Don’t you love that feeling of a promising new opportunity? There’s terrific excitement packed into that new job offer, new dating relationship, new house, or new business partnership. But sometimes the excitement of new possibilities can eclipse our common sense.
I remember talking to one couple that came to me for coaching about their feelings of regret about getting married too fast. She said that in retrospect she wished she hadn’t said yes to his proposal. I asked, “Why do you think you did?” She answered, “Because he was the first person who ever asked me.”
In that moment, I couldn’t help but feel like her answer was a little silly, but then I realized, I do the same thing. I often jump at opportunities, not because they are the right ones, but because they are the first or only ones. So I have made a decision in my life to try and develop a grid to evaluate new opportunities as they present themselves. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Does this opportunity get me closer to my major life goals?
It’s very important to keep track of where you’re going in life. What are your main goals? What do you feel is your mission or calling in life? What is God teaching you about your future? Take the answers to those questions and compare them with this new opportunity. Does this new venture get you closer to your goals, or does it take you on a wild goose chase?
This is where living a life of wisdom can require some tough decision making. It can be a real bummer walking away from a really exciting new opportunity because it won’t take you where you ultimately want to be. But if you take the long look and make decisions consistent with your goals, you’ll thank yourself later.
2. Is the timing right?
The right opportunity at the wrong time is still the wrong opportunity. This is an area where I personally struggle. I have the tendency to try to make the timing fit when I feel certain that the opportunity is a good one, but that never works. Waiting for the right moment is difficult, because we don’t want to miss out on something good, but the wait is worth it. Don’t forget, God wants to bless us with good things. We just have to embrace the fact that His timetable rarely matches our own.
For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him.
The right opportunity at the wrong time is still the wrong opportunity. Jonathan HooverClick to tweet
I love getting the “green light” from God that it’s okay to move forward, but it’s also important that I remember that when God says “wait,” it’s usually because He has something better in mind.
3. What will this opportunity cost me?
Even good opportunities cost something. Maybe the cost will not be financial… perhaps it will be an investment of time, energy, or other resources. Most opportunities come pre-packaged with pressure or challenges, so part of the cost may lie in stress or anxiety. It’s always a good idea at this point to do a cost/benefit analysis. Ask yourself if the benefits of this opportunity outweigh the costs. Because if they don’t, it’s probably wise to let this possibility pass.
This is the grid I’ve developed for myself. What are your criteria for deciding whether or not to commit to a new opportunity in life?