Seize Opportunity

Carpe Diem! No, that has nothing to do with fish. It’s Latin for seize the day.

Have you ever let an opportunity pass you by? I know I have, but here is one time that I managed to get it right…

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a GIS (Geographical Information Systems) workshop in Norwich. This is an opportunity I seized. And to seize it, I of course had to recognise the opportunity. But I also created this opportunity. I want to share how we can create, recognise, and seize opportunities.

Way back in 2014 I wrote down a career plan that detailed a whole host of skills that I would need to learn. GIS was one of those skills, but at that time I didn’t have access to the software. However, writing it down was the first step in creating the opportunity that would present itself a few years later.

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Last summer I did some work assisting a friend, Adam, with his PhD research in St. Ives. He mentioned then that he would be running a GIS workshop in January and that I would be welcome to join it if I had the time. Having written this down I was able to see it as the opportunity it was. The opportunity may seem obvious to you reading this, but that’s because you’ve seen it written down. You have the same advantage I did over people who do not write down what they are after: what I wanted was right there in front of me, written in black and white.

Fast forward to January and I’m working full time as a data analyst. The course is on a Monday. Having recognised the opportunity it’s time to create another. I am aware that work would like me to learn GIS – it’s not urgent, but they did mention GIS in the interview. So I asked my boss if GIS was something that they were still interested in me learning. Of course the answer was ’yes’, so when I asked if I could go to this workshop the answer was not only ‘yes’ but they would also pay for it and consider it a day of work. No need to book holiday to go and do what I wanted to.

Great! That’s just what I wanted. But how could I get more?

One of my aims for this year is to visit at least 3 people I’ve been blessed to be able to interview for this blog. The GIS course was taking place at the University of East Anglia (UEA), where two of the lecturers I’ve interviewed work (Matt Gage, and Aldina Franco). So I emailed them both to let them know I was coming and that I would like to meet up.

This blessed me with the chance to briefly meet Aldina, and later spend some time with Matt, who introduced me to some other researchers at UEA. I am sure we will get some further insights into their work in some interviews soon.


This was one of those times where I got it right. I knew what I wanted, wrote it down, and recognised the opportunities as they arose. I was able to seize the opportunities because I recognised them for what they were. And I was able to create further opportunities from each event.


How are you creating, recognising, and seizing opportunities for yourself? What are the things that you really want to achieve?

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