Knowing When to Put Your Hand Down By M. Allen, MBA
In September of 2017, I closed a business that I had started barely 6 months prior. I had the innate skill. I had credentials and I had years of experience. Naturally, I felt compelled to go into consulting to help others. I even had two clients and a list of potentials.
At work, I’ve always volunteered my time for special assignments. At church, if I felt compelled to join a committee (which was often), I did it. I always want to help everyone and do everything, but how can I? Why should I? When is the right time? If you’re like me and have so many balls in the air that you’ve run out of hands to catch them with, then you need to know and recognize when to put your hand down.
Knowing when to put your hand down begins with setting boundaries and gaining clarity. Boundaries for yourself and for others. Clarity on what your mission, values, and goals are. Before raising your hand for that next business venture, meeting, project, or even a night out on the town, consider the following questions:
Does it make sense?
As I mentioned earlier, I found it logical to start consulting on something I’ve done for years. From that aspect, consulting made sense. On the other hand, looking at consulting in the “big picture”, it didn’t make any sense. I currently have a full-time job. I am an author working on 3 books. I am President of QBSC. I’m a wife, and a mother. It doesn’t make any sense to add a full time, sole proprietorship to my repertoire. Being clear on my personal goals and my spiritual purpose allowed me to realize that this new business didn’t make any sense. Which brings me to the next question.
It is in line with your goals or passion?
If you wouldn’t put on dress that didn’t fit you well, why would you embark on a venture or project that does not fit you? It is the same concept. Be sure that you are clear on what you want, why you want it, and what success looks like. Write your goals out. Organize them by categories (work, home, business, school, etc). If you know what your passion is, then write that down. I’m a huge mind-mapper. I write everything down on a mind map. Write your passion(s) on a paper or virtual mind map. Then branch all of your activities from there. If you can’t figure out which bucket to place the new endeavor in, drop it like it’s hot! I realized after 14 years of picking up random projects at work, that I have no rhyme or reason to my madness. Some were in line with my career growth goals, but others were just to keep me busy.
Are you over-extended?
Will your participation in this activity, project, or endeavor bring value to you and those receiving your services or time? Notice the exact wording of the question posed above, including the use of the conjunction and. If you are considering another endeavor or venture, but are already committed to other things, be sure that you aren’t over-extended. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Over-extension can have stressful effects including health issues, failure to meet expectations, and burnout. If you can’t be fully effective, then reconsider or table the idea.
Overall, if it isn’t pushing you closer to your goal(s) or doesn't support your overall spiritual purpose; if it isn't a “hell yes”, then put your hand down boo! Put it down.