How to Face the Fork In the Road With A Different Choice
I began doing something tragic over ten years ago. I started shelving my dreams and some of the things I loved most, pushing essential parts of myself deep down inside. I did it because I thought I had no choice. I didn’t know what I know now.
Dreams Don’t Belong On the Bookshelf
I started singing in church when I was five years old, and I’ll never forget the feeling I got when I performed. In those moments I knew that I was created to sing, and it gave me intense joy to know that God was using my voice to speak to others in ways I would never know.
When I was 22 years old, I went to an artist colony on Martha’s Vineyard. It was a semester of songwriting, recording, and performing, and all of the vulnerability, comparison, and not good enough feelings that went along with it. At the end of the most challenging and rewarding months of my college years, one of the two professors asked about my Plan B. That devasted me. I made his question mean that I wasn’t good enough as an artist, and I got to that conclusion fast because my confidence was already shaky. I have a softer voice and style and at the time, the most admired artists had big voices and big stage presence.
I’ll never know what he actually meant, but I could have used his words as fuel to prove this professor wrong. Tragically, I allowed this to banish my gift to the bookshelf to gather dust and become a painful reminder that quickly buried all of the memories of those moments when I knew, without a doubt, that I was created to sing. I hadn’t yet learned to trust that feeling.
Pursuing Plan B
I began to pursue writing, my “Plan B”, by interning at Los Angeles Magazine, freelancing for Boulevard Magazine and Sierra Madre newspaper, and applying for what seemed like hundreds of jobs. Nothing was panning out, so I took a job as an administrative assistant at a recruiting agency that held the promise of a good salary as I worked my way up. I believed that this was essential because I was supporting my now ex-husband while he got his master’s degree.
Then I got a job offer for an editor position at the newly launched Sierra Madre Magazine. My dream job. Unfortunately, it didn’t come with my dream salary so I turned it down. I felt like I had no other option, but I did. I just couldn’t see it.
Forgiveness Can Lead Us Home
Since that day when I was 22, I’ve blamed my professor for taking away my passion for singing. Since the job offer when I was 25, I’ve blamed my ex-husband for the sacrifice I had to make in order to support him. And I’ve been so wrong in both areas.
It was my choice to stop singing and also my decision to stay with a job that had a higher salary. No one forced me into those choices. And it’s time to own those decisions and forgive—my former professor, my ex-husband, and most importantly, myself—so I can begin to heal.
I went to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas last week, and I loved every moment so much that it brought me to tears several times because, for the first time, I understood what I had done. I could see all that I’d given up because I thought I had no other option. Not only had I stopped singing, but I’d stopped going to musicals and classical performances. For many years, I stopped going to concerts as well and for the most part, I stopped writing. As I’ve introduced these experiences back into my life, I’m realizing how much they are a part of me and how much of me that’s been missing.
It is my deepest desire to make different choices from this day forward.
What I Was Created To Be: Take Three
During the first life coaching session I had with my client, I felt the same feeling I used to get when I performed. And I get that feeling every time I coach. This is a second chance to do what I was created to do in a different form, and I am grateful every day for this opportunity.
I still fight the not good enough feeling far often than I’d like, but I’m determined not to let it get in the way this time. I’m becoming so much better at focusing on that feeling I get during and after my coaching sessions. The powerful feeling that tells me I was created to coach.
The Road To Who You Were Created To Be
In every situation, at every fork in the road, we have the opportunity to take what may seem like the safest, most obvious path, or the path that is aligned with who we are at our core. We can choose the road that takes us toward our values, empowering us to fully show up and deliver the unique gifts we have to offer the world.
The choice that requires the most trust is so often the right one. It’s also the hardest.
The next time you reach this kind of fork in the road, I encourage you to become very still, listen, and sit with the decision until you hear that still small voice guiding you toward what you are supposed to do. That voice is always there if we take the time to listen.
Or, if you hear your intuition loud and clear but feel hesitant because of the risks involved, trust it anyway. My intuition has yet to lead me wrong, and yours never has either.
Work with me! If you’re facing a fork in the road, I’d love to help you find your way to the unique choice that is best for you. Send me a message to set up a free consultation.