Don’t Be Afraid to Take Opportunities
Published on December 5, 2016 by Tom Westover
It can be intimidating to be faced with an amazing opportunity. Whether the opportunity is a chance to work with a well-known individual in your future field or to head up a team to work on a project that excites you, as a student, you may lack the confidence you need to accept these opportunities and tackle them head on. When you go back to school and are faced with an abundance of information that you are learning for the first time, your confidence inevitably takes a blow. Even if you are succeeding in all of your classes and excelling on all of your assignments, the work that you are putting in can make you feel less than qualified to take on a leadership role. When opportunities present themselves, you may be unwilling to jump at the chance to participate.
In an effort to fight back against this tendency to shy away from great opportunities during your college career, you need to prepare yourself in advance with a well-thought out plan on how you will respond to an offer to get involved in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. First, when you are presented with the opportunity you need to assess whether or not it is something that you want to do and something that will further your career goals or otherwise excite you. As a student, you have the luxury of being a bit selfish. If the opportunity doesn’t necessarily match your career path, but it will allow you to do something you have dreamed of for quite some time, obviously it is something that you should do. Likewise, if the opportunity will cause your resume to stand out from the crowd, even if the opportunity isn’t at the top of your list of dream experiences, you may want to give it a second look.
Once you have decided that you are going to throw your hat in the ring and try to participate, you need to express to the offeror that you are indeed passionate about participating. In doing so, however, you need to be realistic. If the opportunity may be time-consuming, you need to be upfront about the time commitments that you are currently bound to with school and work. You need to express the exact level of commitment you are willing to donate to the opportunity so that the others involved can make sure that you are the right choice.
You also need to be very clear with what you can and cannot do. Don’t discount yourself or your abilities. Just as you would sell yourself in a job interview, you will need to be comfortable discussing what strengths you have and can commit to the project. You are being offered the opportunity for a reason and that should give you a confidence boost. However, you must be honest about your limitations. If you are under qualified to do anything you will be expected to do on the project, you must let someone know. Under-performing is okay if you go into a situation having provided full disclosure to the individuals involved, however, if you don’t disclose your inability to deliver, but accept the opportunity anyway, it can cause lasting damage to your professional reputation.
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