As we embark on our reinvention journey, how do we learn to say “no” to an opportunity without closing a door? How do we gracefully turn down a great opportunity from a well-intentioned friend or networking acquaintance that just isn’t quite “right” while still keep that door open to future opportunities?

When we’ve made the decision to reinvent our life, we often have a very clear picture in our head about what exactly it is we’re looking to do. And when an opportunity comes our way that isn’t quite what we had in mind, it can be tempting to reject it outright and instantly pivot to the next one. But this is a mistake!

Here is my four-step plan for saying “no” that will keep every single one of your doors open to you:

Acknowledgement: Before you ever say no, acknowledge the person who is bringing you this opportunity for thinking of you. You want to encourage them to continue this behavior!

Communicate your core priorities: Never lead with “This opportunity isn’t right for me because…” Rather, start by saying, “This is a great opportunity, but actually, my core priorities are…” When people are tuned in to your exact reinvention goals, they will be more likely to instantly think of you if they come across a more fitting opportunity in the future.

Express interest in future opportunities: Once you’ve acknowledged the person for thinking of you and clearly expressing your priorities, don’t forget to clearly express interest in any future opportunities that they may have for you!

Apply these techniques during interviews: You would be surprised how successful this strategy can be not just for networking, but for interviewing as well! When opportunities are properly acknowledged and priorities are clearly stated, an employer may be willing to change the angle of an opportunity to align it more closely with your goals. You’ll never know unless you try!

Tune in to the podcast this week as I dig deeper into each of these four techniques and hear how I actually used this exact strategy for saying “no” during my own reinvention journey. It opened doors I never dreamed would be opened to me! And if you’ve ever worried that years working in the same industry may have left you lacking other skills that will be vital to your reinvention, tune in to hear the advice I gave one listener who was struggling with this particular brand of reinvention fear. We should never let our fears dictate our reinvention journey!

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Are you guilty of saying “no’s” that close doors? How will you implement the 4-step plan this month as you move forward with your reinvention?

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