How To Be Open To All (the Right) Opportunities

Several weeks ago, I shadowed one of my OMies as she taught kids yoga as part of the Newark Yoga Movement.

It seemed like a fantastic program. The children were adorable. My friend was brilliant. But in the end — remembering how ineffective I’d been when doing volunteer work with kids in the past — I decided I didn’t really have it in me. It just wasn’t the right path for me.

Still, I wondered: Shouldn’t I be open to every opportunity that came my way?

My friend had made a post-teacher training vow to say yes to every opportunity that came her way and, because of that, she was now making a decent amount of money from yoga alone, between the NYM, and the teaching she did at two different studios.

Should I go about things in the same way? 

Then, the other week, the studio owner at YogaCentric asked me to sub a class in July. A week later, she asked me to sub for one of my favorite teachers… for the rest of the summer. The next week, I found out I was being given the opportunity to blog for Wanderlust’s Yoga in NYC event, in addition to the Wanderlust Festival up in Vermont. The latter gig, in particular, would afford me more access than I would have had otherwise. Not only that, but it would give me the chance to build up my yoga-related writing portfolio. Then, this week, an owner at another studio asked me if I could sub for several weeks this coming fall.

I’ve barely begun to seek out new opportunities (and believe me, I do have a master plan) and, already, the right ones are coming to me.

Saying no to that one thing — that thing that didn’t feel like quite the right fit — had not, in fact, doomed me to failure. Funny that.

Saying no is something that we, as freelance writers, often struggle with. We worry that if we say no to terrible rates, we’ll lose the client. (I say that if they’re not willing to budge, and offer competitive freelance rates, then it’s good riddance to bad rubbish.) We worry that if we say no to paying work at all — either because the rates are low or we don’t have the time or the client is a pain in the ass — we’re being selfish. We worry that if we say no, we won’t be able to pay the bills.

But what if saying no leads to better-paying clients?

What if saying no gives us the time to say yes to something better?

What if saying no to something terrible allows something wonderful to come into our lives?

So yes. It can be good to say yes, especially if it’s fear and self-doubt that are holding you back. But be sure that what you’re saying yes to aligns with what you want more of in your life.

What have you said no to lately?

p.s. Interested in the yoga side of my life? Check out my new yoga website!


  1. Saying no is an art form, and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    So many writers (especially new freelance writers) think they have to say yes to every single “opportunity” that comes their way. But unfortunately, not everything is an ACTUAL opportunity. Learning to trust that feeling inside that says, “this isn’t quite right” can take a long time, and it usually comes after you’ve shot yourself in the foot one or ten times.

    We hear so much lately about “saying yes.” Being open to everything. But if you are open to everything, “everything” can end up suffering. It’s important to choose what is important to you and focus on the right opportunities to help you reach those goals.

  2. I’m so excited to hear this, Steph! Way to go!

  3. Great example of how saying no can open up new doors, Steph. Good for you! Love it.

    I said no to an “opportunity” to write an article a week for a whopping $200 per. I was thinking about it (blog posts are easy, right?) when the editor came back and said, “We’ll need three interviews per article.” No way. That was the deal breaker. It’s now no longer feasible.

    The job that replaced it (the same week)? It pays my hourly rate, and the client sends me several projects a month. Saying no means there’s more time in your schedule to take on the serious work. Plus there’s no messy breakup with that cheapo client. 🙂

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