Missed opportunities & saying “Yes”
18th October 2016
A couple of years ago I passed on an incredible opportunity due to health reasons.
It was so hard for me to say no to, and equally as hard to have to justify my decision to others when they asked me why I’d turned it down.
That opportunity was a trip to Crete and Santorini in Greece as part of my degree.
And I said no because at that time I had been struggling so much with my hip dysplasia that some days I was unable to leave the house.
About 6 months before this trip I had been to Spain as a part of my degree and I couldn’t cope with the amount of walking we had to do. We were there for a week, and on one of the days I had to stay in the hotel and rest because I was so worn out and in so much pain.
I decided that it would be unfair on myself and others for me to go on that trip to Greece knowing how I had struggled in Spain, and how my friends and lecturers had to deal with me at my worst, but it’s a decision that I still think about to this day.
I love to travel and I have a soft spot for Greece after visiting Rhodes when I was 12, so turning that opportunity down was so damn hard.
I felt like I was missing out on an incredible adventure all because of my stupid hip condition. I was missing out on seeing the beautiful island of Santorini, spending quality time with my friends, and gaining valuable experience that may have benefited me in the life.
(We all know the latter really didn’t matter in the end as I now build websites for a living, but hey ho.)
I remember the week of the trip well. My friends all flew off to Greece while I sat at home trying to make the best out of a bad situation. I decided to get a head start on some coursework, but in the end I caught a cold and I felt rubbish for the whole week. Needless to say I made no progress on that coursework.
I think that made it worse really; being ill and then looking on Facebook at all the beautiful photographs my friends were posting from Greece. In the end I just avoided social media until they got back.
I still look back at this, and I feel regret. I wish I had gone. I wish I had spoken to my lecturers to see if they could have found a way for me to go but that wouldn’t have involved as much walking. I wish I had tried steroid injections when the doctors initially suggested them, because I know now that they would have made that trip possible.
It’s all good and well wishing we’d done things differently at the time. But time machines don’t yet exist, so we can’t go back and change the past.
We can only learn from our mistakes, from our missed opportunities.
And boy, did I learn a lot.
Shortly afterwards I spoke to my doctor about steroid injections, and of course, they worked a treat. Steroids have completely changed my life. They have allowed to me to live my life to the full and to go to places I wouldn’t have imagined going to 2 years ago because of my mobility problems.
I have changed my approach to opportunities and now I say “Yes” a whole lot more.
I mean, I could have easily passed on that job advert for a web developer position that I spotted online last summer. I could have talked my way out of it, giving myself a million and one reasons why it was a bad idea to even try because I’d never get the job anyway.
I think you all know how that one turned out…
That’s the power of saying yes.
I learned the hard way that turning down opportunities can lead to regret. Of course, there maybe times when you were wrong to go for it, and you wish you hadn’t said yes. But I guess you never know until you try.
I wrote this post not just to share my thoughts and to reflect upon them; I also wrote this as a reminder to myself.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. Who knows what incredible experiences could arise from it.
Have you ever passed on an opportunity that you later regretted?
P.S. The print in the photo is from That Lame Company.