I started reading a book this weekend that got me to thinking about each turning point in life–those major life-changing events which cause you to transition from where you are today to a new place.  It helped me to answer the question for myself: what is a turning point?

Not surprisingly, this book is called Turning Points.  There are 25 inspiring stories from women entrepreneurs who have turned their careers and lives around after a significant turning point in life. This book was compiled and edited by a friend, Kate Cobb, who always impresses me with her kindness, generosity of spirit, and knowledge.  I started reading the book because it was she who created it.  I soon was reading it because of how inspired I was by these women’s stories.

What is a Turning Point?

It was described so well in this book.  A “turning point is literally the moment you turn your life around; when you realize your circumstances can’t get any worse and, in that instant, you pivot your life about by making the decision that you will change things for the better, even though you may not know how.  Or it can be a blinding flash of light when everything suddenly falls into place and you know exactly what you have to change in your life.”

How Many Have You Experienced?

I think many of us actually have more than one turning point.  The first one I remember well was when I left my parent’s home when I was about 19—I didn’t always make the best decisions back then but, overall I have no regrets.

There was a big career turning point when I chose to work for a direct response agency in Connecticut in my late 20s, which shaped the rest of my long and mostly-rewarding career in marketing.

Then there was another one in my early 40s which resulted in my second divorce.  I think that was one of the most significant turning points because it woke me up to the fact that taking care of me had to become my first priority.  If I chose not to do that, I would be doomed to repeat some of the choices that did not serve me well in my 30s.

A more recent turning point was the unexpected layoff after working for a company for nearly 20 years.  This one led to my new entrepreneurial venture as a career and life coach, specializing in transitions.  I help women face their turning point in life with dignity and grace.

Some turning points are horrible experiences; some are teaching moments and some lead us to fulfill our purpose in life. What category do your turning points fall under?

The Benefit of These Pivotal Transitions

Can you imagine if you didn’t have even one turning point in life?  There would be no ah-ha moments.  There would be nothing to wake you up and cause you to look deeply at your life and make a choice to change it for the better.  There would be no one moment or event or circumstance you can point to and say that’s the day I knew I had a choice to improve my life.

I don’t know anyone who has not had some kind of turning point in life.  And, as I think about it, it would seem very sad to me that someone has not had the gift of a turning point.  An epiphany.  That tap on the shoulder.  A push in a new direction.  Something to look back on and say if it were not for that circumstance, I would not be where I am today!  And I’m happier where I am today!

Turning Points are Often Scary

Scary, especially when they come out of the blue. But even if they are planned, there can be lots of uncertainty that comes along with it.

Like any major life transition, it can be power-packed with everything from fear to anxiety; pain and grief; overwhelm and lack of confidence—and everything in between.  This book, Turning Points, reminded me of the resilience of our human condition, even in the midst of emotions that are super-charged, and which can cause us to stop listening to our own innate inner wisdom.

I love the advice in this book, too.  It supports what I often tell my clients.  You are not meant to do this transition stuff alone.  These pivotal moments become woven into the fabric of your life. Indeed they influence who you become.  It benefits you to heed the advice of those who have been through it and thrived.

As the book advises:  “The three keys to making the most of your turning point in life are:  1) Know yourself, 2) Get support and 3) Amass knowledge.”

I could not agree more.  I might even put number two in the number one position. When you get support first, you can be more easily guided to the best ways to know yourself. Amassing knowledge helps to support the decisions and choices you will make along the journey through each turning point in life.

In case you’d like to get yourself a copy in paperback or order it for your Kindle, here is a link to the book that inspired this post. You can find it on Amazon..


Find Your Bridge

When turning points happen, those life-changing moments that can flip the world upside down, I create a bridge for women so they can turn chaos into calm, build resilience and learn to live a life guided by their own values and vision. If you’re ready to take the first step onto your bridge and explore new possibilities with an open heart, get my free ebook 5 Simple Choices to Get You Back on Track now.