7 Tips to Say Yes to More of the Right Opportunities

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There used to be a show on TV called "Say Yes to the Dress". It was like a modern-day story of Goldilocks. In each episode, a new set of women came to a bridal salon looking for “The Perfect Dress” - as if this perfect dress would be the way these women would guarantee a perfect future marriage. 

There were generally three types of women portrayed:

  1. Those who had low self-esteem and confidence.  

  2. Those who were materialistic, and no dress was ever good enough.

  3. Those who had excessively high expectations of what a dress could actually do or accomplish if you had any sense of the reality of dress fabric.  

I’m generally talking today to those in the first and third categories – those who feel they are either not good enough or have unrealistic expectations. 

Just like a job, the decision about picking out a dress really doesn’t need to be so difficult – the future rarely ever rides on one decision. 

My boss passed on to me this advice: “Never turn down a job you haven’t been offered”. Meaning, just because it doesn’t automatically appear perfect for you, or you don’t think you are a perfect fit, don’t close the door on an opportunity before it’s even offered to you. 

black-and-white-puzzle right fit - source pixabay found on Pexels-262488.jpg

You never know what kinds of adjustments can potentially be made to the job to make it a better fit. And you never know what potential others see in you being a good fit for the job without talking through it - either during the interview or when you receive an offer.  

You may have heard of some research indicating that women generally don’t apply to jobs unless they feel they can fulfill at 100% of the requirements listed whereas men apply if they can even fill 60%. The suggestion was that the problem was lack of confidence by women. It may or may not be due to confidence – for example, another survey found that other factors may be account for those outcomes for women, such as mistaken perceptions about how hiring actually works and a fear of failure.

In either case, the point is not to close the door on an opportunity prematurely, and assess whether the opportunity could be a great fit with just adjustments. 

Here are a few simple tips to open yourself up to new opportunities for growth and maximize accessing the right ones: 

  1. Before you jump at every opportunity to see what sticks, take some time to write down what kind of challenges, jobs, and tasks motivate you. When opportunities arise, check them against your list. If at least 60% of the job or opportunity can yield something you find exciting, new and motivating, it’s worth applying or seeking out more information about it.

  2. Focus on maximizing the right opportunities that you ultimately say “yes” to and minimizing the wrong opportunities. You know if you say yes to everything, you will have less wiggle room to accept a new great opportunity. And you might even find yourself resentful for having agreed to take on too many opportunities that aren’t the right fit. 

  3. Keep your mind open to something actually working out, even if you initially don’t think it will.

  4. If you are the kind of person that doesn’t think you will be a good fit or good enough: apply and let someone else make that decision for you.

  5. If you are the kind of person that feels you must wait for the perfect set of circumstances, remind yourself there is no such thing. Perfection is your enemy and it will hold you back. There are also plenty of small steps and new opportunities that get you closer and closer to that ideal. 

  6. You can freak out later. If someone offers you a chance at a new opportunity, they personally believe you can do the job. Don’t disagree with them or talk them out of it. Let yourself be open to exploring whether that in fact may be true. 

  7. Negotiate. Once you receive an offer, you always have the opportunity to negotiate to see if there are adjustments that could be made to make it an even better fit. You never know unless you ask. 

Remember: Just like the dress, there is no immediately perfect job and no immediately perfect employee. It’s all about getting the right fit.

Sometimes just a few adjustments can make the difference. Sometimes, just being open to taking on more of the almost-right opportunities will you to the goal. 

I always love to learn more from my readers. Have you had an experience where you jumped at a new opportunity before feeling like you had all the skills or a situation where you prematurely dismissed an opportunity because you worried you weren’t qualified? How did it work out? Do you have other recommendations?


This post was originally published on Psychology Today on December 16, 2018. All rights reserved, Copyright 2018 Mira Brancu/Brancu & Associates, PLLC.