking into new markets. For example, Friday, January 31st I will a guest speaker in Mississauga where I will deliver my Leaders Leave Legacy Workshop. I will also be a Target Speaker in Brampton. These are specific actions I have taken to promote my professional speaking and coaching business.
The key for facing challenges is to acknowledge your vulnerabilities, imperfections and flaws. In my case I have to accept that in some circumstances I have made mistakes. I have to accept that I am where I am today. I realise I can’t change today but if I let go I can move forward. I have to let go of my fears surrounding the loss and avoid apportioning blame or feelings of anger.
You too can get to this point. For example, if you believe someone has caused you pain or hurt you, you have to be able to forgive. Remember “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese. To face challenges in 2014, rather than being in denial, I encourage you to accept your situation, let go and move forward.
Get some reinforcement (have a support network)
A key strategy for me in dealing with challenges and setback is my support network. I have a wonderful wife and beautiful children. I am very close with my brothers especially Peter McKenzie, an attorney in New Jersey. We speak daily on the phone. I have people around me who are honest and frank with me. They keep me in check and will not standby to let me spiral out of control like Toronto Mayor Rob Ford or Justin Bieber. When faced with challenges you need a capable support network from which you can get meaningful reinforcement and encouragement.
Face your fears, be decisive and take action
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Who are you not to be?” –  Marianne Williamson from her book, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
As I have said repeatedly, I do not want to fail because of my inaction. The mistakes I make must be as a result of my fierce determination and courage. In light of my recent loss, I now have to decide the best approach for this situation and create a plan of action. I have to tackle this challenge with courage not fear and above all I have to be decisive and take action.
You are awesome. You have to believe in yourself. Face your fears, be decisive and take action.
Practice gratitude
As I stated at the beginning the challenges I face pale in comparison to those who loss love ones in the fire in Quebec. I am truly grateful for my life and the experiences I have had so far. As I noted in previous posts on my blog, this year I have committed to volunteer at Regeneration Outreach Community in Brampton. In February, I will be offering my time and skills to help in Regeneration Outreach Community Coldest Night of the Year Fundraising Campaign. Giving back to the community is one way in which I demonstrate my gratitude. If you are faced with challenges practice gratitude.
How will you face challenges in 2014?

Mark McKenzie is a leading Subject Matter Expert in financial services regulation and supervision as well as a professional motivational speaker, corporate trainer and youth mentor.  He can be contacted by email or by telephone 647-406-4622. Read my blog and always write me a comment and share. Follow me on Twitter @mackynacky. Connect with me on, Google+, Facebook and Linkedin.