I had just picked-up my little girl at school. We were late because there was a special French café on that day. It was a busy day at work—I had to write a report for the next morning. It HAD to be done that night, otherwise. . . I don’t know why, really. It just HAD to be done or, at least, that’s what I thought.
Also, there was an event at school the next day, and I really HAD to bake because I promised to bring brownies for a fundraiser. Also, I HAD to. . . I don’t even remember. It was all quite insignificant, really. There were a million things on my mind. One thing that wasn’t on my mind was driving. Now that I think about it, none of my thoughts at that time were about taking care of myself or enjoying a chat with my beautiful girl in the back seat. So much to do.
But I didn’t get to do any of the things on my “to do” list that night. Because that afternoon, I crashed my car—with my daughter sitting in the seat behind me.
Nobody was hurt—if you don’t count the car. I came home late that night, and the only thing I could think about was that I was not the person I wanted to be.
I knew it was time to change. Were there signs before? Sure, but I didn’t see them. The sentence I kept repeating to my daughter every single day: “Please hurry up, we are going to be late.”
We had to hurry so I could get to the office, turn on my computer on time, stare into it and be bored, hoping one day, maybe, I could do something more interesting, something where I could make a difference.
I loved parts of my job, and especially some of the people I worked with. But I was kidding myself if I thought that anything would change without me taking charge of my life.
I looked at this event as an opportunity for change, an opportunity to look at my life again and decide what I really wanted it to be about. I was doing so much, but I wasn’t doing anything that made the difference I was hoping to make. Things had to change.
Your epiphany may not happen after something as bad as a car accident. Your sudden, illuminating realization may come in a much more straightforward way, perhaps after asking yourself these simple questions:
- Am I the person I want to be?
- Do I feel that I am working all the time, putting everyone else first?
- When was the last time I did something for myself—just for me?
If your answers, in order, are no, yes and I can’t remember, it’s time for change.
If you say you really don’t have time to think about this, then it’s time to take the time.
For me, it was time to get back in the driver’s seat—literally and metaphorically.
But what does it mean to take charge of your life? You can’t control what is happening to you, right?
Sometimes, that’s true. But you can always choose how to react.
It’s a matter of CHOICE.
You have the freedom to decide what you want your life to be like. You are exactly where you chose to be in your life. Your relationships, your work, your family, your financial situation, your health, yes, even your health. Sure, there are some things that can happen to you over which you have absolutely no control. But most things you either control or heavily influence.
You can make new choices. Right now.
It took me several months to see the path in front of me after the accident. To be frank, it would have been easier to just maintain the status quo. But I had to be courageous—I wanted change! And the funny thing is, once you open your eyes to the possibility of change, magical things seem to just happen.
Are you a doer? Are you doing too much? The power isn’t in moving 300 mph. At that speed, it can be easy to lose perspective. The real power is in being able to slow down, take a deep breath and take in the big picture.
Who do you want to be? This is such a powerful question. Remember, your life is the result of choices you make. You decide who you want to become. Understanding this—and believing it—is truly liberating.
Relating this to my own story, I realize that the person I am becoming is the result of the choices I made after the accident. Becoming that person has uncovered strengths I never knew I had. For example, I am now learning something new every day. Constantly learning is one of my core values that was not being fulfilled.
Taking charge of your life, finding balance and happiness, seeing the beauty around you are all things you can do now. When you “do,” especially if you do a lot, take inspired action. Actions that are aligned with who you are, certainly, but also with who you want to become. Take a pause and start discovering the treasures hidden inside of you.
Today, I am the mom, wife, friend and colleague I want to be—or, at least, I am a lot closer. I am now more aware of what is important to me. I am back in touch with myself allowing me to take actions that are completely aligned with what I really want to do. When I get the chance to touch someone’s heart and help someone get back in touch with themselves, I feel truly alive and valuable. (Helping others is another core value of mine.)
Becoming who I want to be will always be a work in progress, of course. But as I stretch and grow, I am, now more than ever, a positive energy in this world.
How are you doing? Are you the best version of yourself? If not, then maybe it’s time to change. If you are sacrificing yourself for someone else, think again. How it is serving that person? Think about being in an airplane when the oxygen masks fall. Put it on yourself first, they always say. Why? Because you must take care of yourself first if you want to be able to help anyone else.
If you feel it’s time to change, let me know. Change is hard, we can help.
Do you feel burned out? Tired of all the commitments you have? How much would your life change if – every single day – you were doing what is most important to you?
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