Do you know about the butterfly effect? I’m not super science-y, so I’m going to give it to you in simple language that I understand. It’s the idea that when a small thing happens, it can lead to a slightly bigger thing, which can change the whole course of things. A butterfly flaps its wings, it changes the direction of the wind ever so slightly and yadda, yadda, yadda, there’s a tsunami. Told you – not science-y.
This idea has always fascinated me and I love books and movies about alternative lives that bloom from making a wish, changing a decision, missing a train. And I’ve often wondered for myself, “What if?”
· What if I hadn’t gone to that university?
· What if I had moved back to New York instead of staying in Maryland?
· What if I had gotten that job to be a traveling consultant?
· What if I had married that (wrong) guy?
· What if I hadn’t been tapped (hard) on the shoulder to move into human resources?
· What if I hadn’t gotten sick or broken my arms?
· What if I had never realized I could start my own business?
I strongly believe that all of those things that happened were supposed to happen, because they got me right here. Everything had an order and a right time and result that led to the things that led me here.
And while there are certainly things that just happen to us, we always have choice in our reactions, responses, and future decisions.
If I hadn’t stayed in my college town after graduation, then I never would have gotten the job as an accountant, which led to the sales job, which led to the HR career. If I had never gotten sick, I never would have fought so hard for the things I’ve fought so hard for and realized how resilient and resourceful I am. If I’d never decided to buy a condo, I’d never have been living in a dog-friendly place and I’d never have met my dog, Puppy.
I needed all of the things that happened to happen.
I needed to be inside of every choice, every response, every future plan, so that I could be here, today, coaching people who want something better.
I needed to know that things could be hard, that I’d have to fight for things, so I could decide how I wanted to respond.
For a long time, I responded to things because I had to – I was working hard, or researching my illness, or reacting to circumstances.
Do you ever feel like that?
Like every day is in reaction to what’s happening to you?
One day, I realized that I was in between phases of things-happening-to-me and honestly, I didn’t know what to do with all of the choices in front of me.
I knew I no longer wanted to be living at the effect of the things that happened to me. I knew I wanted to love my work, my life, my quality time with friends and family.
I took action.
I hired my own coach, began making powerful choices for myself, had a whole bunch of ups and downs along the way, and now…I look forward to every day.
I own a business that I love, I’m learning and growing again, and I’m making powerful choices for my future.
All that was standing in my way was me. All that I was waiting for was the willingness to make choices.
And I am so grateful for my ability to choose.