As I made my way from middle school to high school, my mom pushed the college concept hard. "College is insurance to a better life," she said. "It'll make you self-sufficient and always in charge of your own destiny." I'm grateful for the push. Yet even with the dangling college-carrot came some rules. I had to stay in state, and could choose between one of three schools.
I had fantasies of stretching my wings and learning to fly. California was my destination of choice, but alas, my choice was limited to three in-state schools.
As my daughter approached college, I remembered my dreams and decisions, and went the opposite way. "You have thousands of choices" I told her and we proceeded to look far and wide at every opportunity under the sun.
The funny thing is the more choice you have, the less you desire it. "This would be so much easier if you gave me a choice of three and told me what to do," she whimpered as she signed and sealed yet one more college application.
In these dynamic times, we as women have unlimited possibility. We can have it all. We can pick virtually any career, create any type of lifestyle we desire, be the breadwinners in our own families, and change course whenever we choose.
But the more we have available to us, the more it loses its appeal. The more choices we have to evaluate, the more overwhelming it all becomes. The greater the potential of successful opportunities, the more we become fearful of the possibility of not succeeding at all.
It's a dilemma when you're a teenager or a 20-something setting yourself up for the rest of your life.
It becomes even bigger when we turn into 40-somethings contemplating the rest of our lives.
Women today are under immense pressure to do it all, be it all, have it all and, of course, do it all with style and grace.
But the reality of it is that sometimes we wind up on a path we wish we hadn't taken. But how can you change it all when you have a mortgage, kids to put through college, and parents requiring a little more help from you than you really have the energy to give?
All you want is a bubble bath and a glass of wine; reinvention ... really?
I've seen this a lot with the women I work with. Demands are at an all-time high, and yet the 24-hour day remains the same. And so Big Ideas get put on hold indefinitely while we're waiting for time to magically appear at some unforeseen point in the future.
Guess what? It never will.
You'll never have more time than what is in front of you right now. If you don't look at today as the opportunity it is, you'll lose it forever.
But that doesn't make it any easier. How do you reinvent your life when you're already filled to the brim with the busywork of the day?
Don't reinvent your whole life; just the most important parts
When people hear the word reinvention, they tend to think of a complete life overhaul. They think of people that have moved half way around the world, given up careers, relationships and more for the opportunity to start over anew. For some people, that may be their required action. But it doesn't have to be. Instead, think of reinvention as improving the parts of your life where you would like a simple "do-over".
If you've always wanted to pursue a hobby and turn it into a career, that's where you begin. You take action in small ways to move the concept further into your life. And with every change you make, you look for more opportunity to add it into your schedule a little at a time.
Remember that nothing is forever
When you were 15, the world revolved around getting a drivers license and driving a car. Until you could do it. Then the world revolved around graduating from high school. Then came college, finding the perfect partner, planning a beautiful wedding, picking out baby names, and finding the best preschool. Every moment of your life becomes a priority for a while ... until you achieve your results and it's no longer your priority.
Whatever is the most important part of your life today will soon be realized. Then it's on to something new tomorrow. Don't get caught up in the "life changing" aspect of it; it will change and become a part of your past just as quickly as it entered your life.
Take action where it has the most impact
Every day we're presented with a variety of options. Some things will impact your life in bigger ways than others. Take action on the things that motivate you the most. Learn to jump at opportunities rather than letting them pass you by. Success doesn't find you through large opportunities. Instead, tiny things add up over time. See the big picture and always keep that in sight. But never turn down small steps that can help you get there in shorter amounts of time.
Never wait for tomorrow
Nothing is ever perfect. You will never have all the facts in front of you; have all the pieces you need to make a flawless decision. Give yourself permission to make the best decision you can with the facts you have today, then move forward as the opportunities fall into place.