Updated: Feb 6, 2019
Last week I finished listening to Michelle Obama's 19-hour, self-narrated audio-book, "Becoming." It was a great "read" that took me about two weeks to finish. I began listening while retreating in San Francisco and continued when I returned home as I drove around running errands and walking the treadmill at the gym.
As the FLOTUS shared her life experiences from childhood, what resonated with me the most was when she allowed herself to "swerve." Swerving meant throwing away her checklist of pre-conceived plans for how her life should progress and embracing her true desires wherever such may lead. From an early age, Michelle had designed how her life should flow. Becoming a lawyer sounded like a good choice. Consequently, she pursued this path. Coupled with her parent's sacrifice and her focus on getting good grades, she was admitted into Harvard law school, one of, if not the, top ivy-league schools in the country. Upon graduating she accepted a position at a prestigious law firm as a junior lawyer. She had achieved her childhood dream. Yet, in less than 5 years, she came to the realization that she had no desire to be a lawyer. That being the case, she would go on to find meaningful work in the non-profit arena. She made a swerve; she changed her mind.
Her story resonated with me because I made a swerve ten years ago. I took the leap from a six-figure corporate tax job to starting my own coaching practice. By most people's standard I was a successful career woman, but I was miserable. I had grown to dislike even getting up in the morning to go to work. I had a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a Master's degree in Accounting and Taxation. Those credentials served me well for a season but I reached a point at which my passion was calling me in an entirely different direction. I quit my corporate America job and obtained my professional coaching certification. This would not be the last time I swerved.
I've come to understand that it's okay to change your mind. Life is not a straight line. For sure, you should make plans, but you must also be open to embracing new ideas and opportunities. Even if you spend an immeasurable amount of time and sacrifice climbing the steps to reach a certain pinnacle, only to find that the view is not what you expected, it's okay to change your mind. Part of the search is realizing what you don't want while growing and accepting who you really are as opposed to what you, or others, might expect you to be.
Perhaps you're in a place right now where you're going through the motions but your heart's just not in it. You've invested a lot so you're hesitant about making a shift. I encourage you to get clear about what you really want. Share your passion with a trusted friend, not for their approval, but as a sounding board and confidant. Finally, take the necessary steps in direction that gives you the most satisfaction.
Life really is about becoming. It's not a destination but a continuous evolution of growing, changing and swerving. It's a life-long journey that is never final.