You might think that all turning points in life should be monumental moments that flip your world upside down and cause you to panic. Some are just that. For instance, he just left you for another woman. Now what? Or, you just lost your job—what’s next?
But all life events are not created equal. You may notice other times you will go along your merry way and gradually realize you’ve reached a crossroads. It might be in the career you used to love and now find it harder to get up in the morning. Then again, you may roll over one day and wonder what you ever saw in the person sleeping next to you. It may feel as if it snuck up, and you’re unprepared.
You might even ask yourself, “how did I get to this place?” Or, “where do I go from here?”
In any case, it’s that moment of truth you can no longer ignore, regardless of how you got there. Still, your approach to turning points can create a mess in your life, or it can be just the miracle you needed.
Said another way, it can become a crisis, or it can teach you how to change so you can meet it squarely and calmly, coming out on the other side better than before. The choice is yours to make.
What Does It Mean to Reach a Turning Point?
A turning point happens when something changes direction, and it causes you to make a choice. It’s the moment you decide that you need to make a shift and respond differently. It could be that what was happening before is no longer what you want to happen in the future.
If you are anything like me, you’ll look back on your life and recognize many pivotal moments. At times like these, you can no longer disregard the knot in your stomach or the ache in your heart. On the other hand, it could be that you’re feeling a powerful calling that there is something bigger and better waiting for you.
The exciting thing about turning points is the possibility that you could decide to change something. And, when you do, everything suddenly falls into place. From this position, you know exactly what you need to change, so you can move away from the chaos and into the calm.
Pivotal Moments Come In All Shapes & Sizes, At Any Age
Most of us have many turning points. The very first one I remember is the death of my great aunt, who lived with us, took care of us like a second mom, and passed when I was 13. It was the first time I noticed a hole in my heart, and I had to do something to address it.
Then, I remember what it felt like to leave my parent’s home when I was 18—I didn’t always make the best decisions back then, but overall, I have no regrets.
At another stage of my life, there was a big career turning point when I chose to work for an advertising agency in my late 20s, which shaped the rest of my long and mostly-rewarding career in marketing.
Another defining moment happened in my early 40s, resulting in my second divorce. It was one of the most significant turning points because I finally realized the importance of making me my number one priority, instead of putting everyone else first. I discovered how crucial a choice that was. The last thing I wanted was to self-sabotage, repeating the bad decisions of my 30s.
A more recent turning point was the unexpected layoff after working in my marketing management career for nearly 20 years. After being blindsided and stopped in my tracks for a bit, this unexpected event led to my new entrepreneurial venture as a life coach. Now, I help women face their turning points when life suddenly turns to chaos.
Some turning points are staggering experiences; others are teaching moments, and if we’re lucky, some lead us to fulfill our purpose in life. Under which category do your turning points fall?
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Turning Points are Often Scary
Truth be told, they can be petrifying—especially when they come out of the blue. But even if you expect a significant change in your life, there can be lots of uncertainty that comes along with it.
Like any critical 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, by the way.
But humans are born to be resilient and weather these life storms. So long as you make a conscious choice to look change in the eye and say, I’ve got this! Even amid super-charged emotions, you can learn to quiet your thoughts and listen to your intuition to find your way.
Here’s what I’ve learned about facing these moments of truth. It’s easier when you surround yourself with people you trust, so you are not taking the journey alone. Find people who have been through tough transitions themselves and survived. Ask their advice. Heed and apply those lessons so you, too, can learn to thrive.
These pivotal times become woven into the fabric of your life, creating a rich tapestry that acts as a wise and resilient cloak. Each time a new turning point requires you to pivot and shift, you can retrieve your cloak from the closet. When you wear it, you know for sure that you’ve been here before and you lived to tell about it. Now it’s time to do it again.
Scary, yes. And oh, so worth it.
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The Miracle of Pivotal Moments
Can you imagine if you didn’t have any turning points in life? There would be no Ah-Ha’s. Nothing would awaken you and cause you to look deeply at your life. You wouldn’t have a chance to make a choice to change 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 make.
A turning point might come in the form of an epiphany—a vision. Or, a gentle tap on the shoulder. On the other hand, it might not be so tender at all—perhaps it’s an unmistakable shove in a new direction.
Regardless of how you experience it, you can look back on it and say, if it were not for that circumstance or that person, I would not be where I am today! And I’m happier, more confident, and stronger than ever! Turning points have that kind of power to transform.
Some of the miracles for me came well after the initial shock subsided, and I was able to think clearly. Spending time hunkered down, feeling the losses—of my aunt, my family home, my marriage, my career—helped me to sort through the emotions that took me on a wild roller coaster ride.
As time passed, I learned to find the silver lining and focus on all the good that came from each experience. I believe I can find blessings in every turning point if I look for them.
And the miracle comes when all these experiences mount up. The compound effect builds character, resilience, faith in yourself, and a knowing that, no matter what happens, you will not only survive, you will thrive.
Take Your First Step
Are you facing a turning point in life with uncertainty about what comes next? You may even wonder if it is possible to move forward from here. Making choices can be hard, and getting some guidance may be just what you need. Start by exploring how change can impact you. And learn how to move through it with more dignity and grace by reading my free eBook. Click here to take the first step: From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.