You probably know what it’s like to feel like you’re seeing opportunity all the time.
Maybe it’s your own idea, or someone else bringing you an opportunity, but it seems like when we’re open to it, opportunity is surrounding us.
But every time we say yes to an opportunity, we’re implicitly saying no to another. So if you’re like me, you probably get into a lot of situations that you’re sort of lukewarm on, you could see yourself doing it, but you know it’s going to take away from something else.
For me, I know that whenever I commit to something and put my face or name on/behind it, I will refuse for it to fail if there’s anything within my power to make it succeed.
Even if that means undervaluing my time.
So the best way I’ve learned to say “no” to the opportunities I’m interested in but ultimately know I shouldn’t take on, is to actually tell someone that I need to protect myself from myself.
“This sounds really great, and I’d love to be supportive, but I’m working on a couple projects right now that I need to put full focus on. I know that if I get involved with this, I’ll be unable to keep myself from putting more time into it than I should, and I need to protect myself from myself.”
This goes for one-off projects or events as well as client opportunities. If I’m at or nearing capacity, I move to protect myself from myself so the projects in flight don’t suffer.
Not only does this protect your time, but it also protects your relationship with the individual and when used correctly, keeps you in the running for future opportunities too.