Recently I had to turn down an opportunity for good reasons. I believe it was a combination of 3 of the following:

1. It will affect other areas of your life

We only have so much time we can dedicate to anything. If you are spending time on one task or area of your life, others will inevitably suffer whether that is your relationships, health or your work. We have to choose wisely.

2. It isn’t a good fit

Sometimes you have to realise that your time would be better spent doing something else. Maybe the organisation you are making the commitment to doesn’t match all of your values.

3. The reward isn’t good enough

When I say reward the first instance is to think pay and yes this could be one of the reasons, there are others however. Maybe the goals of the project aren’t ambitious enough for you.

4. It doesn’t make you say ‘hell yes’

Derek Sivers has a nice article on this subject (a quick search will take you there). If something doesn’t excite you and make you want to jump at it, then maybe this isn’t the one for you.

5. It isn’t really a good opportunity

Companies like to brand jobs as opportunities and we all think that our project is worth getting on board with. The reality, however, is that not all opportunities are good opportunities. Sure, it might be a good opportunity for the organisation to grow but it may not be a good opportunity for you to grow as a person. This is closely tied with numbers 2 and 3 as it comes down to the fit and the rewards on offer.


I’m always very interested in hearing about the opportunities people have rejected and their reasons for it. If you have something you have passed on recently I’d like to read about it in the comments below. In hindsight was it the correct decision?