Trusting Your Gut: When Opportunity Becomes a Burden Instead of a Blessing

Tough choices are tough because they matter.

I want to talk about something that makes me feel uncomfortable.

That’s how I know I have to talk about it. Because it’s challenging to write these words.

I want to talk about having too many opportunities.

But as I do, I hope you’ll understand that in no way am I ungrateful for the position I am in right now. I have been so blessed over the past few years with more chances than I deserved to learn and grow as a writer. I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am.

I’ve also grown as a human being though, too. I’ve learned a lot about myself, about how much I can and can’t handle when it comes to work. I’ve learned how I respond to stress and how long it takes to recover from trying to do too much too fast.

And I’ve learned that I would much rather have free time and energy to burn than to feel the way I’ve been feeling this week.

As writers, we spend YEARS fighting for the chance to prove ourselves. I remember submitting my first application for a writing internship, praying that I’d somehow done enough as a college student to qualify for writing in the “real world.” Dozens if not hundreds of people must have applied for that position. For some reason, they picked me.

I’ve had my fair share of rejections. Who hasn’t? It’s just part of this whole writing thing.

But I’m in a completely different place, almost five years later. Like I would have back in college and soon after, I’ve jumped at every chance I’ve had to do another writing project. And now I find myself drowning … because there are only 24 hours in a day, and I can’t fill them all with work.

I’d love to. But I can’t.

I’ve finally come to the realization that I’m at the point in my professional writing career where I’m allowed to pick and choose. I’m lucky to be here, but I have to look at things logically. If I turn something down, if I say, “I don’t think I can do this anymore,” it’s not like I’m never going to have another opportunity again. I have more to gain by giving some things up.

So it should be easy then, right? To make the decision to lighten my schedule so that I can dedicate more time to the most important things in both my work and personal life.

It’s … not that simple. For me.

Just because you know it’s the right thing to do doesn’t mean it’s the easiest thing to do.

If I know anything, it’s what makes me feel at peace. Real peace — that deep, long-lasting awareness that no matter what, everything is going to be OK. Discomfort, uncertainty, pain — all that’s temporary. Especially if, underneath it all, it makes you feel all right.

And here’s what I’d like to say to you, if you’re ever feeling this way:

Let go of your fear.

You are not lazy, you are not ungrateful. You are not selfish.

You are self-aware. You are smart. You care about yourself, about your well-being. And you care so much about the people you’re “letting down” that you want the absolute best for them, even if that best isn’t you anymore.

This is not easy. But it’s necessary. And even if you don’t see why you have to do it now, you will understand soon enough. You have to believe that. You have to trust God, the Force, the universe, whatever it is you trust to fit all the pieces of your life together in a way that makes sense.

Regardless of where the next few weeks take me, know this: my blog is not going anywhere. I care too much about you all to ever abandon you without a good reason. Of all the things on my daily to-do list, this is among my favorites. It makes me feel alive. It makes me feel happy. More importantly, I know it’s helpful for so many of you. (My imposter syndrome makes that hard to believe, but I try my best.) If anything, I want this blog to grow even more this year than it has in the previous few years. I’m here to stay.

And I hope you are, too. :)

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

2 thoughts on “Trusting Your Gut: When Opportunity Becomes a Burden Instead of a Blessing

  1. Clearly a heartfelt post, this is a good reminder to us all to go easy on ourselves about having to turn down opportunities. For ambitious people, especially in the arts, this is a real struggle. After working for so long to find and make every possible opportunity, to turn down work seems counterintuitive.

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