There have been many times in my life when things felt like they were moving at a glacial pace. I remember when my kids were little and everyone would say, “Enjoy the moments, they fly by before you know it.” My husband and I would look at each other and raise our eyebrows. For us, every day felt the same — an endless chorus of work, taking care of kids, changing diapers, and pushing through the monotony of our daily routines together. Then, all of a sudden, indeed they hit middle school. And now the last one is going off to college. Seriously, where did the last six years go?
In looking back, what has become clear to me is that change happens. It happens daily, in inconsequential and minute ways. It happens without us putting in effort or paying attention. It happens when we are busy going through the motions of our lives. And then one day, an entirely different course has been forged in front of us and we feel like we didn’t have much say in how that happened. But in retrospect, we did. We subtly direct what happens by our actions and lack of action. We direct it when we make little decisions all the time — day by day, week by week. Most of the time, we make those decisions without even thinking, and all those choices add up. They add up to who we become and, to some extent, who our kids become. They also add up to the shape of our marriages and how satisfied we are in our work.
One of my favorite authors, Gary Zukav, says in The Seat of the Soul, “With each choice you make to align yourself with your higher power (soul) you empower yourself. This is how authentic power is acquired. It’s built up step by step, choice by choice. It cannot be meditated or prayed into being. It must be earned.”
Life is a tapestry of choices. Maybe, as you look back, one singular choice for you stands out and feels like a defining moment. But more likely, it’s the many small decisions that will shape your life over time. In the end, the only thing that stands between you and the life you want is you. Continually make choices that are consistent with what you hold dear. Live with conscious intention.
Change is always happening, whether you direct that change, or not. Whenever I’ve made the big changes in my life that were self-directed, I’ve felt empowered and alive. When I take the bull by the horns and turn it in a different direction, I wake up excited and joyful.
It’s important to stay alert to those feelings of stagnation and burnout. And then, have the guts to move the ship in another direction. It will feel scary; it will feel hard. But always remember that passion trumps fear every time.
Jane Stein is the founder of Your Franchise Is Waiting, a consultancy firm for men and women exploring franchising as an alternative career path.
Jane Stein is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.