3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Saying a Yes

When you were younger, were you one of those kids involved in ten different extracurricular activities after school? Opportunities to be involved in our surrounding communities don’t simply disappear when we graduate and enter the real world. If you look hard enough, you’ll always find plenty of them. Maybe even too many of them.

It’s tempting to want to be involved in everything. Taking on more responsibilities outside of what we are expected or required to do, whatever the reason, is natural. It makes us feel good. It makes us feel like what we’re doing in our spare time is important.

Jumping right into a new commitment, job-related or otherwise, without weighing the pros and cons is not the smartest way to respond to an opportunity. Here are some questions you can ask yourself before saying yes to something new.

1. How Does This Fit in With My Personal and Professional Goals

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Get Clarity on Your Goals

Often we say yes to things because we feel that’s what we are expected to do, or we don’t want to let someone down. You will bring much more value to something if you genuinely care about it, as well as those also involved with it.

One way to narrow down what we can and want to commit to is to evaluate whether this new opportunity aligns with our goals. Are we volunteering because it’s part of our personal mission to help people, or are we just doing it because it looks good on a resume or application.

A reliable rule to live by in this situation is this: one commitment you are passionate about and completely dedicated to is better than five you don’t care about.

2. What Value can I Bring to the organization or Cause

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Personal Values Towards Life

Any company you join, organization you volunteer for or a cause you support has an end goal. Every employee and volunteer who is hired fits into the steps that will be required to meet that end goal. If you’re offered a new opportunity, look to your own set of goals or your own mission statement. Your abilities and experience is what makes you a valuable asset to a company.

If you don’t already have a personal and/or professional mission statement, ask yourself which skills or what background knowledge you have that might be able to help out. If your skill sets or background don’t quite match up, the opportunity, however good is just not meant for you. At least not right now.

3. Do I Have Enough Time at Hand

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Manage Time with Self Discipline

The biggest mistake we can make in agreeing to taking on a new opportunity or responsibility at work or otherwise is doing so without considering how much time it will require.

There is only so much time in one day. Not only do we need to learn to prioritize it; we also need to achieve a deeper understanding of the different kinds of time available every day. We need just as much productive time as we do rest time; just as much family and friend time as alone time.

Before saying yes, ask yourself (and be honest) if it’s something you can handle. As with many opportunities we seek out or are offered, it may be a once in a lifetime chance. But it’s not always the best time, and there isn’t always enough time. Consider yourself; your health; your relationships. If it’s not going to cost you sleep, exercise, down time or friends, it just might be something you can say yes to with confidence after all.

There are many reasons for saying yes to something new, as many reasons as there are for saying no. There is a time to do something nice for someone else and a time to put yourself first. Each opportunity is different and will come to you at a different time in your life.

Always make sure you are saying yes for the right reasons. And when you do, put your whole heart and soul into that work. If it’s part of your mission, you’re qualified to help and you can find the time for it, it won’t be quite as stressful. In this way, everyone wins.

ByMeg Dowell

Meg is on a mission to help people learn to live smarter, healthier lives. She is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine and blogs daily at megdowell.com.

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