Life is a game in which opportunities are continually offered to tune in or tune out, to influence or be influenced. Moment after moment, day after day and year after year choices are presented like a fork in the road. “Here soul’, life urges, ‘which path will you take?” The path of clarity, which is smooth, tried and tested and shows all signs of leading to your expected destination? Or will the road you choose be a barely recognisable path, so lost behind overgrown weeds and hindered by heavy boulders, just the thought of attempting this direction insights feelings of doubt?
Moments of decision are at times like sugar, hidden everywhere, impacting and influencing thoughts and the physical body, yet going unnoticed. Can you recall three decisions and how they impacted your life? I wonder if you view them as for the better, or for the worse? Today, I am in a fortunate position where looking back, I am able to rejoice in a decision made, knowing without an ounce of doubt, it was the right path to take. It wasn’t clear or created prior, but now six years on, it is lit and ready for others to follow should this be of interest. Today is the birthday of my friend and business partner Kristine. Six years ago, she was scheduled to celebrate her birthday with a girl’s weekend away, until life offered her a distinct choice: keep her plans, or stay and view an early learning centre for sale with me? She chose the latter. On her birthday, accompanied by other prospective buyers, we entered a humble little centre in a lakeside suburb on the Central Coast of NSW. A green futon sat centre stage. Twenty-year-old carpet adorned half the floor and a valour leopard print rug hung draped and wet on the verandah. It’s funny the things that caught our attention. I was noticing the aesthetics – or lack there-of – and Kristine was noting the limited number of children on the sign-in register. Regardless of the low occupancy, the stark outdoor environment with mis-matched and uncapped colour bond fence panels, the eerily painted stick figures on the door of the shed and the office spaces the size of a cupboard (for anyone who has visited our Centre, you know this is true!) a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm was taking hold. Surely the teal feature wall must be a sign? After all, this was the colour we had decided upon in our pre-purchase dreaming phase should we ever be fortunate enough to own our own Centre. We wandered through the building, nonchalantly perusing the environment with a deliberate air of indifference (contrary to what we were really feeling), before returning to our car.
Location was great.
Pricing was suitable.
Timing was perfect.
Check, check and check.
There were concerns, however. Kristine and I had never been in business together – what would that look like? Most significantly however, we had no finance. No cash. No bank approval.
Developing Dreams Early Learning Centre was the name we had chosen in our pre-planning (that is, ‘dreaming’ stage).
Developing Dreams. Could we, or would we, walk our talk?
Some might call it naivety. Some may call it crazy, irresponsible or foolish. Others may describe it as daring, brave or even divinely inspired. Whatever verbal language is used to describe our decision, it worked. We chose to chase our dreams, believing in every fibre of our beings it would unfold as it was meant to. First thing Monday morning, we faxed in our offer … without any idea how we were going to finance the purchase should our offer be accepted.
‘Lucky for us’ our offer was accepted. As we continued over, around or through every hurdle and hesitation, borrowing money where we could, placing our homes as guarantees and having four loans for the business at one stage (thank you to our families and husbands for believing in us), we finally opened the doors to Developing Dreams Early Learning Centre on 3rd June 2013. Kristine, myself and Xavier, our one enrolled child. They were the days. And they still are the days. Happiness, purpose, education, gratitude, alignment, growth, inspiration, contribution and of course, a little bit of dreaming.
Six years ago, we had a choice. What would our lives look like today if Kristine had attended her girls’ weekend rather than viewing the Centre? What if we had waited until we had approved finance before making an offer, or if we did not make an offer at all? We will never know if there was another path we would be on, whether an alternate road would have led us to the same destination, or if in fact, there never was another option – this was where we were always going to be? Those concepts are better kept for a philosophical debate among friends on another day!
While I have consciously elected to share a significant decision as a means of bringing awareness to your own opportunities to influence your life through personal choices, I offer this reflection: Is it not the big choices we make that shape our lives so strongly, but rather the small, daily, moment-to-moment offerings which provide us with a million opportunities to create the life we long for? Are these subtleties really the decisions which have the most impact on our world? Is it the decision to be the calm in your child’s wild? Is it the action to drink more water and eat whole foods? Is it the choice to seek inspiration, to choose left not right, to meditate rather than scroll, to play rather than clean, to feel rather than shield? What are the daily moments which offer you the gift of choice? As Victor Frankl states, this is the last human freedom. Choice.
The decision we took six years ago could have had a significantly different outcome to the positive one we currently experience, however the small decisions we make as mothers, friends, wives, colleagues and business owners are truly the defining choices which provide the foundation and support for our dreams to flourish.
Choose with purpose.
Most importantly choose. Decide today your life is yours and yours alone for the taking.