Saying NO To Opportunity


The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.
—Michael Porter

In life what you say “no” to is just as important as what you say “yes” to—especially if what you’ve turned down or left initially seemed like a “sure thing.” We read a lot about inviting opportunities into our lives, but perhaps not enough about how to let some go.

Let’s take the case of employment. The temptation, for a job-seeker in the current economy, is to say “yes” to every opportunity offered.

But perhaps that particular opportunity doesn’t seem completely ideal to him or her. Perhaps there is an immediate “gut feeling” that this opportunity may not only lead nowhere, but could even be problematic in the long run.

Still, the the desperation is there—”I have to take this gig!” To not take the job, the reasoning goes, would be damn well irresponsible.

I humbly submit, however, that sometimes taking the wrong gig can completely throw you off the course of your life path. I suggest that sometimes, the wrong gig can end up wasting more of your time, with less overall compensation, than all your other gigs combined.

Part of the reason such an action can ultimately prove catastrophic is because your heart just isn’t into it…and more than that, you are working against what your true self, your Immortal Soul, wants. You are going against Flow, and so it’s like this uphill battle because you are not “meant” to be at that job (or in that relationship, or living in that house, or involved in that certain project, and so on).

Which is not to say that every situation you are going to be in that doesn’t blend with your true self and life path doesn’t also have some value to your life. You can learn quite a bit by challenges. You can learn vital aspects of work skills at a job you hate that can be later transferred to something you love.

But as you go along and evolve, you want to make more and more choices that are in alignment with who you are and what your purpose is. Part of that is because, well…you aren’t getting any younger. And part of that is because time itself, in this strange strange unprecedented era in which we live, is sort of “quickening.”

Time is quickening, and we need to get with the “program.” We have to align with our true selves and learn to move with Flow.

So the next time you are really really tempted to accept that new gig, but your heart is telling you “no”—take a moment to explore those reservations. Write out the qualities that you seek in an ideal job for you. Take a chance on your intuition. Make room for the position you truly desire.

And if you are already in a job, relationship, living situation, life path etc. that doesn’t feel right for you…don’t be afraid to change or even walk away from it. Even if everyone around you is telling you that it’s such a “great thing.”

Because success doesn’t just depend on the opportunities you take—but the ones you turn away.