Have you ever gotten a tantalizing invitation to do something that seems glam, fun, amazing, a little too good to be true?
The invite could be an opportunity that opens doors, a break in your routine to see new sights, meet new people, a chance to learn something new. All great benefits except if it detours you from your life purpose, then you should probably stay put.
How do you know?
When I was in college, I had an opportunity to spend a summer in Italy and France with my three cousins, Jere, Ev, and Judy. Europe on the cheap with a bathroom down the hall and mostly cold water on tap. But spending leisurely days in museums, hanging out with other students in the local pub, swimming in the Blue Grotto, eating fresh tortellini, aaah, it was magic. All I wanted when I got home was to somehow get back to Europe.
And then, the following year, my cousin Ev got engaged to a Swedish girl. The wedding was going to be in Gothenberg that summer. All the other traveling cousins would be there, and I was wild to go. But alas: no money. Heading into my senior year, I had big plans to graduate early and move to The Big Apple. I was hugely disappointed, but there was nothing I could do.
And then, my father received a call from his brother saying he would love to pay my way to the wedding. I was delirious with excitement. My wish had somehow magically come true. I was going!
Except for the BIG STRING attached. My uncle would pay for my trip IF I would agree to stay in France with my cousin Jere for a semester, maybe two. I went from elation to despair to the valley of indecision. (You do remember being 20, right?)
I couldn’t decide. Should I postpone my graduation and my ultimate move to New York?
“Throughout our lives, we will be presented with attractive, seductive opportunities,” my wise father said. “Your job is to decide which of theseopportunitiesare really that. It’s only an opportunity if it takes you where you want to go. Otherwise? It’s a detour.”
But how do you know if it’s an opportunity…or a detour? And how do you know if the detour might lead you down roads you never expected, that could change your life forever?
If you are faced with what looks like an opportunity, but you aren’t quite sure, these six (quick) questions can help you:
1. What goals am I striving for?
2. How will this help me reach my goals?
3. What will I have to give up to pursue this?
4. What is the real pay-off of doing it?
5. What is the pay-off of NOT doing it?
6. If I had to pay for it, would I still do it?
In spite of all that, there ARE times when “taking a flyer” IS the right decision. You just feel in your gut a big YES! But when you do that? Be honest with yourself. Don’t justify. Just do it, see where it leads…
Your time, energy and focus are precious resources. Make sure when you use them they are taking you where you want to go. Europe for a year might have been a blast, but my move to New York started me on my road to Yippee….
In the comment section below tell us about your opportunity or detour. Should you take the flyer? We can help you decide!
Until next Tuesday. YIPPEE!