Someone I know is feeling a little sad because she’s worried about the implications of turning down something that is being presented to her as an outstanding and great opportunity. No one can tell you for sure that something is outstanding and great for you. Those terms are subjective and personal. We all need to apply our own standards when making big decisions for ourselves, because ultimately we have to live with what we decide. If an opportunity doesn’t seem as outstanding and great as its alternatives–even if the alternative is doing nothing–then let it pass. There will always be more opportunities.

Let me give you a couple examples. By the time I graduated from Carleton University with my degree in journalism, I had attracted enough attention to myself to get a few job offers and recommendations from my profs. One of them was from an up-and-coming high tech company in Ottawa called Nortel Networks. Nortel needed a director of internal communications, a job that would have come with a hefty salary and benefits package. But, I had decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur for a while, and that I could always go back to corporate life later. My dad kind of shook his head and sighed when I told him that I was letting the Nortel opportunity go. But, in the end, he knew it was my decision and respected that. In subsequent years, as I struggled to build my company and life in Hamilton, I often looked back and wondered how things would be different had I taken a different road. But I never regretted my choice. Now, from where I stand, I still believe I made the right decision. I’m generally happy and consider myself to be successful in most things that I’ve tried since then. Nortel Networks, on the other hand, is not so happy. 😛

The other example is a friend I know was within half a credit of finishing his MBA three years ago. He had an internship with a large brokerage firm doing finance work. He was considered to be one of the most talented and promising finance students of his year, and would have no trouble making a large salary working for a bank. Then, to everyone’s surprise, he quit school to start selling batteries and other general merchandise to convenience stores out of the back of his car. He would buy products from Costco and resell them to smaller stores. His family family was furious, and friends all thought he was nuts. Now, he’s the one selling to Costco as one of the largest battery and general merchandise distributors in Canada.

All I’m trying to say is that opportunities are bombarding us from all directions. To spot the ones that are right for us, we just need to open our eyes and our hearts and use our brains too. Hmmm… now that I think about it, seizing the right opportunity is kind of like taking a photo… 🙂