When Opportunity Knocks Make Sure It Is For You!

I love it when I get career advice from my kids. Well, maybe ‘kid’ is stretching it. My son is 30 years old. The advice I am thinking about was given to me about five years ago when he was making a choice in his career. He was just establishing his photography career and he would occasionally receive a request from a friend or relative asking him if he would do family photos. Most of the time he would say no. It didn’t matter if he had nothing else booked. It didn’t matter how little money was in the bank.

I remember asking him about his rationale and he said, “I don’t want to be known as the guy who does family photos. If I say yes to this type of work based on my availability and/or bank account, I will get more requests and people will begin to see me as a family photographer.” You can see how that clarity has helped him here

I wish I was that clear earlier in my career.  Actually, I wish I was that clear right now! I just found myself with a client doing work that is taking me away from where I want to be heading in my vocation. I have made a lot of choices in my life based on opportunity not on clarity and conviction about the type of work I want to do.

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
Well...How did I get here?
           (Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads)

It is really easy, when we are in a life transition, to see opportunity as the ‘open door’ we have been waiting for. Sometimes though it isn’t. It is simply an open door. It might not be the best choice. As I have reflected this week about my ‘not-so-dreamy client’ I realized that I made the choice based on fear.  

Fear that nothing else would come along. Fear that if I said no I would regret it at the end of the month. Fear that I would disappoint a potential client. Fear that I would run out of money in my bank account. When we act out of fear we aren’t making the best decisions. And more importantly we may find ourselves heading in the wrong direction and having to find our way back to where we started having lost time and gained little as a result.   

I had to make a difficult choice to end the client relationship. I know there are dreamy clients out there and I”m making space for them. I also realized, as I reflected on how I was feeling, that I am really excited about what I am doing. It took a decision that took me away from it to show me how much I love it. I also saw a gap in my decision making process. It is so important in times of transition to have a clear process guiding your decision making. I’ll be blogging on that topic over the next few weeks.

If you are in transition, working with a coach can really help you process decisions, fears, opportunities, goals and more. If you would like to understand how coaching can help you email me to set up a free 30 minute coaching consultation.