We are in a season where invitations are plentiful. Holiday events, business meetings, luncheons, dinners, year-end company celebrations, award trips, and more. Some of the most common invitations in the business community this year have been offers for new opportunities, jobs- stay or leave companies, teams, career changes, retirement, entrepreneurship, sabbaticals, buy or sell companies, and the like. The job changes are referred to as, “The Great Resignation” and every company is on full alert to find ways to safeguard their organizations from any negative fall-out.

December is typically a time of reflection. We are contemplating where we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished, misses, happiness, energy levels, relationship status and viability, employment and financial standing, and our health.

It’s something about the ending that starts our beginnings. This leads me to the invitation. During this time, the invitations start to materialize. The question lies in whether to accept or decline. Simple, in theory, but sometimes there is more to the invitations we receive than what lies on the surface.

Recently, I was contacted by a CEO who was referred to me by another executive. They were interested in exploring if I was interested in assisting with some of their services. On the surface, one might have thought that this was a great opportunity to generate additional revenue for my firm. This is similar to the LinkedIn message, email, or calls you might receive regarding a new job or business opportunity. Let’s face it, it’s nice to be wanted, invited to participate, or be sought after.

As flattering as it might be, it’s important to be clear about your goals and objectives for your career, life, and future. It’s also wise not to let a downturn, disagreement, miscommunication, unfavorable outcome shift your sails too soon. We all have hiccups, people disappointments, policies that we don’t agree with but have to adhere to, and more. Organizations are complicated as they are composed of people.

As I reflected on this invitation, I decided to decline. I’m very clear about the work and spaces in which I provide the highest ROI to my clients and focusing on my “sweet spot” instead of becoming distracted by a shiny object, could derail me. This wouldn’t have been clear to me at the time if I hadn’t taken the time to identify my goals and business strategy. I needed to understand how I want to use my gifts and energy while continuing to maximize the profitability of my firm.

As you are faced with like invitations, be sure to draft your goals, strategies, and personal needs to ensure your compass is set in the right direction before deciding to accept or decline. I see it far too often where individuals don’t have the longer-term clarity or are in a season of disappointment with their organizations, managers, co-workers, results, or themselves and think accepting an invitation is the best way forward.

As part of the #mentalfitness work I practice, I quickly explored what were the gift and opportunities in this invitation, since I wasn’t moving forward. I created a new contact, one where there was respect for the work and reputation I have established with my firm; I have a new referral source to share with potential individuals who may be a fit for their needs or potential prospects that could benefit from their services; the acknowledgment that the original referral source thought enough to share me as a valuable resource within their network; I didn’t exert unnecessary time, energy, and resources in something that wasn’t aligned with my needs; and it allowed me to stay laser-focused on what I do well!

Are you clear as to whether to accept or decline the invitations that come your way? Have you created your goals, objectives, personally and professionally to serve as your compass? How can you make this a priority now so as you begin the reflection process ensuring you are equipped with a roadmap to assess whether to accept or decline invitations that come your way?

As a Change Management professional, I welcome invitations. They create opportunities whether we accept or decline. I also recognize the value of going deep within to evaluate and activate the gift of knowledge in these situations. “What do I need to understand to take action?Sometimes, the opportunities are where you currently reside. If you are seeking more compensation or promotion, begin keeping a monthly achievement tracker that lists everything big or small that you have accomplished; research market salaries for your job and skill level; think about perks or other non-monetary rewards that could enhance your work-life and enjoyment; request 15-minute one to one check-ins with your manager, leaders of teams you have interest in learning more about, peers that are instrumental in maintaining the type of culture you desire; ask for constructive feedback based on strengths and areas of development, on your skills, teamwork interactions, and performance then use this to create a development plan for yourself.

I’ve found in my 15-year entrepreneurial run, that it’s so much more valuable to learn and grow within the organizations I’m currently affiliated with, than being in the constant pursuit of chasing new business. I manage a balance of current versus new business to meet and achieve my business and personal goals, as life has to be about enjoying your non-work-related interests too. We need downtime, to relax, recharge, and refresh our minds, bodies, and spirit. We need to intentionally reconnect and build upon the relationships that we care deeply about; and if you find you don’t have these kinds of relationships, then include specific plans of action to begin to establish one or two. Don’t buy into personal relationships does not matter, as human beings, we are here for each other.

The invitations will come, be prepared to discern which ones to accept or decline. Your decision can make the difference in whether you are on-purpose or derailed. There is always a gift or opportunity in whatever decision you choose, it’s all a matter of your mindset. #LeadershipChaser