Turn Down For What?: 3 Good Reasons to Turn Down an Opportunity

Sometimes, we need to say “no” to things that sound good. And I don’t mean good-sounding things like margaritas on a Monday night or a shopping splurge you can’t quite afford. I mean things that sound good like collaborations, lucrative projects, and job transitions. When you build your brand correctly, more and more opportunities will arrive at your door. It’s crucial that you know when to say “no” and what informs that decision. If you’re presented with an opportunity that sounds good on the surface and you find yourself on the fence about how to proceed, consider the following factors.

Timing

No matter who you are or what you do, becoming a master of time management will give you a major advantage in life. You have to intimately know what your personal capacity is and what your current priorities are. Giving your commitments the attention they deserve might mean that you can’t hop on a new opportunity that requires urgency. Finish the things you start. If you have valid reasons to switch gears or end a commitment prematurely, take the time to wrap up your responsibilities thoughtfully. But bad timing is a perfectly legitimate reason to turn down an opportunity. Sometimes the place you’re in is exactly where you need to be. Don’t interrupt your process unless you can truly justify it.

Mutual Benefit

One of the byproducts of building a strong brand, personal or otherwise, is that you prove your value. The more that people see that you have value to contribute, the more they may want to leverage that value for their own benefit. This could mean trying to recruit you or your services or wanting to partner or promote something with you. Collaboration can have amazing advantages, but only when the collaboration aligns with both parties’ goals. Always consider what you are investing into an opportunity and what you are projected to receive in return. Your investment doesn’t have to mean money. It includes your time, your skill set, your reputation and measurable influence. Make sure that what you stand to gain is worthy of what you put in. If not, be prepared to politely decline.

Trajectory

If you have a personal strategic plan (“what’s that?” you ask? Read the post here), then you know what your big-picture vision for yourself looks like. Not only that, but you’ve also identified some benchmark objectives to make sure you stay committed to that path, at least long enough to see real progress before you change your mind. So, assess every opportunity that’s presented to you for how closely it aligns to your vision. This might sound more rigid than I mean for it to. Your personal strategic plan might be that, for the next 9 months, you’re going to explore various hobbies and activities to figure out what you really love. In that case, an opportunity that threatens your ability to stay flexible isn’t aligned with your trajectory. Often times, knowing what’s right for you simply means knowing what you absolutely don’t want. Avoid those opportunities at all costs. Committing to something half-heartedly does no one any favors.