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brynsmith Writer & blogger at
9mo Story
How to Walk Away From Opportunities Not Meant for You

Sometimes we’re sitting around waiting for opportunities to come our way. Other times we have too many opportunities and we don’t know which ones to pick. Regardless, it’s important to be cautious and recognize that just because a great opportunity presents itself, it doesn’t mean we have to take it.

Consider Your Gut Reaction

A few weeks ago, I applied for a job I was really excited about. But when they officially offered it to me, my feelings changed. Suddenly I felt extremely skeptical because the ideal became a reality. And realistically, I wasn’t sure it was the right move for me.

Just because an opportunity looks perfect on paper doesn’t mean it’s right for you. It’s important to take your personal feelings into account. I’m a firm believer in “sleeping on it,” and most of the time this leads me to wake up with clarity. How I feel in the morning, before any outside factors settle in, usually tells me everything I need to know.

It’s important to recognize that an opportunity usually feels wrong for a reason. So take your gut reaction into account and analyze it. And then follow it.

Unless it’s leading you to a dark hallway or alley and scary music starts playing. Then maybe don’t follow it.

Make a Gain/Give Up List

Even though I’ve been unemployed for a total of six months and should have been jumping at the opportunity of a job, even an imperfect one, I still felt unsure. I had been fully onboard when I applied, but once it was offered to me, my feelings changed. In order to figure out the root of my gut reaction, I created a ‘gain/give up’ list.

Essentially, this is my better, more personal version of a pro/con list. Instead of just looking at the positives and the negatives, which could be arbitrary or based on outside opinions, look more specifically at what you could gain or lose by taking this opportunity. You’ll be able to clearly see what you would be giving up and decide if it’s worth the gain.

More often than not, this is where I find the root of my gut reaction. In looking at an opportunity from the outside, you are often purely looking at what you would gain. But deep down, only you can decide if it outweighs what you would lose.

Like, let’s be honest. Any situation where I have to leave my cat is a no for me. And they don’t put that in a job description.

Stick to Your Decision

After I turned down the job, I worried about how I will feel if I am still unemployed a couple months from now. But at the end of the day, I made my choice and I have to live with it. So I reassured myself of the reasons why I turned it down and erased it from memory. And then I got to work by putting my focus into this blog and myYouTube channel because those are things I can control.

Once you have decided to give up the opportunity, don’t continue to think about what it would have been like had you taken it. Tell yourself whatever you have to, but don’t let it turn into regret. I’m a firm believer that in the face of adversity, we can create our own opportunities. So don’t let one wrong one ruin all the right ones you can create for yourself.

It’s always tough walking away from opportunities because we don’t know what they will turn into. Could they have been wild successes? Sure, but that doesn’t mean they were right for us.

We cannot possibly say yes to every opportunity. The only thing we can do is choose what feels right at the time, and trust that because we can walk away from the wrong opportunities, we’ll be able to recognize when the right ones come around. 

Because they probably won’t be riding an elephant holding a neon sign with “right opportunity” written on it. Even though that would make it so much easier.

For more posts like this, please visit my website.

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  • Kathy May
    Kathy May Associate at Deustche Bank
    9mo ago

    Love this post, Bryn.

    Love this post, Bryn.

  • Gabriela Motroc
    Gabriela Motroc Mogul Influencer | Editor @JAXenterCOM & JAX Magazine | IYF Chair of Press Commission
    9mo ago

    Great tips, thank you for the lovely post

    Great tips, thank you for the lovely post

  • kambanis88
    kambanis88 Creative and a Free-Spirit | Pursuing Content Marketing Development and Design
    9mo ago

    I really liked your post! It resonated with me. You are absolutely right that you have to do what feels right.

    I really liked your post! It resonated with me. You are absolutely right that you have to do what feels right.

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