How often do you decline an invitation because you have something else you would rather do? Or you're not crazy about the person asking you to join? Or you're not interested in that type of event? Or you feel like doing nothing? ...
So often we are asked to attend an event, join a group, go to a movie, meet for lunch or dinner, and so often we say no thank you. Many reasons come up - too busy, not interested, don't feel like it, and already have plans.
However, if you think of every invitation as an 'opportunity' you might not be so quick to say no. How many times have you reluctantly joined someone and wound up having a great time, met someone new, or been exposed to a new idea or new client, just because you wound up going after all?
If we think of an invitation as an opportunity for something positive, or something better, we may be more inclined to make it fit into our schedules.
I remember a friend of mine inviting me to a BBQ at a time when I wasn't particularly thrilled to go out of my way to be with a bunch of strangers. But something inside of me decided to go. Not only did I have a great deal of fun, I wound up meeting someone who totally changed the course of my life from that point forward. I realized then that accepting invitations may be a blessing of some sort. So I did an experiment and accepted all invitations (that didn't seem harmful) even if I wasn't crazy about the event or the person I'd be going with. I was invited to attend the local Chamber of Commerce meeting in a church very early in the morning (not my thing!), and I had little desire, if any, to go. But, based on this principle, I decided to go. As it turned out, I actually got to see original stained glass windows designed by Matisse and Chagall. It was a most amazing experience despite my initial negativity towards the event. What I noticed from following this principle is that my life became so much fuller - I was making new friends, being exposed to more of the world, and definitely having more fun.
Does this mean that you should always accept all invitations for the rest of your life? - NO! It simply means that by trying this out, you will then find it easier eventually to reach a balance and perhaps view invitations from a new perspective when making your decision. This also works in reverse for those that accept too many invitations and they become distractions keeping you from more important things.
INVITATION TO EXPERIMENT:
If you want to see how this principle may benefit you, "take the challenge" and try this experiment. For one month, accept EVERY invitation (unless harmful - i.e. going to a stranger's home by yourself, or something involving illicit drugs, etc.) At the end of the month, observe what changes have occurred not only in your world around you but also inside of you. Perhaps, you are now more open and can be more discerning about who/ when/ what you do with your time.
Marion Franklin - is a Professional Certified Life Coach who coaches individuals and groups regarding personal and professional change, focus, human relations, and conflict management. Marion has coached managers at major corporations including PepsiCo, Toys'R'Us, and Reader's Digest. She conducts and help clients design workshops and presentations, has been a featured presenter at meetings, retreats, and an ongoing Women's Workshop Series, has been cited in The Journal News and The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on local Cable Television.