It started when I realized I had missed out on a great collaboration opportunity because I was too focused on a project I didn’t enjoy. In this particular case, it was whether or not to join a coworking space where two fellows I greatly admire were officing.
A motion designer and an artsy designer. There were other artists and photographers, too. In an inspiring and lively space in an exciting part of the city. But because of my unenjoyable arrangement that I told myself I needed to put all my focus on for a variety of over-analyzed reasons, timing wasn’t quite right to join the space. I was hoping I’d be able to someday soon, just not right then.
But I recently found out those two individuals left the space. I was bummed. I missed my chance. I didn’t jump in feet first because I was too busy ignoring three very important factors.
Typically, I’m a person who needs to process a lot before making a decision. I need to research, look at it from all angles, analyze risks/rewards and play out different scenarios in my mind. Rarely do I act rashly, hastily or on a whim. This approach does keep me from jumping at opportunities that aren’t quite right. But in retrospect, it has also kept me from taking on some I should have.
Now when decisions need to be made about whether or not I should accept or deny a certain endeavor, I employ a handy little checklist. It ensures I still do the due diligence but get to decision-time efficiently and effectively, quickly and with no regrets.
When an opportunity presents itself, does it involve:
#1: People Who Bring It
Why spend time wanting to work with people who make it happen or who you’ve always wanted to work with? There are people out there doing great things and in the business of collaborating, why not just work with those people? No need to wait around for stars to align.
If those sorts of people are involved in the opportunity, check one.
#2: An Inspiring Arrangement
Perhaps it’s a specific place. Or maybe a certain framework or relationship structure that’s really inspiring. This used to be reserved for extracurriculars and art projects. Now it’s more and more an important factor in my core workday. That’s one of the main benefits of being independent anyway. You’re in control of the arrangements you work within.
If the arrangement is inspiring, check two.
#3: The Short “Long View”
If this thing I’m making a decision about will benefit me personally or professionally 1 or 2 months down the line, well I should do it. Life’s too god damn short. I’ve stopped justifying otherwise.
If I’ll grow in some way from the opportunity, check three.
For example: Should I do this thing that involves people who bring it in an inspiring arrangement where I will learn about XYZ?
Yes, yes I should. And if not, then it’s a no go.
With these three points firmly in my head, I’ve decided to jump at several opportunities since that fateful one I missed. And I ended the unenjoyable arrangement. No time to delay, dwell or dilly-dally, the days keep passing by.
I’m thankful for that opportunity missed. It spurred me on to find a way to drop the unnecessary analysis and get to decision time efficiently, no regrets style. From now on, if it’s 1, 2, 3, then it’s “jump.”