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What Stops Your Destiny?

Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.   -Aristotle

There is so much goodness packed into this statement that I wished to have learned when I was younger! Why didn’t we study stoic ethics in school? After all, these men spent their lives thinking deeply about important ideas, most of which are standing the test of time. Maybe our teachers expected this kind of wisdom from us the students. Wishful thinking.

To be fair, things have changed since I was in high school. My kids have taken a planning course in grade 10 and a life skills course in grade 12. Yet, there seems to be room for improvement. It is not that I expect there to have been instruction for how to navigate a pandemic, but there are skills related to resilience that seem to be lacking in people. It is when times get tough, for any reason, that we must dig deep into our personal reserves. I mean, who claimed it was going to be easy?

What I think separates those who seem to have an advantage when life becomes challenging, are those who have planned ahead. It is as simple as that. Even if you do not consider yourself to be a planner, it is never too late to start. This habit is useful in all areas of life and should not be left behind once you leave formal education.

There is a small downside to excessive planning. That is, you can tend to miss enjoying the moment. But, this is easily solved by action. As with anything in life a sense of balance is key. Each person has to find out how much sponteneity they need in relation to having a solid plan to follow. Sometimes I find it helpful to look up and ask my husband for his opinion as he would usually choose doing something fun now, rather than planning for a future date.

Even though I consider myself to be a ‘planner’, I have failed to apply this skill when it came to my career. Sure, looking back it seems like there were strategic decisions made. At least that is how I explain my resume to someone who asks me questions about the details. In reality, I had not created a career plan and more often than not, I let myself be blown by the prevailing wind.

Am I happy with how it all turned out? Mostly, yes. There is little point whining about it now. I can’t change the decisions I made in the past. I can only move forward in a better way by getting clear about my priorities for the future. I’m not one to make the same mistake again and again. Maybe twice, but for sure not three times.

Now I stand on the threshold of some big decisions that will have far reaching consequences for our immediate family. The time to sell our 18 year old family home is drawing near. We want to try out a different way of living in our next adventure. On one hand the uncertainty is unsettling. On the other hand it is thrilling. There is a great deal of energy behind our emotions as we ponder different paths.

The heavy lifting to get to this point is already done. We have charted the course of our careers for the balance of the time we will spend working in corporate. Now we are looking for the right physical place to live in. We need the space to let creativity flourish. We have the mobility and resources to manifest our ideas. We have longed to be in this position and now we have arrived.

Sure, we had a fair amount of luck on our side. I could write a whole post on that. Yet, I have not always been mindful of understanding how to use the benefits I was given to my advantage. In the quest for more and to keep up with the Jones’s, it is easy to lose sight of what is most important to me. I have found when I stay in my lane, the one I have chosen and that I know is right for me, I am most happy. That kind of insight comes from planning.

Whatever stage you are at in life – take charge and start the process of planning your future. In the area of career planning, which is likely going to fund many other dreams and activities, it is more crucial than ever before to be mindful and dedicated your path.

Happy planning!

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