Earlier this week, I had a great opportunity to speak to the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Miami about my career. My student, Claire, is their Vice President of Scholarship and in that role, she is expected to bring in a career-related speaker each year. Her instructions to me were simple: Just talk about how you got to where you are.
Leading up to my speech, I sat down to think about what I was going to tell these young women. When I think about how I got to where I am today, I realize that the road wasn’t so simple. There were cross-country moves. There were risks taken. There were people and things and hearts left behind.
I wanted to provide the Kappa Kappa Gamma members with instructions on how to make their dreams a reality. I’ve been lucky in the sense that when I’m really honest with myself, that is what I’ve done. If I were to tell my 12-year-old self what life would look like as a 30-year-old, she’d probably do a standing backflip.
I spent some time standing in front of my mirror practicing different speeches. I had one all put together and memorized. And at the last minute, I scrapped it. I decided to speak from the heart instead.
When I think about how I got to where I am today, it begins with those two words: I decided.
When I look at my life and my path to where I am today, a place where I love my job, am surrounded by good friends and am in great health, I realize that what got me to this point was intentionality.
There was a brief period in my life when life wasn’t smooth sailing for me. I wasn’t me. I was anxious and unhappy and had misplaced my priorities. I was working a job that I hated, although it was one that I should’ve been more grateful for. I was spending my time and money on wasteful things. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see the good, wholesome, kind, giving little girl I used to know.
And then one day, I woke up and I decided to change everything I didn’t like about myself and my life.
When I look at people who are stuck in their lives, it is the simple act of deciding to change something that is the biggest thing holding them back from better things.
Re-read that last sentence. And then think about it.
It you want your life to get better, you need to decide that you are worthy enough of a better life.
If you want to find your dream job, you need to decide to pursue it with full energy.
If you want to find the love of your life, you need to decide to open your heart.
Life is all about decisions.
What time to wake up. What to eat for breakfast. Whether or not to shower (kidding). What to wear to work.
In my life, the biggest decision I’ve made is this:
I decided to say “yes” to myself.
And in turn, I’ve said “yes” to a life of full possibility and potential.
My life these days is busier than I ever could imagine. I’m going non-stop from 7 a.m. until I lay my head down at night.
It’s so much fun, though.
Because I decided to make it that way.
I decided to build a life centered around my passions.
I decided to build a life surrounded by good people.
I decided to create a life built around the word “yes.”
Yes to right now. Yes to my dreams. Yes to others.
People always ask me, “How did you get to where you are so fast?”
I hate this question. A) Because I still have further to go and B) Because I didn’t get here fast. Where I am now is the result of hard work and passion that have been the cornerstones of my life for as long as I can remember.
I also hate that question, because I am not special.
I have not accomplished anything that you, your friend or anyone else isn’t capable of accomplishing.
The only thing I did, that I see as being different from most that I come into contact with, is that I made a very simple decision. And then I stuck with it.
So, what do you need to decide to change? What in your own life can you decide to say “yes” to so that you can head in the direction you want to go? What is holding you back from making that decision? What do you need to do to finally decide to make your life the best it can be?
I’m here today in a life of happiness, because I decided my life was worthy of being defined by happiness.
I’m here today working my dream job, because I decided to stop pushing my passions aside.
I’m here to living a life that I’m proud of, because I decided that there is no other way to live a life.