Life is full of what I like to call profound epiphanies. They sneak up on you when you’re in the shower, driving along belting out show tunes in your car, or perhaps while unplugged and enjoying the ocean crashing at your feet.
These epiphanies, I find, often occur when you’re thinking about how your life would have turned out in a parallel universe. If you’d made that choice. If you had not said yes to that date. What are your proverbial forks in the road? For me, the big ones are the many different jobs I’ve had and cities I’ve lived in, breaking off my first engagement and moving to California in 1999. The course of my life and career changed dramatically as a result of all these crucial decisions. And I am blessed and better for it all.
Are you grateful in your life for the road not taken? Perhaps there was a job you really, really wanted that fell through…and it let you to instead work for the company that launched your career. Or you started a business that ended in a bloody epic fail…and you learned all the things not to do so that your next venture was a smashing success.
We all know the trite saying that we learn from our mistakes. I would argue that, really and truly, there are no mistakes. Sure, there are things we regret. Like dating that bad boy who broke our heart, becoming business partners with someone we barely knew, or spending a ridiculous amount of money on a marketing campaign that went no where fast.
But every bad decision, toxic relationship or questionable call moves you further through the book of your life. And you can’t get to Chapter 100 without the other 99 coming first. It would be a different book. You’d be a different person.
What opportunities would you have missed? What joys might you never have known? What careers would you never have explored?
When thinking about your past mistakes and regrets, be gentle with yourself and observe them with gratitude. (Tweet this!)
It’s easy to say, “Well, my life would be a cakewalk if I had only (FILL IN THE BLANK.” But you didn’t. You’re here, now. And look around at what you have. Had all those events not occurred, you would not be the person you are now. Richer. Fuller. Smarter.
I invite you to flip your thinking on your would-have’s and should have’s. What are you grateful you learned? Who or what is wonderful in your life of business now as a result of those decisions? My older brother once told me, during a very bad relationship in my life, that every act or decision is simply a brick and it’s easy to say, “Heck, this is just a brick. I can live with this.” But eventually all those bricks make a wall. And you wonder how the heck you got here. While he meant it in the negative sense of that particular instance, I challenge you to look at it positively…not as a wall, but a road. A road that led you to the person you are now. The person you would never be had those things not happened.
What are your big forks in the road when it comes to your career, business or life? What profound epiphanies do they give you? Please share in the Comments below!
Image credit: Cristian Bortes via Flickr