Update (2/13/14): This post was written exactly one year ago today. The decision I referenced ended up being one of the best I made in a while. It was followed by a few other big decisions that year, all of which have enriched me beyond words so far. Yesterday was a bit of a rough day. I was at work dealing with the fallout of a tough decision I made on Monday that affected my future and the future of many other people. While the consensus isn't in, I'm going to safely say it wasn't a popular decision. I'm not sure it was (or will be) an easily understood decision either, regardless of whether I and a few others close to me thought it should have been.
I bring this up because I spent a good portion of yesterday answering questions about my decision. What had led to it? What were determining factors? What would have swayed my decision in another direction (or avoided it altogether)? Was there anything to be done to make me reconsider?
I felt I owed certain parties open and honest answers to a few of those questions, and so a decent amount of my day was spent behind closed doors having conversations that will stay behind those doors. What I will say however, is that in asking myself that series of questions prior to making that decision I asked one particular question that gave me the ability to proceed.
"What was the exact defining moment that pushed you in the direction you chose?"
I know the answer. It was a specific comment. That comment reaffirmed feelings that had been brewing, and stirred me from pondering to action.
I find that interesting. While there are so many factors that led me to proceed in one direction over another, one specific moment that I can pinpoint in great detail lead to the final decision. I know the comment. I know the setting. I know the timing. I know exactly how I felt prior to that comment, upon hearing it, and in the moments afterwards.
While the rest was a slow build - things piling up, one thing adding to another - that comment and that moment pierces through it all with great clarity.
How fascinating is that? What made that comment the defining factor? How much of my life will be a reaction to or result of that comment? What makes the straw that breaks the camel's back any different that all the straws before it? This idea has been on my mind these past two days. Specific moments. Turning points. The very individual seconds that define us.
What's also been on my mind is making sure I'm not making a mistake, that I'm not being arrogant, or allowing emotion to cloud reason in the decision. But then I recalled a great quote I've always loved. I have no idea who to attribute it to but it goes like this:
“If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything.”
I've always been more afraid of being passive than being right. I have no problem exploring or trying and failing, so long as I'm taking action, and learning from my mistakes. I like to be an agent of change. Progressive. When all of that comes to mind, I look back at that single moment and realize the line that was drawn was between "more of this" or "something else". Between slow growth and rapid growth. Between stagnation and progression. I don't think I always lean toward changing what is for what else can be, but in this situation, I am, and I'm ready for what's ahead.