When you say No to one thing, you are saying Yes to something else. It might just be saying Yes to more time (with nothing yet scheduled) or saying Yes to doing nothing (for now). Saying No leaves the door open for something better to say Yes to.
That said, I have many motivated and ambitious clients. Coaching often self-selects for motivated and ambitious people, and this energy is infectious. These people attract a lot of opportunities. However, finding the dream job often means an unnerving dose of saying No, as less than ideal job opportunities arise. My motivated and ambitious clients don’t want just any new job, but rather the right job or their dream job. How about you?
In addition to saying No as less than ideal opportunities arise, you also need to be comfortable investing time with no guaranteed result or end date in sight. It takes time to define your dream job criteria, time to stick to these criteria as you sift through various opportunities, and time to let these opportunities play out. Even with the most exhaustive research and choosiest networking, not every opportunity you surface will be a good match. You may need to say No after having invested time and energy and hope! You will need the courage and fortitude to stick to what you know is meaningful to you.
That said, I also don’t recommend that you say No to a good job that meets many of your criteria and is a strong next step, as you wait for the perfect job that meets all of your criteria. Only you can decide exactly what tradeoffs you should make. Most of the time, there will need to be tradeoffs.
I once coached a gregarious and amiable client, who naturally attracted lots of opportunities. Her ideal was a big company environment, but she started pursuing some of the smaller companies that expressed interest in her. In general, it’s good to cast a wide net. However, you still need to be selective. I advised this client to only pursue the smaller companies in addition to, but not instead of the bigger, first choice companies.
Saying Yes to every small company overture that opportunistically came along meant saying No to extra time for surfacing more big company leads. We all have limited time. At some point, this client might move from just being distracted from her goal to being derailed. Is this something you are guilty of when you pursue that unexpected lead?
Say No to say Yes to more attention and less distraction. Say No to say Yes to more time for ideal job opportunities and less to settling. Say No to say Yes to staying on track. You can’t pursue everything, so hold out for the things that really matter to you. Say No to say Yes to something better.