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What’s yours won’t miss you

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This is a follow up log post to decision making in ecology, talking all about stripping back the fear and uncertainty around making the right decision – and taking the pressure off yourself by cultivating the belief that what’s yours won’t miss you.

What’s yours won’t miss you: decision making in ecology | #itsawildlife

The ecology industry is full of opportunities and possibilities, but it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Making a decision about your career in wildlife science or conservation can seem overwhelming, especially when so many opportunities require an all or nothing approach, and can be unbalanced and require hefty sacrifices. For example, many experiences involve living and important family events, weddings, graduations (including our own!) and other special occasions. For others such as parents and ecologists with commitments that must be prioritized or restrict their capacity to move between locations or take roles with rigid or extended hours, many opportunities working on remote properties, short-term contracts, irregular schedules and other perks that make it hard to balance competing priorities and life commitments.

This can be a challenge at all stages of your career in ecology – and as opportunities arise we are often faced with making difficult (life) decisions at a moments notice! Especially for early-career biologists who haven’t built as much experience and as broad of a network to have several options to consider, the outcome is often take it or have nothing. And that is a tough decision to make when options are so limited.

There is so much pressure placed on us to weigh up our options and make the “right” decisions that could set out a path for the rest of their lives. At least I have certainly felt that throughout my life – when I first left school and countless times since. When we feel like the decisions we make have high stakes, they can cause us a lot of (often undue) stress as we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make the right decision.

While we have a separate blog post here on strategies to help with decision-making, today we are focusing on one perspective shift that has helped me feel more comfortable through times of transition and when faced with big decisions.

And that is the idea that it’s not possible to make the wrong decision. When you decide what is best for you in the moment based on the information you have and your current context – you cannot go wrong.

It may feel like you’re taking a step in the opposite direction, away from your dream job.

You may feel guilty for turning down opportunities you once worked so hard to be offered.

You may feel like you can’t risk your mental health and wellbeing by taking a role even though you don’t have a better option.

Today’s post is hopefully your permission to take a deep breath in and let all that fear, anxiety and regret dissipate.

It’s not right for you if it doesn’t feel right.

It’s not the right opportunity if it requires a compromise you’re not willing to make.

It’s not right if it doesn’t treat you right.

And by the same token,

It’s right if it feels right. It’s right if it aligns and respects your other priorities. It’s right if it looks after you and treats you with respect.

And in this way, one of the best coping strategies I’ve encountered to overcome the overwhelm surrounding decision-making and uncertainty is to foster a core belief that –

What’s right for you is yours, and what’s yours won’t pass you by.  

And the beauty of this is that what is yours is like your purpose, it’s whatever you say it is.

For this reason, when I’m planning and choosing and projecting into the future – and starting to freak the flip out about what’s happening (or not happening), I bring myself back to the idea that what’s mine won’t miss me. And I can’t help but smile.

Thank you for reading to the end – let us know whether you’ve found this article helpful or if you have any other suggestions on ways you create stability for yourself around short-term contracts in the ecology space. So reach out and let us know!

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