I had decided in 1975 to leave a secure well-paying job in Canberra to take up a less-than secure and lower-paid Recreation Planner job in Adelaide. Not a long-term considered decision. One of those things that happens overnight – in my case attending a day seminar on leisure becoming an emerging social issue. 

An upheaval affecting not just me but my wife and two small children. For me it just had to happen…not quite so for my wife who was a born-and-bred Canberran. Reflecting on it now reminds me how grateful I have always been that she agreed to the move, albeit with a few agreed conditions.

The expression “sliding doors” became famous in the 1990’s with the film by that name. In essence today it means “what if I had made a different decision?” What if I had simply said at the end of that fateful seminar “well that was interesting, but it puts too much at stake for me and my lovely family”? I had plenty going for me in Canberra – in my work, in my community and especially in sport where I held various senior positions at Club and Territory levels.

There were those who said I was mad to make “such a reckless decision”. Others admitted they wished they had the guts to do what I was doing. 

It took me another 45 years to fully understand why I made that decision. In a recent workshop I was posed with a double-question aimed at clarifying why I am doing what I do: “what was it you hated doing …. and what did you decide you would love to do instead?” I found my thoughts going back not to 1975 but to an event five years earlier in 1970.

It was a day on which I remember looking out my office window, thinking “35 more years of this??”. What did I hate doing? Working for no purpose beyond the money. What would I love to do? Earn my money doing something of purpose and value to others. 

I have come to realize that the day seminar I thought was an overnight epiphany was in fact just one small step in a long process of finding my true destiny in life. A process that started as early as when I was 14 and continued in my 60’s when I became a Life Mentor. I wanted to help others who were looking for or reviewing purpose in their work and their lives. I will continue to do so for as long as my health allows.

Finding – or renewing – your purpose in life doesn’t happen by chance. It requires constant questioning of your ‘why?’. A journey of searching for, enjoying, backing and trusting the real you. It can take you down unknown paths, but with an assurance you are traveling in a direction you were meant to take.

There is no more important trust in life than trusting in yourself and your natural-born gifts and talents.

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