When it comes to making important choices or taking risks, for many of us, it’s easier to make the decision not to make a decision.
I’ve certainly been there, done that…
I was ten years into my opera career…my dream profession…the career I’d spent half my life training for…when I started feeling that the life of an opera singer wasn’t such a wonderful life after all – at least for me.
I was performing in opera houses around the world… experiencing the glamour, the accolades, the exotic locales…and yet, I was growing more and more unhappy. Something was definitely missing, but I didn’t know what – and quite frankly I didn’t want to know what, since I had always thought of opera as my life’s work.
I did my best to squash any thoughts of change. I kept up the smile and pushed forward – keeping in mind the old adage that it was somehow “honorable” to “suffer for your art.” I thought if I could just work a little harder, persevering come hell or high water, I could stave off the foundation-shaking questions and decisions that were begging for attention. But the inner voice calling for change kept growing louder.
After much emotional turmoil and soul-searching, I found the courage to start considering the questions I’d been holding at bay. I started trusting my gut, and I finally made the decision to leave the world of professional opera. To say it was challenging is an understatement – in fact it was probably the hardest, scariest thing I’ve ever done. However, as much as I feared the unknown – in making the decision to leave – I was also relieved that I no longer had to keep up the act. I was finally starting to align with my truth.
I started the search for my next chapter by taking baby steps, then bigger steps. The more I took action to meet people and build a network – the more helpful guidance and opportunity came my way. I learned to cultivate my “transferable skills”; took assessments and workshops; and got accreditations that helped me onto a new path. As a result, I ultimately found my calling in professional development – helping others navigate their career paths.
I share all of this to say…if you feel like you’re in limbo, or you’re struggling to hold on to something that’s no longer serving you, ask yourself if a decision is calling out for your attention. A decision asks you to jump off the proverbial fence…trust your gut…and trust that the help you need to carry out your decision will be there for you.
These words from the Scottish writer and mountaineer, William Hutchison Murray sum up the power of a decision so well:
“…the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man would have dreamed would come his way…”
There’s tremendous power, as well as relief, in making the decision to act…to move in a new direction…to follow what’s true for you.