I was an overachiever who burned the candle at both ends in my teens and early 20s. After graduating from college, my system was deep in adrenal fatigue and needed rest. But–I had received a grant for a two month outdoor leadership course in Tanzania that started a month after my college graduation, including the opportunity to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro.
There was no universe in which my body wanted to go; I needed to let my body recover. A friend came home with me after graduation and she explored DC while I stayed in bed, too tired to leave the house. Yet I could not let go of such an amazing opportunity to fly halfway across the world and be in nature for two months. I had jumped through hoops to apply for that grant and was excited to receive it; I didn’t know when I’d have another opportunity like that.
So I flew to Tanzania and hiked for hours every day, setting up camp each night. There were many amazing moments. Starting in the tropical landscape at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro and watching the ecosystems change before our eyes as we made our way toward the snow at the top was breathtaking. We saw flamingos and elephants as we walked through the plains, and heard hyenas shrieking as they destroyed our water jugs at night and we banged pots and pans to scare them away. It was an epic adventure…but mostly I was miserable, because I was pushing my body so far past capacity every day.
In hindsight, what did me in was saying yes to the trip because I didn’t know when I’d have another opportunity like that. My decision was based on FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), which comes from a scarcity mindset. If we’re in abundance, we know that the opportunities that are meant for us will find us, so we can pass on the things that don’t feel right for us and trust that the right ones will come.
Here are some questions that can help you discern whether it actually feels right to move forward with a decision, so you’re not choosing from scarcity:
- Do I want to do this? If so, why? (Be honest.)
- Does it feel right for me to do this?
- What are my hesitations? (Explore these fully, or they will come back to bite you!)
- If I were in abundance, what would I do?
What I learned from hurling myself halfway across the world because I didn’t want to miss out is that an opportunity is only an opportunity if it is actually meant for me. If it’s not for me, it’s not a good use of my time and energy, because it will bring me out of alignment. What often trips us up is that there are benefits to taking the shiny opportunity. But if it’s not meant for us, the cost–in terms of time, energy, or our emotional state–outweighs the benefits, and saying no is actually the more abundant choice.