Giving Compass' Take:
- The author shares her professional insight on the power of committing to opportunities that present themselves within a career.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
So you might be surprised to learn that I think of myself as more of a “yes” person. I believe that organizations should say yes when it strategically supports both their missions and business models. And the same goes for individuals— especially when it supports personal and/or professional growth. Looking back on my own career, I’ve realized that saying yes to key opportunities has become a kind of living lab for my own professional development. And it is the accumulation of those experiences that has shaped my career path.
You can’t (and shouldn’t) say “yes” to every opportunity. But when do you know which ones to go for? I often ask myself the following questions to help me determine whether to explore an opportunity:
Networking: Will I meet new people? If so, are they people I will enjoy spending time with, learning from, and/or working with?
Leadership: Will I develop leadership skills that are new or different from my usual role? Can I learn from an inspirational leader? Can I inspire others to follow?
Risk: Is this outside of my personal or professional comfort zone? What happens if the project, group, or I fail? What is the probability of success, potential for failure, and what can I learn from it?
Trade-offs: What are the possible rewards and benefits to saying yes? What is the impact on my time and other commitments? Will I be spread too thin?
Purpose: Am I passionate about the opportunity or just casually interested? Why am I saying yes: to learn, experience, drive change, problem solve, create, or be part of a group? Or should I stop over-thinking it and simply embrace the joys of serendipity?