I’ve always hated the pithy saying “the early bird gets the worm”, as if she’s more worthy because of falling prey to an urgency – that may or may not exist – told her by others. It screams of a scarcity mindset: as if opportunity has limited quantities and if I miss her, then a big fuck you until the next disbursement. Viewing life in this manner lends to chasing after something elusive, something that taunts and remains always just beyond my fingertips.
Further than that, I am not a morning person. I loathe getting up early. Yes, the sunrise is stunningly beautiful…so is sunset, and I’m awake for that. I listened to my evangelical upbringing as they pressured and cajoled and mandated I teach myself to be a morning person, that something magical (spiritual) resided only there, in the unbroken, untainted moments of the day and the rest of the minutes and hours were sullied by sins and errors and all the negative things.
I tried. For decades. Now, some of it I could not avoid – school begins early, and when I worked in a corporate law office, I had to be up and at work early. Thirteen plus years of being a mom means I am accustomed to being up fairly early, and I have learned to function better. Regardless, I still much prefer to laze abed until mid-morning when given the chance.
But this saying fully intends the hearer to understand there is but one worm, and one time in which to get it for myself…that is, if I can beat out the rest of the competition. Not only being up before everyone else, but also prepared (showered, dressed, etc.) and with a quickness of mind to recognize The Worm…then be faster than all others to reach it first.
So…awake but also alert and adept and adroit and aggressive. So much pressure. And if it means all that, then I’ll skip it, leading to a decades-long belief that if I couldn’t get there fast enough I’d miss my chance, and my opportunities would go to whoever snatched them up first. I was defeated before even beginning. Why even try? And so I resigned myself to settling for opportunities that others created for me, which did not satiate.
But here’s the thing: there is not One Worm to rule them all. Y’all, there are TONS of worms. I mean, if you stick with the worm analogy because worms are gross.
Opportunity recognition of meaningful patterns – entrepreneurial alertness – is a thing. I won’t get into all the research, but it references an intuitive mindset to know what skill or service to put on the market, when, and to whom to target it. Watching for when opportunity begins to bloom, and cognizant of what it takes to capitalize upon it.
Opportunity exists all around – call it inspiration or whatever word you want, but it lives, breathing the same air. Differentiating between someone else’s opportunity versus an one designed for me became a key first step. I briefly tried the MLM/direct sales thing, and while some see success, for me it fell into the “someone else’s opportunity foisted upon me” category. But I didn’t see success or inner satiation until I began pursuing opportunities I created myself.
In my business, I am a content writer and business development adviser. I work with entrepreneurs and small business owners to refine their messages, then structure them either in writing (think blogs, press releases, CRM letters, website content, bios, LinkedIn profiles, and more) or orally (networking skills, 30-second commercials, using personal stories to connect, client retention, etc.). I fucking love it – even after a week like this past week where I had a conflict with a client and professionally set up a situation where she fired herself.
It was – is – an opportunity I created for myself from networking and seeing that businesses need good writers. Writing one bio led to another, then some LinkedIn profiles, then interviews, client letters. Through discussions with business owners, I pinpoint where they struggle in communicating their message, then restructure it more clearly.
I saw a need, I knew my skillset, and I put the two together. On my time. The early bird answers to me, not the other way around. I tell her when I need more opportunities, then she goes to work on my behalf. I tell her when I’m ready, or in advance of when I will be ready, and I’m learning to trust that she will be there – on my schedule.
The clients who are ready, the ones who belong to me, they will come. I don’t any longer feel the need to strive after Ms. Early Bird or make sure I’m ready at just the right time. Because the world around me is ripe with opportunity, and there is enough for me.
That’s why the early bird can shove it up her ass.
Sadie L. Harper
I’ve lived in Raleigh for over 24 years, though I grew up outside Chicago and am a die-hard Bears fan. My experience extends from the legal field to branding to business development. A self-proclaimed and unabashed over-achiever, I’m full-time single mom of three while pursuing my dreams and career passions.
An independent business owner, I help other entrepreneurs refine their message, clarify their direction, and then confidently pursue their visions. One childhood dream was to be a writer, leading to winning first prize in Carolina Woman Magazine’s 2016 writing contest with a poem, though I do not consider myself a poet! A story-teller, I love to find the right voice, the right narrative, and the right words to bring them all to life.