Elected officials, senior executives, and the rich and famous often employ an individual to serve as their personal gatekeeper. This critical person is tasked with sorting through the endless requests for meetings, determining who merits a place on the busy schedule, and ensuring everyone adheres to the established agenda.
Few of us have such a luxury in our personal lives and must instead do the work for ourselves. I understand the value of gatekeeping and make it a point to schedule with intention and preserve open space on my calendar, but as soon as I establish boundaries, it seems someone - or something - manages to slip right through...
Over the holiday break I was approached with a seemingly ideal teaching opportunity. The venue and students sounded fun, the timing lined up with an open block on my schedule, and the location was convenient, but a nagging voice in my head urged caution... I asked for a few days to consider the offer, and as I pondered the opportunity from every possible angle, I tallied up a trusty pros and cons list.
Despite every rational metric - from logistics to growth opportunities - pointing to "yes," something held me back. As I considered the possibility, I couldn't shake the image of an unwelcome visitor sneaking through my gate. So against the prevailing logic, I respectfully declined. And the moment I did, I felt the disappearance of a burden I didn't even know existed.
Are there opportunities you need to turn down to preserve (or create) margin in your life? Can you guard your gate?
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