Hard Decisions


I’m an over-committer. I want to support all the worthy causes, fix all of the world’s problems, and help all of the people. I’ve been told my inability to say “no” to people and causes is a blessing and a curse. I always have the best intentions of helping, but sometimes at a cost.

Today, I made the very tough decision to step away from a cause I’ve been very passionate about for six years. I’ve devoted many hours, a lot of money, and limitless passion to Relay For Life. And today, I told our event’s American Cancer Society representative and our co-chairs that I will be stepping back.

relay for life luminaria

If you have ever experienced a Luminaria ceremony at a Relay For Life event, or seen the triumph in the Survivor’s Lap, you would know why this is such a hard decision. Josh took this picture at the 2013 Relay For Life of KCMO – my first Relay with this committee.

I wanted to stay until our event in mid-May. I wanted to tough it out as long as I could and avoid leaving anyone high and dry. I thought “taking one for the team” was the right thing to do. In hindsight, it was the selfish thing.

A combination of work and other commitments has been causing a sort of systematic burnout on my end. I won’t go into detail, but life has been slowly escalating to a barely-manageable form of “hectic” lately. And even if some of the stress is good, exciting stress, it’s still stress.

And in that stress, I slowly began to “check out” of Relay things. In bursts of energy, I’d have big plans and ideas, but barely any time or energy to execute them when it mattered. I convinced myself that I was still doing good work, but really I was staying because the idea of life without Relay For Life was foreign to me. And, frankly, the idea that my friends from Relay would like me less if I stepped back was terrifying.

But, that’s not how friends work.

In fact, the two wonderful women who co-chair this Relay For Life event seemed relieved. Our committee has very high standards for quality of work and passion — and I think those who knew me best could see me fizzling. I was in denial.

It wasn’t until last night, when I saw a new Relay email in my inbox and cringed, that I realized how cold the embers of my passion had grown. I had lost my fire. And as sad as it was to make the decision, sending the email with my resignation brought about the biggest feeling of relief I’ve ever experienced.

We have a lot of new talented on the committee this year, and someone fresh and vibrant can pick up where I left off. I don’t have to stress about doing sub-par work, and someone else gets to fill my previous position with renewed energy and a fresh perspective. And, I can devote more energy to taking care of myself in the way I need.

It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but the hard decisions are the ones that need to be made most.

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3 thoughts on “Hard Decisions

  1. I think we could all stand to take a lesson from that! I, too, am a chronic overcommitter, frequently biting off more than I can chew. I will remember this post next time I am drowning and trying to figure out how I’m going to make it through, and that it’s ok to let go of things sometime so someone else just as (or even more) passionate and energetic can take over.

    • Heather, it just made my day to see your response on here. It’s a hard lesson, and it’s only a matter of time before I make the same mistake again and have to be reminded to make these hard decisions. I wish you luck in your efforts not to over-commit too much! You’re awesome πŸ™‚

  2. Kelly, what a great post! I know that relief when you finally say “no” to lighten your load – it’s usually so long overdue! I feel like this happens a lot in ag organizations – leadership stalled because of tradition, or power, or holding on “just because”. Kudos to you for recognizing burnout, new talent coming up, and listening to your heart!
    Lauren
    PaintTheTownAg.com
    p.s. Relay is one of my favorite things too. πŸ™‚

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