A year ago, I handed my boss my notice. My resignation was a gift to myself to ring in my 40th birthday. 5 weeks later we left the United States, not knowing what life had in store. I keep thinking about the last year, wondering how in the world I am going to “one up” myself. I am next to certain I will come up empty handed as this year has been a pretty tremendous one. So rather than trying to outdo the events of the last trip around the sun, I have turned my focus on living the best life I can on my own terms – which in many ways, is an even better gift to celebrate my natal anniversary.

My hands were shaking and I hadn’t slept in days. The decision was made just 3 weeks earlier, as we accepted an offer on the house, scheduled our closing date, and booked our flights. I had thought about this moment for several years, discussing it behind closed doors with one of my dearest and most trusted colleagues. A need to redefine what my life and career might look like, but at that point too scared to make the leap because I didn’t see a clear path.

The sale of my house created that path, a path that would lead to down under and change the course of my entire life.

Years before, I thought the course would lead back to NYC to live full-time. Then after the birth of my children, I thought the course would be opening my own company from the comforts of my home in Nashville. Little did I realize it would be neither.

I thought life was supposed to look a certain way and it wasn’t until I was staring the fear of saying goodbye straight in the face, that I realized I had no idea what might come next. Sure, we would board a plane and head to Australia but that was the extent of the certainty. Everything else had yet to be determined.

As I reflect on the past year, there have been moments where I wondered if I made the right decision. Times when I have missed friends and family, the hustle and bustle of city life, or just the luxury of knowing which way to look while driving. Just last week, I needed help locating the right vitamins at the pharmacy and while looking completely out of place as I searched through unfamiliar brands, someone finally came over to offer me assistance.

Does life look exactly the way I thought it would? Absolutely, not.

Had someone told me that we would arrive, live out of suitcases for 2 months while we waited for our belongings and once they got here, that we would pack everything back up 4 weeks later to make another move to be closer to the beach, I would have likely questioned boarding that plane in the first place. The whole experience was a bit traumatizing. But here I am, and while plans didn’t work out the way I thought, life happened instead.

Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine who is struggling because a certain plan she and her partner had made didn’t quite turn out as they thought it would. They were considering a relocation, but it fell through and much of the reasons for why it did were because of her. I could empathize with her and know how difficult it can be to pack everything up and leap into the unknown.

I reminded her that although the plan may change, the final-destination is the same. The path to get there just looks a little different. And that is okay.

If there is one thing the past 10 months have taught me, it is this – when you are busy making plans, life happens. Sometimes plans change. The one thing in life that is certain is change and we need to allow ourselves the flexibility to flow with those changes.

I remember before that moment of handing in my resignation, there were months of discussions that came long before. And even when I made the actual leap, I was still scared. But I knew in my heart of all hearts, I was making the right decision. Sometimes we just need to give ourselves time to accept things as they are and realize there are limits to analyzing a situation.

As I was thinking about my friend, I read something that struck a chord, “a deep-thinking woman feels the weight of the world on her shoulders and honestly, she just wants to be heard & understood.” Her partner had been upset with her and took her decision personally, as a reflection of their relationship. And, that wasn’t the case at all. She just needed time.

I wondered, how many times we have all found ourselves simply weighing our options and it has been mistaken as indecision?

Taking your time when weighing the impact of major life decisions is not a bad thing. Hell, I have had friends who have struggled choosing a name for their baby and still hadn’t figured it out as they were holding their newborn in the delivery room.

Much like it took time for me to reconcile the fact that we would be moving across the globe, sometimes that is all it takes. Options will present themselves at every turn in life and certain decisions simply take more time than others.

I recently received a job offer {another story in and of itself} and spent weeks weighing my options. As I typically do, I call on my tribe to gain perspective. As I sat discussing the situation with one of my dearest friends, looking at the pros and cons, what I realized was that while I could certainly take the job, the reason I left my previous one was to give myself the freedom to do life and my career on my own terms. Taking a job is just that. Following a passion is another story altogether.

Leaving everything behind was the significant shift in my own life that gave me the freedom to make decisions from the heart as opposed to simply doing what is comfortable – both in my personal life and my professional life.

Change is inevitable but the very fiber of our makeup, at the heart of who you are, that doesn’t change. And what I realized through all those conversations is that if you are combining your heart with your career, you can lead from a place of purpose as opposed to fear – whether that means holding out for the right opportunity, starting your own business, or redefining the circumstances of exactly where you are at. It means not getting stuck on the plan, but following where your heart might lead instead – even if it looks completely different than what you thought it was supposed to.

It reminds me of the movie ‘Frozen’, “the mind can easily be persuaded, the heart cannot.” A great reminder not to get stuck in your head when faced with major life decisions.

When you give up everything, you realize that you have the capacity to do anything. Decisions that impact our lives are difficult to make at times, but when you can look at your options without fear and extend yourself some grace, you don’t have to have all the answers to make a decision. It is freeing.

Sometimes the best decisions in life are made when you jump, when you follow that calling in your heart and simply say, “I’m going to go for it” without knowing exactly how the plan will look. You put one foot in front of the other and simply trust.

This week, I encourage all of you who may be facing tough decisions in your life to remove your head from the equation and simply listen to your heart. Whether you are looking to change your career, go back to work after taking some time off, considering a move, or are simply trying to figure out who you want to be when you ‘grow up’ – sometimes it is in the moments when we blindly leap that we stand to gain the most.

Cheers to a new week!!

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