Inspiration

You’ve got this: How to recognize opportunities

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Dr Froswa’ Booker-Drew answers your questions, putting her years of experience and practice into the goal of solving those knotty problems that beset us, and assuring us: ‘you’ve got this’. If you’d like Froswa’ to look at your particular problem, email it to [email protected].

With the pressure to take advantage of opportunities to advance, excel, promote your work, etc., how do you recognize what opportunities are best for your whole self and how do you know when to say “no thank you” to a good opportunity? Likewise, when do you know it’s time to walk away from an existing position? HL.

Dear HL,

When I was a kid, I didn’t like the circus.  I thought it was smelly and I had some seriously fundamental issues that this column isn’t designed to address but I knew something was weird and yet, strangely enjoyable.  When the juggler would come out to perform, I was fixated on trying to understand how he could handle so many balls and that he continued to add more.  Really?  In retrospect, I believe that this was probably a future metaphor for my life and for the lives of so many women.

I think somewhere we are faced with this concept of multi-tasking and trying to delicately balance all of the balls we have in the air.  The reality is that an additional ball could overwhelm our focus.  It is knowing your state of flow.  I believe when you are able to understand three areas, it is easier to make decisions about taking advantage of opportunities, when to say no and when it is time to put your foot on the gas to go forward.

Think about your flow. 

So, what is the state of Flow? “A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”   – Csikszentmihalyi, 1990 

(https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi-father-of-flow/)

I was at a retreat recently and one of the most powerful activities was the idea of creating three co-centric circles.  The first circle is designed for you to write out your passion—what are three to five things that you love.  In the second circle, you list the things that you are good at—those things you do that exude your best self.  The last circle is to write down what you are paid to do.  In my case, talk, think, problem solve, collaborate.

What was so crazy for me was that all of my circles were practically the same!  I know that this isn’t the case for everyone but it was a clue to me that when I am out of my passion and state of flow, doesn’t matter if a role allows me to do that, 2 out of the 3 areas of my life can be critical for my advancement.

In a nutshell, take those opportunities that allow you to exhibit your passion and allow you to work in your state of flow.  This becomes your litmus test.  When an opportunity takes you away from your purpose, it is no longer an opportunity—it is a distraction.  I learned some years ago that all money isn’t good money.  It might be great in your account but what it will cost you in peace and time might be more expensive than you realize.

Those three circles will also help you walk away.  When you’ve outlived your purpose, you are no longer growing, it might be time to go.  I can’t speak to every woman’s situation but what I can say is that when I’m no longer excited to wake up to work on a project, I’m sacrificing my joy. There’s nothing wrong with temporarily remaining but create a plan for your exit strategy and work toward those things that bring you fulfillment, expand your growth, provide opportunities to flow and get you closer to your dreams…. You. Got. This.

About Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew is a Partnership Broker. Relational Leadership Junkie. Connector. Author/Speaker/Trainer. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle. She been quoted and profiled in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. In addition, she has been asked to speak on a variety of topics such as social capital and networking, leadership, diversity, and community development to national and international audiences. This included serving as a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power. One of the most impactful life events for her was being a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that followed a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. Honors for her work include: Semi-finalist for the SMU TEDx in 2012, 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross. Graduating with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change, she also attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations, and is the author of 2 workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last as well as a writer for several publications around the globe.

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