The worst advice I have ever received is: "Accept every opportunity that comes you way". This adviser went on to say you have to always say yes because you are your meal ticket.
In all honesty, I took this advice and lived it for more than 1 year before I listened to my own experience and changed my way of thinking. I found myself in back to back client meetings, on endless committees, several board seats, at plethora of mentoring events and speaking engagements. All great things right? Yes, but no one actually knew what I did because I was everywhere for everything. There were no intentional movements, no common themes, no deeper meanings. After nearing burnout, I found a simple and powerful word, NO!
Being able to say no has nothing to do with not being open to opportunity or being too good to participate, its about priorities. Your goals have to be clear and your focus on them has to be equally clear. Since my bout of "busyness" here are a few of the tips I use for decide whether to say yes or no:
With these 3 tips here is how I decide if I say yes or no. Here is my flow chart:
As always check your work. From time to time I find myself to trying to skirt that last point because I am a curious soul. It is okay to do OCCASIONALLY as long as you are honest that it is really not your area. If you need to decline try to be specific about why you are declining and don't be shy about connecting them to quality people in your network to fulfill their need.
Finally, you don't have to take my word for it. Take a look at a quote from the master entrepreneur, Steve Jobs.
Dr. Shante Williams is a serial entrepreneur who started slow and in the shallow end of the business pool. She has worked in Biotech, Big Pharma, Green Energy, and Academia