What happens when you read this quote?  Whenever I read it, I start to get this funny feeling in my gut.  It’s like seeing a truth about myself that I didn’t want to see.

As a leader and business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in saying “yes” to others.

  • You want to feel needed.
  • You want to feel like you belong.
  • You want to make co-workers, employees, and clients happy.

And then you tell yourself that you’re happy because you’re making others happy.  Except there is still this nagging voice that tells you there’s something more out there.

You think, what if this is the last good opportunity that comes my way? It can be scary to let it go. So maybe you say yes to something you really don’t want to be doing because the alternative, missing an opportunity, suddenly feels like the last train to happiness and you don’t want to be left sitting at the station.

Figuring out which opportunities are right for you can be the hardest thing for executives and business owners. It’s the work of discernment and courageous authenticity and something I deal with a lot as a professional coach and business consultant.

For business owners, it means knowing your true gifts and talents at a deep level.

It’s knowing the difference between opportunities that allow you to bring these skills to their full potential and those that don’t.

It’s a willingness to put fear aside – fear that you are missing out – and connect to a deep and abiding trust inside you. Listening to your gut. Knowing there is something even better for you. And this is at the heart of what it means to be an effective leader.

It’s the belief that you will know what to say “yes” to when it comes along.

Not because someone else wants you to do it but because you know, deep within you, that you want to do it – because it holds passion and meaning to you.

Before you say yes to an opportunity, ask yourself why you are considering accepting it.

Here are some questions to help you discern your answer:

  • Why do I want to say yes?
  • Am I trying to make someone else happy?
  • Am I afraid of what will happen if I say no?
  • How does saying yes make me feel?  Excited? Relieved? Dull?
  • If I could change something about this opportunity to make it even better, what would it be?

Listening to that small voice within you is hard.  Especially if you are an executive that has a lot on your plate, like leading a team, marketing, strategizing, and most likely a host of other things too.  But that voice holds the key to finding your freedom, happiness, and success.  And the more you learn to develop that voice and listen to it, the easier it will be to recognize when the right opportunities come your way.

And that’s a pretty powerful thing that can transform the way you navigate your career and become an effective leader with the capability of managing and inspiring a team.