“Let me tell ya. You gotta pay attention to signs. When life reaches out with a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back… I’m telling you.” Matthew Quick, The Silver Linings Playbook
Last week we discussed the most upsetting of all catalytic events, shock.
This week we’ll take a look into opportunity.
That sounds lucky. So how come this is also a catalytic event, I hear you thinking?
Opportunities should be treasured as they don’t come along every day. Yet however great the opportunity is, it can cause its own kind of storm.
When an opportunity comes along, you have to make a choice. You either take a huge leap forward in your life. Or you stay where you are. But taking that leap comes with its own challenges. The difference with a shock-event is that you have the reins in hand. It’s you who takes the chance, makes a choice and creates a change. Or you don’t.
Taking that chance and making that choice can be scary. It will bring up fear and doubt about doing the right thing.
If you take the chance, it will change your life for sure. And with every change come challenges. But if you don’t go for it, you may end up full of regret and become bitter. And this will change and impact you as well.
An example of an opportunity in my life was when my dad offered me a job in Portugal. He asked me to come work for him after finishing my studies. This was a huge opportunity, as well as the adventure of a life-time. Not only would I have a job, but I would get to live in another country. A sunny one at that.
Yet it also implied a lot of difficult issues and choices. The most difficult one was leaving my mom on her own. My parents divorced when I was just a toddler, so I lived with her most of the time. And as I shared last week, when I was thirteen my dad left the country. So from then on it was really just the two of us. So I knew it would break her heart. But I also knew that if I didn’t try and take up on my dad’s offer, I would regret it forever. And eventually blame her for me not taking my chance. So I grabbed it and took the big leap. It was painful and still now my mom has problems accepting my decision. Yet, it’s my life and I had to do what I had to do. And I’m still living in Portugal, so it may jus be more “my” home than Belgium ever is or was.
Then there was the whole thing of moving to another country. Settling down there. Starting to work. Integrating into a new community. working , and integrating in a new community was not easy. It was a complete overhaul of my protected student life. And I was thrown in the deep end.
I can tell you taking that leap wasn’t always pretty. There was home-sickness. There were other laws and rules to take into account. There was a lot of learning. There was getting to know my dad on a different level. Which was an eye-opener to say the least.
I had to leave behind the girl that lived with her mom, was taken care of, who was a student. And I became a girl that had to take care of her own home, her food, her dog. Yes, I got a dog the very first week I arrived — you can read that story here.
I became a working girl, that slowly had to get used to a living in a new country where it turned out, it wasn’t always sunny. yes, that rain I hadn’t counted on.
OK, your turn!
Remember when someone offered you an opportunity. Or when a situation presented itself that was hard to resist. And a big step forward in your life. What was it? Did you take the leap immediately. Did you weigh your options? Did you have sleepless nights thinking about what would be the right thing to do? Did you go from full-blown enthusiasm to doubt in a matter of seconds?
What did you have to leave behind so that you could move on? Did you take the chance offered? If yes, how did it change you. If not, are you still regretting your decision? And why?
Share your “opportunity”-event in the comments. And let us know what happened.
Next week we’ll go into the catalytic event of transition.
Based on the books and work of Martha Beck.
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