Article posted on 12 December 2017

Lessons from my 5 most important crossroad moments

Yes, we’re not perfect (and shouldn’t strive to be, anyway). We all have our challenges, our difficult times, our crossroad moments. We all have situations when we doubt ourselves, decisions we find very hard to take. Yet, after a while, if we look at all the challenges life offers us, we find that they are actually important lessons. We find that after the turmoil, the unknown, the uncertainty, we are given opportunities that change us forever and bring us ten times more than what we had expected.

Sometimes, it all starts with what seems to be some of the most difficult decision we’ve had to take. These are 5 of my own. These are my personal lessons that shaped me and made me who I am today. I want to share these with you.

#1. Embrace the unknown although it may seem hard at first

I was born and raised in Moldavia. The story of how I came to Romania is actually one of my first big professional life decisions. This story goes like this: I already had a stable living, after graduating the University, and a very well regarded job in my home country. I was working at the University and also working as a teacher at the School of Foreign Languages. As a part of my job, in a time where one could not really leave the country easily, I got to travel and take courses in Great Britain. I was really lucky.

The opportunity arose when a different road lead me to achieving a PhD in philology. All the way to Bucharest, Romania. Friends and close people said to me – „Why throw all you have away? Why would you want to go back to studies when all people of your age barely wait to finish their studies and enter the work field?” Well, I had my own path: the thirst for knowledge and my vivid curiosity always made me pursue further. So, the journey of learning seemed the best way for me, although that meant entering a different culture, a new country, and starting from the beginning.

I challenge you to embrace a new road, if your heart is longing, even if it might be stretching; although it may seem very difficult at first. When you make a step into unknown wholehartedly, making life a promise, life will make two steps towards you, making a promise back, bringing you great rewards and fulfilment.

#2. Always be flexible and search to adjust

How does one change one field of expertize with another? How does one go, for instance, from teaching to a corporate life? Well, I’ve done this as well. After years of teaching and getting accustomed to the academic field, I made the shift to the business life. The change hit me: speed, high complexity, decisions of huge stake, big diversity of work, a lot of meetings.

Think about it like this: the academic field has its own pace and different values; you take time for what you need to do, you can go steady with certainty, sometimes you slow down, you can reflect and analyse. In the corporate world, everything is set in a whole different way; the values are different, the frame of reference is entirely changed. So, I embarked on this new journey and had to adjust. This came with new aquisitions, it brought me a new mindset and a new set of skills which proved very useful and helped me develop personally and professionally.

My personal lesson? Mind the field you are in, because what may seem „normal” in one sphere may be completely differently understood in another. Adjust, be flexible, grasp new ways and do not put labels if you don’t want to be left behind.

#3. Leave your comfort zone and don’t look back, if given the chance

It’s always about leaving the comfort zone. This is what I did when I was put face to face with the possibility to move again: this time from Bucharest – where I had settled, had my family, friends and a good job – to Deva, so to a small city for a big job.

The job promised growth. It was for a Japanese company and it took all my strength to rearrange my life around this new opportunity. I realized, I had been entrusted to do something bigger than me, a job of great complexity. No need to be said – I took it.

Whenever you have the promise of growth, embrace it. Leave your comfort zone undoubtfully. If you embark on a boat of evolution, you will evolve without knowing. You will find yourself wiser, more experienced, grounded and confident.

#4. Accept being a complete beginner

It’s hard for us, once reaching a certain experience, status or even age, to learn new things; to have that child-like naturalness when doing something new.

This was the situation I found myself in, after having worked for more than 10 years as an HR Executive in multinational companies. There came a time in my life when my family needed me to be more present and more focused on family priorities, so I knew I had to develop new dimensions of myself. This made me decide to shift my career path to coaching as a solopreneur.

On one hand, it may seem it was not totally different from what I did before, but it actually required a set of new competences and capabilities, even more presence, generosity, listening, inner peacefulness and acceptance. Moreover, it’s no secret: being an entrepreneur is not an easy life. I often found myself working even more and having to solve totally different challenges from the ones I was used to. I also found new resources together with new challenges, and with them, a new enthusiasm and inspiration. How?

I hit into this apparently simple piece of advice: accept being a beginner, a complete white page. This will enhance your capabilities and will give you new strength, will make you grow, especially in areas you never imagined you could become an expert.

#5. Do everything from the heart

In my life, coaching came with bigger and – sometimes – maybe even scarier things. Working with international clients, required exposure and throrough understanding of different  cultures, customs and habits, values and ways of doing things, organizational complexities and strategic objectives.

I think we’ve all been there, not knowing whether to accept a challenge that seems huge, because of not being sure if we can make up to it. What if we are not good enough? What if we are not really prepared for it? What if we are not the right person for this one? I believe that no challenge is given to us if we are not ready or not able to handle it. So, I step into unkown whenever I feel the calling.

I took a leap of faith and I did things from my heart whenever I felt I am too small for it. It’s impossible not to make an impact if you speak and act from you true self, from your heart. It’s the only way we can make a difference in the world.

Our entire life is a journey, a promise of something great. So, dare to go into the unknown and experience new things. You might find hidden treasures you never expected to stumble in. You might discover that life is not about success or failure, right or wrong, black or white, but about learning and growing, about rich feelings and personal history; about being in peace with who you are and evolving into who you might potentially be. The rest is only background noise. ?