You’ve set your goal, eliminated the biggest obstacles, and now you can set the cruise control and coast, right?
If only that were true.
Just as getting a degree takes a certain level of dedication and sacrifice, so does monitoring your trajectory. You’ll be amazed at how many things want to horn in and take up your time, under the guise of being a “great opportunity.”
Some years back, I’d informed my circle of influence that I was pursuing book ghostwriting full time. This meant shifting my focus away from everything that didn’t meet a certain criteria.
Strangely enough, certain people continued throwing opportunities my way, from art projects, to content writing, and even writing product reviews. Those were no longer my focus and I declined them all. Then a magazine editor asked if I’d write a number of personality pieces. I accepted.
Interview assignments inspire me. They allow me to meet and speak with people from the pulpit to the prison. I practice being a better listener, learn to quickly find common ground, and connect with interesting people.
When an opportunity presents itself, I keep in mind some sage advice: “The reward for a job well done is another job.” Meaning, if you do a good job at something, it will lead to more of the same work. If an opportunity fits with the overarching vision for my goal, it’s a wonderful opportunity.
Be wary of assignments that look simple.
An acquaintance needed help putting her website together. Since she already knew what she wanted on the site, it looked like an afternoon’s work. All I had to do was show her how to set up various pages. I drove to her house, expecting to get started right away. We spent hours looking at themes. At the end of the day, she still hadn’t decided on her theme and needed more time to think about it. When she came back to it months later, the platform had made too many changes. I no longer felt qualified to help her but offered the name of a great web designer.
It doesn’t line up with your goal.
One of my associates asked for my help with a “simple” art project. Even though I had loads of art experience, I haven’t created much in over fifteen years. Instead, I connected her to an artist friend. The project turned out to be far more complicated than it looked.
It isn’t the best use of your time.
Who among us hasn’t tried doing it all ourselves? From creating our own website, to book-keeping, or even taxes. Now, I ask myself this question: “Do I really want to invest the time it will take to learn how to do this well, or hire a pro?”
Thankfully, networking makes it simple to find professionals who love doing the jobs I don’t. I’m happy to pay them and they’re happy for the work.
Your ability to quickly filter “great opportunities” could be the difference between reaching your goal or derailing your progress. Keep your eyes on the prize!
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