Are you someone who is more comfortable saying no to opportunities than yes? Can you recognize opportunities when they come knocking at your door? Looking back, do you have any regrets over the relationships or opportunities you let slip away?
Whether any of the above relates to a missed business opportunity, relationship you passed on or a job you turned down. Or it was the moment you hesitated to ask for a promotion, shied away from becoming an entrepreneur or hesitated to pursue an education. When you didn’t believe enough in yourself to make your dream career come true, or change anything else about your life, do you wonder what would have happened if you’d just said yes to something or someone instead of no?
We are always being presented with opportunities from the universe (hokey to some) and real people. Many that we may not recognize as opportunities even when they’re right under our nose. Instead of saying yes, we may be more naturally inclined to say no because of the multitude and often subconscious issues holding us back. Which is the reason why there are so many self-help courses.
I know I certainly missed a few big opportunities in my earlier years that would have been life changing if I’d just said yes. (Like the time a Toronto magazine offered me the opportunity to write freelance for them when I was in my mid-twenties, and I said no.) What? Who knew then I was going to commit my life decades later, to writing and how becoming a freelance journalist early in my life could have brought other amazing opportunities straight into my lap? Maybe none. Maybe dozens. Did I miss out because I said no?
If there are two things (at least) that I’ve learned in my struggle to heal from my daughter’s suicide in 2005, they are:
- Regret is futile
- It’s never too late to start saying yes.
For many people though, it’s scary to say yes to opportunities. They represent change. And change is both exciting and scary because we all must risk the unknown.
RECOGNIZING OPPORTUNITIES AND WHEN TO SEIZE THEM
While the timing to seize any opportunity is unique to everyone, the trick comes in knowing which ones are genuine and fit in with our life purpose, and when to pounce on them. Often, they are time sensitive. In some cases, they may go away entirely (like my magazine offer). It takes courage to say yes to any opportunity that has no guarantee of working out in our favour.
Opportunities require us to invest in ourselves financially, emotionally, physically or in other ways we may not feel ready for. People don’t wait around very long, if at all for an answer. Which can make us feel like we are missing out if we hesitate even for just a minute in this rampant and fiercely competitive world of ours. Which puts excessive pressure on us to decide quickly when the truth is, there are times we really can’t and shouldn’t be deciding anything.
While I’m not suggesting that we never have to do some legwork to get the ball rolling, big and smaller opportunities should feel like coming home to something or someone. As though they are aligned with our heart and purpose (if we’ve found it). That the timing is right and any action we must take doesn’t feel forced. Life just flows.
SO, IS IT BAD WHEN WE PASS ON OPPORTUNITIES?
So, is it bad when we do pass on certain opportunities? One could argue life works out anyway. Sliding doors and all that. And I’d agree. But I also think that some opportunities we said no to in the past, could have taken us in a different life direction. One that would have changed our entire life experience. Which is where regret comes in when we believe we’ve missed out on something.
Because I work largely in the field of bereavement and healing, I know all about the challenges of saying yes when no feels preferrable. I also know all about regret. However, not allowing ourselves to move ahead tempts us to stay right where we are and at risk of complacency. Where we may not move in any direction at all.
THE ADVENTURE IN SAYING YES
In my ongoing healing, I have reached the point where I can appreciate that there is adventure in saying yes to opportunities and people. In allowing ourselves to freefall into the changes we want and that feel right because in our heart, we know things are meant to be.
When we trust ourselves enough to get to where we are meant to go, we will get there. Eventually. When we train our eyes on the winding path and what pops up along the way, rather than the end result, the opportunities will be there.
KEY ESSENTIALS FOR RECOGNIZING OPPORTUNITIES:
- An offer (or person) that appears suddenly and unexpectedly that you otherwise may distrust because it did happen so fast.
- An offer that repeatedly shows up in your life that you’ve repeatedly said no to.
- Anything (or person) that comes along that you’ve said you want (a relationship or something else) that feels right, including the timing, even if you are nervous or scared to say yes.
- Being able to separate the real red flags or warnings to stay away from someone or something (check what your heart is telling you) from the normal fear or hesitancy everyone feels to start anything new.
- Knowing what you really want and being as mentally prepared for it as you can be. Opportunities often take us by surprise. You need to be ready. Which means thinking about what the possible outcome(s) may bring to your life by saying yes to someone or something.
Cheers, to the journey!
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