The pivotal moment in my life came in 1993. My best friend Paul was dying.
I was spending my weekends traveling cross-country to help care for him and more importantly, to spend as much time together as possible.
At the time, I was in a corporate management position with a good company and a job that looked great from the outside. Yet I was unhappy and stressed out. I was working far too many hours in a place I didn’t belong. I excelled in my career, but had no passion for it. And my life balance was completely out of whack.
A few weekends before Paul’s death, we lay on his bed and he talked about wanting to discontinue his treatments. He was ready to go. There was no hope for recovery and no quality of life left, but his greatest fear was that he would just get worse and not die.
As he spoke, I was struck by the fact that Paul was down to his absolute last choice in life. It couldn’t have hit me any harder had I literally been struck.
At that moment I made the decision that I would take a six-month sabbatical and figure out how I really wanted to live my life.
This would have been incomprehensible to me before my conversation with Paul.
As a single woman in my mid-30s how could I even contemplate not having an employer? My cat refused to find gainful employment and my savings account was less than robust. But what had changed was my perception of choice.
For the first time I really got that staying stuck was making a choice.
Encouraged by Paul to get going right away, I pulled out my laptop, put together a serious saving plan and set a target date eight months out.
In June of 1994 I left my job. It was liberating, exhilarating and scary all wrapped up together. And what I learned was that amazing things happen when you step out of your comfort zone. As I have evolved and changed, so has my life. The one thing that never changes is the picture of Paul I keep on my desk.
His photo reminds me that there are always choices, for me and for my clients. It helps me stay honest with myself and in my coaching.
Paul inspired me to begin a process that’s not just about me. It’s also about using what I learn along the way to assist others. I’m forever grateful that this gift led me to my life’s work … helping people enjoy happy, successful, and centered lives.