Too good to be true
We hear a lot about being ready for opportunities when they knock on our door. It may be the big break we have been seeking, praying for, and wanting to happen. So, when something resembling that big break “knocks on our door” (perhaps in the mailbox), or in our inbox or text messages, is the real deal, or should we be very wary of it? True, it may be just what we have been looking for, but then again, it may be a total wasted effort and really counterproductive to our business or personal growth. It could even be risky or expensive in several ways (financial, reputation, theft of online privacy information, or more).
People will tell us that we should be on the lookout for opportunities to knock or appear at our door and to be ready to embrace them. Otherwise, we might miss out on something really important. But, what about the times when opportunities may have the wrong address and knock on our door by mistake? Not every opportunity is worthwhile or worth pursuing – it may not be for us at all. In fact, it may be risky or dangerous for us to pursue. It could be costly financially or in terms of the amount of time we devote to considering it that is pulling us away from our more important pursuit of matters important to our business and our clients.
Tricky to determine the good from the bad
Sometimes we don’t know or can’t tell at the outset whether an opportunity has merit and if it’s worth pursuing. Sometimes, however, there are little clues or signals that perhaps the opportunity isn’t as good for us as it might seem initially.
Say we get invited to lunch and we accept because we think it might lead to something. We have never been invited to lunch by this person before or it’s been a while since it’s happened. We figure that there must be a good reason that the offer came at this time, so we go – if just because we are curious and think that there really could be something to this.
It might sound very good at first – perhaps too good. It might sound interesting but suggest that it will take more work and energy than we are prepared to give right now. We might determine that this was just lunch and that’s all it was ever meant to be.
Someone might call for us to do a proposal for them or a renovation. It sounds like a lucrative opportunity, but it’s outside our business model and comfort zone of what we typically provide. Against our instinct that this isn’t really something we should be pursuing even though the scope suggests that there could be good money involved, we take a couple of days to prepare a detailed proposal but then lose the job because we were never really a serious contender for the job.
Our initial feelings were correct. We were so excited to be considered that we dropped our guard and didn’t ask enough questions upfront before starting to walk down that path. Now, we need to regroup and get back to our primary business.
Using due diligence
The point is this. Not everything that looks or sounds attractive is worth pursuing. We have to evaluate the time it will take, the financial return, how well we might like to do it, the skills that we have to undertake it, and what we might be giving up in terms of other more appropriate business to pursue that particular opportunity. This is exercising de care and diligence in evaluating the potential opportunity.
Even exploring an opportunity may take more time than we really were prepared to give it at the time It showed up. Being a little more discerning in how we open the door for opportunities when they knock will save us from devoting time and energy to considering projects that really are outside our areas of expertise or comfort level. Emails have become notorious for this. It costs a person nothing, as we often learn, for someone to seem that they interested in having us help them when they really know nothing about what we do and have no need for us to help them. They just want to help themselves, at our expense.
We have the power to say “no” to incoming opportunities, as attractive or lucrative as they might seem at first glance, while still being open a good opportunity when we feel that one is standing at our door or awaiting our response for an email or social media contact or invitation.
We don’t want to look back at something we leaped into or felt was our “big break” or golden opportunity only to discover that we had been misled by it.