When to Say No

Do you know when to say no to an opportunity? Opportunities are all around us. Daily many of us encounter new ways to serve others, make money, and often a mixture of both. But since you cannot do everything, when do you say yes and when do you say no. In the last few days I have been considering an opportunity that has presented itself. It offers new challenges and new things to consider. So I have been struggling whether or not to pursue this opportunity or to walk away.

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When to say No (or Yes)

I needed a way to decide yes or no. Here is the list that resulted. Some of these have to do with career specifically, others are more general.

1. Is this where God has called you? 

Really, think about it in these terms. You were put on earth to serve. You have been given certain talents and skills. Is this new opportunity a fit?

2. Is it ethical and moral? Can you proudly say you are considering this position? 

Not all options are obvious. And, money and perceived power can cloud our thinking. You need to consider if this role will cause you to do or support things that are against what you believe. It might be an obvious ethical issue or something more subtle such as encouraging people to acquire debt to buy your product. Many things can be good, but done in the wrong way will do more harm.

3. If your spouse on board? The rest of the family? 

How does your spouse feel? They might not be as open and as clear as you would like them to be. I have seen on more than one occasion where a spouse was all on board for a major lifestyle change, but at the last minute became panicked and the whole thing derailed. (A few occasions that come to mind are related to making a move, going into the military, and going into missions.) Have some serious and frank discussions with your spouse and make sure you really listen for clues that this might not work. Too often our spouse wants to be supportive even though the decision is tearing them up inside.  You need to make sure your spouse understands that you not only want them to be supportive, but that you also want them to be comfortable and happy with the decision. Don’t embark on a new endeavor and damage your relationship.

4. Does it fit your long term goal?

The key question here is whether this opportunity moves you closer to where you want to be, or is it a distraction.

5. Can you live where you want to live?

While this is mostly a career oriented question, it does not always happen that way. Today many people can live wherever they want and do their job. A good friend just moved across the country to be fifteen minutes from the ski slopes in Utah because he wanted to just do it. But what about your plan? Is it taking you some place better?

6. Does the challenge inspire you?

Do you find yourself pondering ways to solve the problems the new opportunity presents?  As you research it, do you find yourself having a hard time pulling away? This would be a sign of interest. If you find yourself struggling to find time to research and consider it, think again. You are not really interested.

7. Is it only about money? 

Is this is about a money making opportunity? Consider if you would you do it for a 10% decrease instead of an increase in income. If not, then move on. You may think I am crazy on this point, but I am dead serious. While I am not about turning down money, I know that if you can make a certain amount in one area, you can likely make a similar amount doing something that is a better fit for you. Do not sell out.

8. Is the move a place holder? 

Are you taking this instead of making a bigger or better move? Is this move an excuse not to step out?

Many of my clients have taken temporary internal promotions or lateral moves rather than search for something that is a better fit. When they consider an internal move, they are thinking this “temporary” move will offer them more money so they will have more cash to do what they really want. What usually happens, is that the new position consumes their time and they have no time to do what they really said they wanted to do.

9. Are you afraid to say yes?

If nothing above is an issue, are you looking to say no out of fear? And if so, what are you afraid of? That you cannot do it? Don’t let fear rationalize the above points into a no that should have been a yes.

 

Question: What other criteria have caused you to say no?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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