When an opportunity comes up for you, whether it be social, spiritual, career or otherwise, how do you handle it? Do you have a healthy balance of accepting and declining opportunities? Are you good about weighing the pros and cons before you decide on something? Or do you rely on a gut feeling?
Gut feelings are incredibly important but what if that gut feeling always tells you to say no? Is this you? It’s a pretty common occurrence. For some of us, the urge to say no becomes a problem because it prevents us from exploring potential. Undoubtedly, people who suffer with this problem are choosing “no” out of fear.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of meeting new people.
Fear of looking dumb.
Fear of being rejected.
Fear of _____________.
Did you know that most of our fears are only what we tell them to be? Read that again.Our fears are only what we tell them to be. Sure, some fears are legit, but there are many that are mostly the product of negative thoughts that have little basis in reality. What do you tell your fears to be?
I’ve noticed over the years that in the areas of my life that I felt confident in, my instinct was always “Yes! I’d love to!”, but that in areas where I had fear, my instinct was “say no! You can’t do that! You’re not smart enough, poised or outgoing enough (insert whatever negative thought comes up for you).”
But what about me made any of these things true? Nothing. I have no proof of any of this. These are all things I told myself (for whatever reason). Our fears are only what we tell them to be and I had been telling them that I’m afraid of opportunities that make me feel vulnerable, opportunities that will encourage growth or those that bring about change. My fears were often about putting myself out there (taking risks) because god forbid I’m successful and great at what I do – then what will I have to fear?
Here’s the thing: opportunity knocks. Sometimes it knocks loudly. Other times it’s so soft that we don’t even realize there was a knock at the door until we see it walking away. And sometimes opportunity knocks and we slam the door in it’s face rudely. How likely is it that opportunity will come back when we do that? Not very likely. If you want opportunity to keep appearing in your life, you need to be willing to invite it inside sometimes.
To encourage MORE opportunities in your life (and this can be in any area – love, work, health, friendship etc), you should say yes, sometimes, even when you are scared. Say yes and figure out the hows, whats and whys later. If you absolutely have to back out (it’s a possibility) but don’t lock the door until you even know what you are saying no to.
With every YES to opportunity, you are telling the universe that you are up for the challenge, that you trust yourself, that you will take good care of this precious chance. And just like with almost anything else in life, when you prove that you are reliable, willing and deserving, stuff starts to fall into your lap – because you’ve earned it. You can earn opportunity too.
The tricky stuff is figuring out if that instinctual NO reaction is a gut feeling that should be paid attention to (such as in cases that could lead to bodily harm or legal risks – true danger), if you just don’t have any interest in the opportunity or if it’s a fear based No reaction. Remember our fears are only what we tell them to be. If a NO is coming up for you when opportunity knocks, why? If you just don’t want to do something, that’s fine. If taking the opportunity could land you in jail or would risk your life, a No is completely reasonable. But if that No is coming up because you are afraid of falling flat on your face, looking foolish, being vulnerable or because of some other reason you are telling yourself, test the waters by saying yes. Deep down you know if you should give something a chance – try to listen to that voice and quiet down the others.
Part of the reason opportunity stops knocking when we ignore it is because we actually cease to even see it. Opportunity will stop looking for you and you’ll stop looking for it, because it is easier to give your fears power, than it is to dive in and see where life takes you. All you’ll see are the opportunities others are given, and wonder why you don’t have the same fortune. But you do!!
So what, if you fall on your face?
So what, if you look foolish?
So what, if you are vulnerable?
Weigh the pros and cons of taking a risk. You might find that cons list is made up of things that are in your head and aren’t even real.
What opportunities have come your way that you wish you hadn’t said no to? Why did you say no?
One way I open my life to opportunity are with small things: smiling when I don’t feel like it, saying hi when I don’t feel like it, saying yes to a lunch date or a business meeting when I’m feeling shy or awkward etc. Those things aren’t specifically opportunity knocking, but consider them on the same plane as giving directions to your house to “opportunity”. He or she might not show up, but at least they know where you live if they’re in the neighborhood.
Don’t let your fears about who you are or who you think you should be before taking something (or someone) on, prevent you from trying new things or meeting new people.
Growth can be terrifying and uncomfortable. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that while nerve wracking, doing things that scare me (that deep down I know I want to do) actually starts to feel invigorating the more I do it. I can feel scared and excited at the same time, but the excitement wins every time – because by taking chances, I’m teaching myself that the risk of looking foolish or falling on my face really isn’t as bad as sitting at home and hoping I someday have the life I want to have.
So please listen to your gut, but don’t be afraid to question it if it keeps putting out the same answer when there’s a knock at your door.
Now it’s your turn to share. What is something you know you need or want to do but are scared about doing? What are you worried about? Comment below or leave your response on my facebook page. There is someone out there who also shares your fear and would benefit from hearing you share it!