One Courageous Decision Can Point Your Life In The Right Direction

Photo: Richterspitze | © 2016 Gerdi Verwoert

I don’t know when it was exactly, but I clearly remember sitting in an office at the college I was considering going to. Originally I had been thinking about doing something really adventurous like becoming a pilot or going to sea, but I didn’t pass the physical exams. So here I was. Listening to a student counsellor explain to me I had applied to study in a relatively new field I had never heard of: facility management. What the hell was that?!

When I didn’t get to do what I originally wanted I felt pressure to quickly figure out what the alternative route to my future was going to be.

Personally I thought taking a year off and figure out what it was I really wanted to be doing sounded really good. However, my dad was of a different opinion. He felt I should continue my education and get a preferably useful degree. After all who knew if I would ever return to school if I took a year off. I never found out if that would have been the case, because I gave in to his arguments and went hunting for something to get a degree in.

I briefly considered studying English, but then reasoned that was something I could always do later in life. Besides all you could do with a degree in English was become a teacher. Somehow I couldn’t picture myself standing in front of a class for the next 40 years of my life.

So I looked around for other fields that could possibly match my interests i.e. the subjects I was good at in high school.

Which is how I ended up sitting in this particular office. There were two subjects that could be studied at this small college: dietetics and facility management.

I had come into this office convinced I had applied to study dietetics. A friend of mine had chosen this major and as I was pretty good at chemistry and biology I figured I would join her.

I never did figure out what went wrong with my application. In the end it didn’t matter.

Related Post: 4 Things to do A Lot When Learning to Live Your Own Life

After it was explained to me what facility management was, I figured here was a subject that would prepare me for a wide variety of jobs. It would give me a bit more time to figure out what it was I really wanted to do.

After little more than an hour I left the counsellor’s office, where I had enrolled with the aim of getting a degree in facility management.

The rest is – as they say – history.

Almost 20 years later I looked up from my desk, my career, my life and discovered I had managed to spend my entire working life in a field I didn’t like, all because of a rather flippant decision I made at 18 back in that counsellor’s office.

Looking back on that decision one could argue I made a huge mistake when I chose my major.

After all … for 4 years I studied a major that held no real interest for me. I then went on to spend 20 years in that very field.

Would I do anything different if given a do-over? Are you kidding me? Of course!
Do I have any regrets about the decisions I made that led me into Facility Management? Not really!

Do I view those decisions as a mistakes? No, I don’t!

Here’s the thing about decisions: we come to each of them with the knowledge and experience we have at that particular time.

It is easy to look back on things now and see what I could have done differently, but I didn’t know then what I know now.

Living with a lot of “I should have …” and “If only I …” is not very helpful. Neither is blaming others for consequences of my own decisions (which I unconsciously did for a long time).

Instead I choose to focus on the good that came from my choices: I developed talents and skills that are turning out to be very useful in everything I do today.

It seems I needed this very indirect route to finally figure out what my purpose in life is: being a coach to successful women (and men too) who are halfway through their life or career and no longer want live up only to other people’s expectations.

Perhaps they didn’t choose their major as flippantly as I did, but my clients certainly can relate to coming to major decisions consciously or unconsciously based on other people’s expectations.

They know what it is like to stay in and be good at a job, because they don’t know (yet) what it is they’d much rather be doing.

They know what it is like to be afraid to take that big leap towards actually doing what they want.

Until they realise it is scarier to stay in something that is slowly deadening their spirit than it is to step onto an uncharted path towards their life purpose.

That’s when they courageously decide to be brave and finally start figuring out what the expectations are they themselves want to live up to.

#LiveYourOwnLife #LiveUpToYourOwnExpectations

As always….

Go dare greatly!