As we sat there, watching the first rays of sun shining on the dawning of this new era, the significance of that moment in time had a big impact on us. It made us question the significance of our own lives.
And that left us both feeling more than a bit uncomfortable.
You see, we had successful lives, in the very conventional sense of the word – great corporate careers, company cars, good salaries, holidays and many other trimmings that come with the conventional definition of success.
And yet we were both deeply unhappy and felt totally unfulfilled.
It was in that moment of reflecting as we sat on top of that mountain that we made a pact to change our lives.
We decided to create our own definition of success based on our values and what was most important to us and build all areas of our life, work and relationships around that.
The journey of change began. We planned like crazy.
First, we both left our corporate careers in 2001 to do work that felt more meaningful and fulfilling to us.
Then, having spent years living in various places dictated by our corporate careers, we decided we wanted to choose somewhere we really wanted to live. So in 2006, we left England and moved to Ireland to live. We lived in Ireland for seven years before moved to Vancouver, Canada in 2013 as part of our “design life” plans.
All of these big changes have enabled us to live and work on our own terms, based on our own definition of success. It has created real fulfillment in our life, work and relationships.
Has it been easy? Hell no! Has it been worth it? Absolutely!
Over the years, there have been many challenges and setbacks to navigate. Sometimes it has felt like crawling on hands and knees over broken glass whilst climbing a mountain. There has been blood, sweat and tears. We had to navigate the devastating impact of my husband having a potentially life threatening illness that took him three years to fully recover from. We had to deal with the trauma of him having a car crash that nearly took his life.
But we fought through all of the dark times because a more fulfilling life was worth fighting for.
In the many years that have passed since my husband and I sat on that mountain top as the new millennium dawned, we have learnt many powerful lessons that continue to inform how we live, work, love and play.
Here are 10 powerful things to remember when you want to change your life:
1. Creating your own definition of success based on your values and what is most important to you, then building all areas of your life, work and relationships around that leads to a more fulfilling, meaningful life.
2. The permanent pain of staying stuck, is far worse than the temporary pain of creating change.
3. It is better to give something a go, even if it doesn’t work out, than spend the rest of your life wondering what might have been.
4. It is easy to take your plans for life for granted and think you have plenty of time to make them happen. But the reality is that you don’t know when something will suddenly happen that will rob you of the opportunity to have the life you want with the people you want. Live accordingly.
5. Life isn’t about taking risks. It is about knowing which risks to take.
6. Life is too short to settle for mediocrity.
7. If you aren’t designing your life you are leaving it to chance. And that is a hell of a gamble to take with your one and only life.
8. Often it is the toughest, hardest, scary changes that will bring the greatest rewards, happiness and fulfillment.
9. There is a big difference between having a lifestyle and having a life.
10. When the brown stuff hits the fan, there is always an opportunity lurking in there somewhere.
But perhaps it is Mark Twain that offers one of the most powerful things to remember when you want to change your life when he said:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”