This Side of Theory

Student Affairs Reflections and Musings

Changing a Lost Opportunity to a Found Opportunity

Confession: Sometimes I want the world to ask less of me.

Maybe you’ve felt the same way? You open your email to find requests from colleagues, friends and strangers alike. Your “To Do” app is overrun with projects demanding your attention. In the back of your brain, there’s a wishlist of things you dream about having time (and energy!) to address.

Every time I think, “Enough! Enough. I am only one person,” I feel immense guilt.  I’ve been blessed to have the opportunities presented in my life; shouldn’t I take advantage of them at every turn?

I love the opportunities that pepper my inbox – editing a resume, writing an article, offering an opinion, volunteering with an organization.

As I’ve transitioned to a new job during the past month, I’ve been highly cognizant that not only am I transitioning – I’m role modeling to other professionals with whom I work how to do the same. And so, for me, it’s meant taking a step back from some other opportunities to focus on my job. I want the staff here to know my heart and mind are here. I want to be present as much mentally as I am physically.

But how was I supposed to reconcile the guilt I feel every day on top of the guilt of needing to take a step back?

I’ve found the joy not in saying no, but instead in saying, “I can’t help you right now. Let me connect you with someone who can.” In the past four weeks, I’ve recruited new bloggers and writers, new committee members, and new volunteers. This isn’t simply replacing my hours; it’s fostering a new generation of involvement. I have less guilt now about having to say no knowing these aren’t lost opportunities – they are a found opportunity for someone else. And isn’t how many of these opportunities came to me? I was asked because someone else couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t.

Pass it on. What opportunities can you be sharing with someone else and relieve some of your own guilt?


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