In this season of gratitude and gift giving, it’s common to think of the things we are grateful for, like health and family. But have you ever stopped to think about how you got to where you are today? How many times have we reached a fork in the road, pondered the right decision, made pro-and-con lists, and then proceeded in one direction or another? Did you ever look back and congratulate yourself?
This question came up in my yoga class this week and inspired this post. I know that gratitude begets success. We may not have achieved every goal, but we’re certainly in a better place than we were years ago. Gratitude brings more happiness and contentment than wishing for something else or just looking for the next goal to accomplish.
My mind was spinning with all of the forked paths I’ve navigated through the years and I wanted to write down and remember what got me to where I am today. Here are 5 Decisions I Got Right and for which I am profoundly grateful.
It sounds pretentious when I say this, but I really did choose to learn French at age 12. Likely the influence of my sister learning multiple languages, but I just knew that I wanted to be able to speak French. And not just “ou est mon crayon” but real French with real people. I started French classes early in my curriculum and I am grateful I stuck with it. Being able to speak and understand French led to many wonderful opportunities to travel, work, and study in France which, in turn, completely shaped my taste, design aesthetic, and desire for fewer things but better quality in all aspects of my life.
I was watching the 1997 Atlanta Peachtree Road race, sitting on the sidewalk, lazily drinking coffee and thought to myself, “I should do that. Not everyone here is a world class athlete so why not?” I was not a runner or exerciser in any capacity! But, I decided to run the same 10K the next year. Fortunately, I had a year to get from couch potato to ‘able to complete the race without stopping’. I was so proud to finish that race and I haven’t stopped exercising since then. That commitment to health and wellness has and will continue to serve me the rest of my life.
9+ years ago, I knew and liked Craig ok. He was very funny and charming, but he had 2 strikes against him from a date-ability perspective: divorce and kids. While I was hesitant to say yes to the date, it ended up being the best date ever. I’d never laughed so much or made to feel as beautiful, honored, and valued as I did that night. It was easy to say “yes” to his proposal a few months later! It is by far the best decision of my life. Having a supportive, loving, and perfectly matched husband has made my life incredibly happy which puts every other part of my life into perspective.
Who leaves a financially-lucrative job? Well, me. It was soul sucking, took me away from my family, and didn’t interest me intellectually or creatively. But it paid well. That was the only entry on the “pros” list next to a lengthy “cons” column, so I finally made my exit strategy and walked away.
I was shaking when I walked into my boss’s office to turn in my resignation. When he questioned my decision, “but I thought you loved this job”, I could honestly say it was time for me to move on. I did not love the job, just the income and I would find another way to earn that. Plus it taught me that life is not all about making money. If you’re rich financially but poor in your family, relationships, and health then what do you really have? You may have wealth but you have no value in your life.
This decision was at least 10 years in the making and was in conjunction with #4. I knew what I loved to do so much that I would do it for free. Even though I had no clear path for how to create the business, I knew if I didn’t start then, there would never be a better time. Looking back on my pre-Neatsmart life, it all seems like a distant person’s life but I wouldn’t be here if I had not been there. I get to do what I love and have made time to be available to my family and community, both things that I’d previously postponed.
Take some time to think about what you’ve done right in your life. What good decisions did you make and how are you grateful for them today? Small decisions lead to large ones and they all have the potential to impact your life immediately and in the future. Congratulate yourself for the ones you’re glad you made. You’ve achieved success thanks to those smart decision making skills. Sharpen those skills by acknowledging them and revel in your success!