Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

I entered the West Chester Conference Center on April 3, 2008, for the first time filled with anticipation and not having a clue what to expect. I had finally taken the plunge and signed up for Life Success Seminars’ Basic workshop after months of prodding from a friend. Everyone who had been through Basic promised me that the weekend would change my life. And considering where I was at that point in my life: bored and frustrated with my career and feeling like I needed to embrace a new start, I was ready for it!

LSS uses the tagline, “If I always do what I’ve always done, I’ll always get what I’ve always got!” It is upon this idea that a weekend of self-exploration and new beginnings is built. The purpose of Basic is to have participants shift the direction of their lives just one degree. Like a ship on a course across the sea, one degree doesn’t seem too far off when the shift is first made. But as time passes and the ship continues on its new path, it eventually ends up far from its original destination, perhaps even on a different continent.

During my weekend at LSS, I had some pretty powerful realizations. One was the fact that despite a high level of achievement in my life, I was actually coasting and taking the easy road with my career. But what I didn’t know was what I should do next. I was impatient to figure it out.

Eventually I would come to realize that I had gained the skills and self-awareness at Life Success to find the answers in time. While my career at that point was one that was financially lucrative, I knew in my heart that I could be doing more to feel fulfilled, but I just didn’t know how. I did know for sure that it was not about money. I had played it safe for the first years of my career and was financially secure for someone in my situation. I knew by then that a cushy salary did not equal fulfillment. But what did?

A progression of small steps and risks eventually led to the answer and the launch of my financial coaching practice. Two years ago I would not have dreamed of doing such a thing — putting my life savings on the line and quitting the rat race to depend solely on myself for my next meal seemed scary and absurd. I certainly didn’t wake up one morning after Basic and say, “That’s what I’ll do!” What Basic did was open my mind to the possibilities within me, which allowed me to think a little bit outside the box.

Once I took one step out and survived, it gave me the courage to take the next step. Then the next step and so on. By the time I was officially announcing the launch of my business, it simply felt like the next natural thing for me to do. As Christopher Reeve is known for saying, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and … they soon become inevitable.”

What Life Success helped me discover over time is that life is not about the safety of the balance in your savings account, it is about the purpose you are saving toward. For me it turned out to be discovering and following my dream of helping everyday career-people gain a grasp on their money. If it hadn’t been for that one degree shift, I could still be coasting along on the easy road, agonizing over that deep down intuition that told me there was more to life than a salary.

A version of this post was published in the Cincy Chic column “Cents & Sensibility” on January 4, 2010.

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