Defining moments are instances that cause you to shift perspectives or courses without realizing it. These are the moments that you look back upon years later with gratitude and acknowledge that you would not be where you are right now if it had not been for that moment. I find that they are generally a collection of moments that have steered you down a particular path.
Then there are the moments that come blazing down the road at you—the moments you see coming, and instinctively you want to duck and take cover. The moments that quite frankly come up and hit you with such a force that it makes you take a hard look at yourself, ultimately prompting a willing change. I find these moments come when you’ve had your head stuck in the mud and refused to take it out, even though your ability to breathe has been compromised and is only getting worse.
The following is about one of those moments. In 2009, I was told, “I need the employees to hate, fear, and loathe you, and I don’t think you can be that person.” I was on an interview for a high positioned job with a prestigious company. The type of job, salary, and company society praises and logically makes sense. It was the type of job that many people dream of obtaining. However, it left me with a sick feeling in my stomach and only one question; do I want to be in a field where this is the requirement?
I choose to make a change, a big one. Now you may be thinking, this is the point where I tell you I decided to be a yoga teacher, my life is lovely, and you should quit your job and pursue your dream. Well, I’m not because that’s not what happened. Sure on the outside, it may appear that way. Instagram and all the pretty pictures help paint that picture. I am a yoga teacher, and I do love my life. But what I chose that day was Me. I did not start chasing down a dream. I did not rebel or do a 180. I made a choice, followed by a series of choices, all relating to what mattered to me.
Now I began talking about moments. But these moments are essentially just choices. Every day you make choices. Some are big, and some are small. Experiences and circumstances do surround them. Ultimately though, YOU are the driver, and YOU get to choose. It’s often easier to say a situation or circumstance led you down a road. Use the words fate, defining moment, chance, etc., and avoid taking ownership. It’s also easier to hide behind phrases like I’m waiting for a sign, or the universe will guide me to what I should do. But no matter the situation or circumstance, how you got there and how you respond is your choice. Both action and inaction are choices. Please do not misunderstand. I’m not saying that there are not things outside your control that occur daily. I’m simply saying YOU have the sole discretion on how to respond to those occurrences and everything else. Yoga has taught me to make choices and take ownership of them. No one knows for sure, nor can one control how your decisions play out. But you can be honest with yourselves, admit you made a choice, and allow yourselves to feel empowered by that.
This article came about when I looked back and realized I had been telling a story of signs and fate on that so-called defining moment day. It was easier to share that story because it gave me a false sense of security. It allowed me to believe that the decision was not mine, and if it did not work out, I could have something to blame. Then I realized I was choosing to disempower myself. I was taking away acknowledgment of a substantial choice I made and all the following subsequent decisions. I was not allowing myself to stand tall in what I created. Sure, this choice followed primarily favorable situations. But, when I do the same for the not-so-positive scenarios, I still feel empowered because I realize I have the ability at any time to change anything. All I have to do is make a choice.
So, let go of the storytelling that disempowers you. Instead, stand tall in all of your choices, good or bad. Because at the end of the day, no matter where you find yourself, YOU have the power to make any choice you want and do something about anything.