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Seizing Opportunities: Saying No versus Doing It

When an opportunity comes your way, the first thing you think about is whether you are going to say yes or no to it. This decision-making process can make you anxious. For some people, it keeps them up at night worrying if they will do the right thing or not. To make a good choice, there are some basic questions that you should ask that will help you find courage.

What’s the Worst Thing That Can Happen? 

Don’t just ask yourself what the worst thing that can happen is if you say yes or no, but address both. Take the time to write down a list of the things that can happen if you do it versus if you don’t do it. The thing about saying no is that we maintain the status quo, but we don’t often delve into all the bad things that can happen by saying either yes or no.

What’s the Best Thing That Can Happen?

Don’t forget to also write down the best thing that can happen. The worst thing that can happen is often the biggest fear you have, but what good things can come from your answer of yes or no as well? Identifying some good points on both sides can help you choose.

What Are the Benefits of a Yes or No?

How does this project or opportunity benefit you if you say yes or no? List the benefits to each answer to find out which one outweighs the other. Get deep into the benefits of either answer so that you can address the many actions that can happen, plus address what you can do to eliminate that possibility or enhance it.

What Are the Downsides of Saying Yes or No?

There are always some downsides to saying either yes or no. Write them down. You want to know what can happen with each negative answer. Explore your negative ideas to find out if they’re realistic or just a distraction you’re causing yourself as you make your choice.

What Are the Roadblocks to Saying Yes or No?

For some opportunities, there will be roadblocks in place already, no matter what you say. For example, if you say no it might prevent you from succeeding at something as fast as you would if you said yes, but you may not be able to say yes right away due to other plans or an outside influence. Writing it all down will help you navigate the consequences of your answer.

What Are the Opportunity Costs of Saying Yes or No?

Every choice you make has an opportunity cost. If you are doing A, you may not be able to do B; that is an opportunity cost. Write down what you see as the opportunity cost of either a yes or no answer. Look back at some of the other responses to help you.

Saying no versus doing “it” – whatever the opportunity is – can often be made into a simple answer based simply on your answers to these questions. If you say no, are you going to miss out on something else? If you say yes, will it help you the way you think it will? Plus, always answering what the worst thing that can happen is if you do XYZ, can break you out of your fear and help you find the courage to do the next thing.

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