Keep your eye on the prize

Photo Credit: kenmainr via Flickr
Photo Credit: kenmainr via Flickr
There are opportunities in life (big and small) that can leave us waffling.

On paper it sounds good.
It feels like it might be fun.
I could be really good at it.
Everyone else thinks I should do it.

So how do you decide when to say yes and when to say no?

I’ve said yes to more things than I should have. Sometimes that ended with me sucking it up and keeping my commitments anyway. And other times it ended with me going back with my head hung in shame, asking for forgiveness and backing out.

But neither of these scenarios feel good. And the only way to prevent them is to know when to say No.

The trouble is that our brains like to rationalize and explain why something does or does not make sense, and this can create overwhelm or analysis paralysis.

Bypass your brain (but not in the surgical sense).

It’s helpful to do some pre-thinking about what’s important to you. Come up with 3 questions (or more) that can act as a filter for those things that send your brain into over-rationalizing.

Here’s a template:

  1. My goal is to ___________. Does this opportunity help me get there?
  2. My purpose is to __________. Does this opportunity help me serve my purpose? (Note: this could also be your “why” or mission or whatever).
  3. Overall, I want my life to be _______ (including family, health, etc). Does this opportunity help me live that life?

But that’s just a starting place. You might have other things that are important to you. Write them down. Keep them somewhere handy, and then when you’re waffling about whether to do something or not even if it does/does not make sense on paper, take out your filter and see if this opportunity passes the test.

Keep your eye on the prize. (And the prize is your best life… however you choose to define it).