Updated: Aug 24, 2021
3 Questions to Ask Yourself When you Reach for Opportunities.
The internet is flooded with opportunities daily for people across various fields and skillsets. If you are not mindful, you may find yourself in rooms and spaces you have zero interest or motivation being in.
Over the last few years, I have been in spaces where people reached out for every opportunity they stumbled upon, whether or not they had genuine interest, or it was a fit based on their goals. The truth is, even I found myself in the same position more than once-- the place where I had to battle the urge to join a group or apply for a job just because I felt the desperate need to have something going on for me. The reasoning here is that it is great to have something to add to your LinkedIn bio; something to add to your resume; something to tell your friends about when talking about productivity and the "what have you been up to?" question comes up. I am glad I snapped out of it because not only is it tiring, it is unhealthy and unfulfilling.
From what little I have experienced and learned, I want to share with you three questions I believe we should all ask ourselves when we seek to maximise opportunities.
1. What is the source and height of your conviction?
Ask yourself, "Is this a cause I am truly convicted about?" "Is this something I would sign up for void of any pressure to do so?", "Would I even consider applying for that job if my friend didn't already work two jobs and I feel that I have to catch up with him/her?", "Am I pursuing this opportunity for myself?"
When we go for opportunities, we must go for them out of a genuine desire, not because we wish to satisfy, catch up with, or impress anyone.
2. Does the opportunity align with your growth and goals?
Question how the particular opportunity will contribute to your overall growth and success. I’d be surprised to meet someone who wishes to work just for the sake of it. When we are strategic about reaching out for opportunities, we sign up for an academic scholarship because we know it will help us afford the education we want; we apply for a job because we believe it will help us build a resume/CV in a particular field; we take on projects or get involved with causes because we hope it would help us build a portfolio in a specific area. By focusing, we go only for opportunities we know align with our academic, career, and personal goals.
3. Is it a give-and-take situation?
The critical question here is - "Are you going to be giving more than you are taking?" Life consists primarily of give-and-take situations. If you are not giving to a relationship or person, you are most probably the one taking; and if you are not the one taking, you are the one giving. In bright and fortunate cases, it is not a one-way street; every party involved takes and receives --the opportunities you go for should be this way, or else you may want to reconsider.
When you accept the job offer, you do so with the knowledge that your acceptance marks your entry into a mutually beneficial relationship with the organisation. You expect that by the end of your work with the group, you would have attained added value as a professional and, in return, added value to the organisation. If things are this way, it is clear that it's a give and take situation. In the case where you are going to be adding value but receive nothing in return, you are probably trapping yourself in an unacceptable situation.
As a result of the constant and ever-increasing pressure to stay productive and on top of your academic, professional/career game, you may apply/interview for whatever pops up in our search results and on your timeline. In the past, I found myself in this same position so early on this year, I resolved only to pursue opportunities that align with my interests and career goals. I have since proceeded to approach every application and signup with intentionality, always maintaining focus and direction. This is how I know I am reaching for the right opportunities. It is how I feel that I am on to something. It is how I feel reassured that in the future, my current work/professional experiences wouldn't be looked on as walks in the park or ventures to "find myself". It is how I position myself to ensure that with every task added to my to-do list and accomplished, I move closer to my goals.
I hope that this piece helps you gain some clarity and establish pace as you proceed with your search for advancement and growth.
For the last time, stay well and happy, my friends. It was a pleasure serving as a social media intern with Future Black Female over the past four months! :(