When was the last time you took a chance in life? I'm not talking about drinking your coffee black and skipping out on sugar. (Although, that is a bold move.) I'm talking about taking a chance on yourself, and following your wildest dreams. Right now, you have a lot of passion and ambition, but you might be letting fear get in the way of some things. You're creating obstacles instead of diving into the unknown, which could be really good. These real women reveal the first risk they took that truly changed the course of their lives, for the better. What are you waiting for?
So often you say, "One day," and assume that the universe will align the stars, and give you a sign when the time is right. In that moment, you picture yourself packing up your car and heading off into the world to live the life you're meant to, in a very Mamma Mia-esque montage. Well, unfortunately, that's not quite how it goes.
It takes facing your fears and what everybody else is saying you're supposed to do, and challenging yourself to reach outside your comfort zone (if that's where you want to be). This life is yours to live — I can't stress that enough. Don't spend your days dreading the work you're doing because it's not what you love, or hanging in a place that doesn't truly feel like "home." Adventure is out there; your life is out there. Take the leap of faith, like these eight real women did, to change your course for the better.
Maybe two years after graduating college, I was living in California, quit my corporate salary job, and became a real estate agent. It took pretty much all of my guts for me to do this. I had pretty much just gotten used to having a check deposited into my bank account, and was giving it all up for a commission-based job. I didn't realize it right away, but this was an amazing decision for both my physical and mental health. I almost wish I would have made the change sooner.
— Nicole Sgro
My first real job at 18 was in food customer service. I always hated it, but the work was easy and it was all I ever knew. I became the manager of every establishment I ever worked for, but never stayed more than two or three years in any job. I was the manager of a bakery at the time I realized I didn't want to deal with rude customers and unpredictable hours anymore.
I applied to work in the children's program of a local organization that serves individuals with disabilities. I was riddled with anxiety leading up to the interview. I got the job. It was an increase in pay, but a major cut in hours, but I was willing to take the leap. I just couldn't stay doing the same job day after day, year after year, when I didn't love the work.
My new job paired me up with a child, and we clicked immediately. This boy changed my life. He inspired me to take a teaching assistant training course. I was top of my class and finally working toward something I love. Five years after taking a major leap and changing careers, I still work with the same boy and I just finished my first year as a Special Education Teaching Assistant. My heart and soul feel truly fulfilled. I know the work I do truly makes a difference.
— Megan Gavin
Last year, I graduated from college with a degree in Elementary Education. I knew I was going to be a teacher, but I didn't know where. I was applying to teaching jobs near where I went to school, but also applying near home. I applied to many and received calls for an interview.
Last summer, I had five interviews in one day for jobs near my home, and each offered me a position. They were all really different jobs that each had pros and cons. I decided to go with the job that gave the best "vibe" or feeling of being at "home." It was in a school district that I wasn't originally planning on being part of, but a year later, that decision was the best decision I have ever made. I changed 25 little lives for the better, but more importantly those 25 students changed my life forever. I am a better educator because of the people who have surrounded me at this school — staff and students alike.
My lifelong dream has always been to work in the professional sports industry. After graduating college this past May, I took a leap of faith and accepted a full-time time offer with the Charlotte Hornets.
In just three short weeks, I went from recent college graduate to full-time employee of the NBA. I moved 700 miles away from home to a city I had never been to before. Not only was the city unfamiliar to me, but I did not know anyone even remotely close to the area. Since my move nearly two months ago, I have found complete serenity in this amazing city I now call home. All it took was a bit of confidence and trust in myself to make my dream come true. I am so excited to see where this journey will take me from here!
— Katherine Durant
If you're anything like me, the thought of working nine to five is anything but enjoyable. I spent a lot of money and worked hard to get my education, but I was not ready to "adult" after graduation. Instead of joining the workforce, I flew to Australia, where I spent seven months working and traveling. It was honestly the best experience, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
My biggest point is to just go for it, even if you don't have a plan. It will all work out in the end. Follow your dreams and your passions. Find what sets your soul on fire and always make time for that, no matter what else happens.
— Kahlia Indigo
I spent (literally) over a year deciding if I should follow a dream I've had since I was 14, and move to the Dominican Republic. I first visited on mission trips, and something about the country immediately drew me in. I knew that I wanted to return longer-term, but wasn't sure if that was just a pipe dream.
When I decided my time in Manhattan was coming to an end, I [started] making plans for a move to Jarabacoa, a town in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. Making this decision was no easy one. I am an anxious person, always overthinking the "what ifs" of every situation. I knew I could do it, but had to silence all of the self-doubt. I asked everyone in my life what their opinions were. The overwhelming response was that I had to give it a try, or live with the regret of not following a dream.
My first year has been filled with ups and downs. Adjusting to life in another country, even one I had visited multiple times, is an overwhelming and slow process. Teaching a room full of the most energetic nine year olds I have ever met, was also an adventure, and I am proud to have finished the year in one piece. I have since took another risk, and moved to Santiago to work online full-time.
This move has brought me so many things. I was lucky enough to meet the love of my life literally two weeks after moving here, make new friends that I will have for the rest of my life, get introduced to amazing kids that I was able to impact, and embrace countless new experiences that I would never have at home. Riding motorcycles through the mountains, paragliding off a cliff, jumping off waterfalls, discovering tiny beaches and old cities, and adapting to all of the customs of a new culture have made me a stronger, better, and most importantly, braver person.
I moved to Cape Cod at age 22 with the intention of playing my music in nightclubs for one summer season. I ended up staying for 40 years.
— Gina Diana
Some responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.