How to Prioritize Your Opportunities

By February 12, 2018 December 2nd, 2021 03. Intellectual Dimension


Hi, Doug Andrew here.

In a recent article that was published in Harvard Business Review, I explained how to prioritize your opportunities.

Unfortunately, a lot of people go through life with more capability than they have opportunities. This is what Dan Sullivan calls: “big C, little o.”

I like to flip that for people so that you have more opportunities than you would ever have the capability to seize. That’s a nice problem, and here’s how you solve it.

Whenever I have more opportunities than I have the capability to seize, I go through a five-step process to filter which opportunities I’m going to seize, which ones I’m going to delegate to somebody else, and which ones I’m simply going to walk away from.

Every one of these five measurements, I will rate on a scale of a “-1” up to a “+5.” The first one is:

1. Will this opportunity utilize my unique ability? 

Will it cause me to stretch a little bit, or is it totally out of my unique ability or talent? If it is [out of my unique ability or talent], then it’s a -1.

If it will utilize what I’m really good at, I will score that a 4 or a 5 (an opportunity to go speak or teach or write a book, or what have you).

2. The second criteria is the reward.

Now, a lot people will immediately think, “Well, which opportunity is going to bring you the most money? Who’s going to pay you the most?”

No, it’s not always the monetary reward.

It’s usually a measurement of impact. Which opportunity is going to have the greatest impact?

I’ve passed up some opportunities where I could have made over a quarter of a million dollars, instead to go speak to a group of teenagers at a crisis center that are on the verge of suicide.

See, it’s the greater impact that is more important than the money.

3. This measurement is enhancement. 

Will this opportunity cause me to stretch, to get out of my comfort zone—because I have never grown until I have gotten out of my comfort zone.

If it’s within my unique ability—but it causes me to stretch and learn and have new experiences—I will rate that a 4 or 5.

4. The fourth criteria is appreciation. 

Now, we all know appreciation means gratitude. It’s more than when they send you a thank you note or a box of candy or some flowers.

The other two measurements of appreciation are an increase of value, as in when real estate goes up in value. Will this relationship increase in value? And number two, to fully understand, as in when someone says, “I appreciate what you went through.”

See? They’re trying to fully understand and be empathetic. If that’s the opportunity, I rate it on a scale of 4 and 5 at the highest.

5. The last criteria is referral. 

In other words, I don’t just want a dead end or a one-off opportunity. I want to be able to have referrals go back and forth with the people who invited me, my audience, and all those that are involved. I want this to be a continuing process of abundance.

So, I add up all five of those scores, and if it scores over 20, that’s an opportunity I’ll probably seize.

I used to seize opportunities that only scored 15, but when you have more opportunities than capability, pretty soon you raise the bar to 18, to 20, to 21. What a wonderful life that is when you have a system where more opportunities are there than you have capability to seize.

Now you can filter and prioritize which opportunities you’re going to seize, which ones you’re going to delegate, and which ones you’re simply going to walk away from.



  • The Goal: More Oc – Just as Strategic Coach and my good friend Dan Sullivan says, the goal is to live an abundant life with “Oc” (more opportunities than capability), rather than “Co” (more capabilities than opportunity).
  • Prioritize Your Opportunities – When you’re living in the zone of Oc, you won’t be able to seize every opportunity—you’ll need to prioritize which ones get your time and attention. To do that, rate them on a scale of -1 to 5 in the following criteria:
  1. Will this opportunity utilize my unique ability?
  2. Will this opportunity offer high-impact rewards?
  3. Will this opportunity provide enhancement, helping me stretch beyond my comfort zone?
  4. Will this opportunity bring increased appreciation into my life?
  5. Will this opportunity provide ongoing referrals?

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